Meet Cecilia

Certified Career and Life Coach

A GLOBAL CITIZEN - my DNA lists so many countries that Ancestry.com flagged my profile... I was raised in France, Spain and the United States. When I moved to America, I initially lived in the Washington DC area and then relocated to NYC, a place dear to my heart.  It has taught me to embrace and appreciate individuality and diversity within my circles. While living in NYC, I also met “my guy”, my wonderful husband Chris, born and raised in Michigan! He proposed and soon after we began our new adventure out West, in San Francisco.

Raised by a single mom, I was never sure what life would have in store for me. My mom, a kindergarten teacher, was tirelessly juggling a few other gigs just to keep our home afloat.  She had unprecedented energy and an enviable force about her.  I naturally assumed growing up that to survive as a woman you had to always show “strength” and rely on yourself only. [spoiler alert]

 

I quickly realized during my journey that being strong required me to learn to accept my vulnerabilities. Most importantly, that it was o.k. to ask for help.

High school was a defining time in my life. I was an introverted student, socially awkward, with average grades. I will never forget the day when my French teacher told my Mom I was not destined to go to college. It really STUNG, and it still nags at me today. What would you do? What did I do? What any logical person would do, I immediately enrolled in a 4-year college and graduated with honors with a B.S. in Business Administration! I am certain I am not alone in my experience, many of us will be "labeled" at some point in our lives, but if I have learned anything from my Mom, it's that we can't let others define us. 

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. " – Maya Angelou

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After college, I started working at financial institution - I did not love my job, the work felt uninspiring and I knew I needed a change.  Being that I am a creature of habit, I did exactly what I was NOT meant to do AGAIN, and went to GRADUATE SCHOOL.  I had heard about this new craze called “information technology” and continued to pursue my master level studies in that field. I am a Terrapin graduate through and through! I consider myself one of the early women in tech, when the industry just started to boom, and those of us chasing it were considered “trailblazers”. This phase of my life required me to make many sacrifices, including working full time while putting myself through college. My experience taught me what I strongly believe to still be true today:

“with ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable”.

And just like that, I embarked on the second phase of my life and moved to NYC. I did not immediately fall in love with the city. It was so overwhelming at first and trying to fit in seemed almost impossible.  How does one multitask looking blasé, in a hurry and super connected all at once? I had to quickly learn to adapt to an environment that was completely foreign to me.  [spoiler alert]

 

You don’t try to "fit-in" in NYC, you have to let NYC engulf you whole, spit you out and then hope that you land back on your feet - that’s when you know  “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”.

During my time there, I went from a “safe job” at an Auction House to what I like to refer to as "swimming with the sharks" working for an Investment Bank.   It was already difficult for a woman to break through in the Technical field and choosing "to do tech for wall street", was an even bigger challenge.   It also became my most rewarding professional experience. I rapidly learned to navigate it's deep waters and a male dominated “corporate America”.  The most gratifying part of this journey was connecting with so many people around the globe and finding my tribe. And yes, I did end up LANDING feet first! Although sometimes it still felt a little wobbly...

When you finally believe you got you life together, something else happens to test your willpower!

Career  ✓  Husband  ✓  San Francisco  ✓

 

Not long after moving to San Francisco, I lost my mom from cancer, at age 61.  After losing my only parent, I also experienced multiple miscarriages and learned that I could never carry a baby to term and should stop trying. This challenge, unlike the others, felt deeply personal.  It felt more like a “punch in the gut” – the kind that completely destabilizes your core. I was broken inside and vulnerable.

 

The engineer, optimist, and doer in me quickly rallied after I gave myself the grace to grieve.

 

I had many questions at first: Will I ever be a Mom? I already have a successful career; shouldn't that be enough? What can I do to fix this?  I started looking for answers deeper inside myself. I did not tell myself “I will beat the odds if I carry on” because the engineer in me already knew that what is broken cannot always be fixed.  Luckily for me, the optimist and doer helped me chase for answers and alter my plans to continue to pursue my strong desire to experience motherhood. I am now the proud mother of two beautiful girls.

Today, as I look back at the last 10 years " the rocky and all",  I get this overwhelming feeling of gratitude and personal accomplishments.

Moved to a new coast and experienced a whole new way of life, married my best friend, adopted a beautiful baby girl and powered through a complicated adoption, forged a deep connection with her bio-parents, re-designed two homes, met my surrogate “soul mate” and welcomed our second baby girl, discovered the world with my family, applied to a second graduate program, switched careers and started my own business - LOVING MY SECOND ACT!

My journey taught me that anything and everything is possible if you are willing to "alter the status quo".  I realized that my life was not destined to be conventional. Once I saw this, I was relieved to embrace the escape from banal platitudes. Life, with all the good, bad, and ugly, will continue to chase after us. Accepting my vulnerabilities has made me stronger and less afraid of the unknown.  Interestingly, being humbled by them and learning to ask for help has taught me how to be brave.

I invite you to contact me and find out more about me to determine if I am the right match for you…    

 
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