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I’m a serial entrepreneur, mom, podcaster, author.
“To empower entrepreneurs to change the world.”
From program coordinator to facilitator
Before Coach Training Program, I had been working in higher education while also working as a coach. Having completed a previous coaching certification, I felt confident in my skills as a coach. Yet, as I learned more about ACE and took a few of their courses, I found myself intrigued by the precision and mindfulness that the course leaders integrated into their coaching. These course leaders were able to hold people with compassion and rigor at the same time, and support people to see the best in themselves. Funny enough, after taking the first few courses, I decided it was time to step fully into Coach Training Program to truly refine my skills. At the end of my this program, I can truthfully say — I’m doing the best coaching I’ve ever done.
One of the most powerful tools I learned was a framework to consistently see and bring out the best qualities that individuals have to offer. I still remember when I first learned the framework, and I felt like the course leaders had put something into words that I previously couldn’t describe. This single framework is at the heart of all of my most empowering coaching sessions with clients. Surprisingly, this framework has also made me a better professional colleague, a more loving family member, and a more compassionate friend.
I use these skills to work with leaders to uncover how they want to create empowering relationships professionally and personally. I ask them to identify the types of relationships that they would have if they were uninhibited by current limitations. Then I invite them to do the courageous work of envisioning a path forward so that they can make their impact. It’s been amazing to see family relationships get reconciled, and to see workplace relationships powered by compassion, grace, and support. Ultimately, creating these types of relationships supports leaders to become more socially conscious.
I have seen clients decide to transition their careers in order to do work that is more meaningful to them and to their communities. This has included working on expanding access to education and art, creating platforms for professional development, and doing all of this while strengthening their team’s capacity to do their work.
I have a passion for supporting people to be their very best and reach their goals. As a coach since 2001 I have worked with executives and employees in different business sectors in small companies and corporations. Being able to create healthy successful teams and support them through a transition is another benefit from our work. Privately the yoga helps me stay healthy and grounded as well as being able to change from city of Stockholm to the forests of Dalarna. My mantra is “if you are willing you can.”
Ylva’s coaching is value-based; driven; helps you look at what is most important to you in life; and coaches you to handle your issue with that in mind. Besides great life experience, Ylva has a broad experience of business in both the public and private sector, in many types of areas. With a background as an HR specialist and HR Manager, she has deep insight into how companies and organisations function. Ylva coaches managers and experts, white-collar and blue-collar workers, business owners, and individuals. Ylva is also a skilled trainer and seminar leader.
My specialist areas: Leadership, coaching and transformation. My favorite quote: “Do today’s work well.” What I enjoy in life: Being out on a deserted island far out in the Swedish archipelago, and Gotland’s fantastic sunsets. A day in the ski slope, and hanging out with family and friends. My strengths: I am optimistic, trusting and create good relationships. My philosophy of life: To be transparent, authentic and curious.
I am a transformational advocate who supports people and groups through increased awareness and presence from within. My wide background from the private, entrepreneurial, and non-profit sectors give me the ability to move between different perspectives, to lead and manage different interests, to build strong teams, and to create and develop relationships.
Wayne Manning became a coach instructor and course leader for the Academy for Coaching Excellence upon graduation from its first class of certified coaches in 2003. He serves as a Mentor Coach for Academy student coaches, and also directs the creation and presentation of personal and professional development webinars for aspiring coaches and for professional coaches needing Continuing Coach Education Units. A recent collaboration with Maria Nemeth, Unleashing the Energy of Money, has attracted participants and coaches worldwide from such countries as India, Turkey, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Sweden, and Denmark.
Wayne conducts a private coaching practice, Manning Coaching and Consulting, in Roseville, CA.
Ixchel loves supporting people to see their unique gifts, and lean into the discomfort that precede change and growth. Helping others to shine is what lights her up the most.
“This work calls to me because it brings a sense of lightness and compassion into everyday interactions, and when it comes down to it, that’s all life is – a series of interactions.“
Meg Beliveau supports change makers to make their most meaningful impacts for systems change. Her coaching journey began in crisis intervention and has evolved to now also support clients who work to expand and advocate for the greater possibilities of democratic representation. When not coaching, she is focusing her energy on helping build an Ecohousing community in Nova Scotia, Canada.
“This work helped me see that compassion and centeredness are inherent and that accessing these qualities more readily is a learnable skill. I benefited from the experiential nature of this work as I find the lessons to be easily integrated and long lasting in my daily life.“
Jordan loves supporting organizers, teams working for social justice, and queer creatives making a social impact. They have experienced that working for a more just world becomes easier with the support of a coach and want to make sure that others that are up to making the world a place where all people thrive have that kind of support too.
“An enrollment conversation changed my life. MLE transformed my life. I want to support people to have those breakthrough moments that compel them to grab ahold of the thing that is most important to them and to play all out for it, and to be supported 100% while they do it.“
A professional in the tech sector, Sasha Green has supported hundreds of people in their journeys into the tech space. She relies heavily on her mindset coaching abilities and overall love for humanity to guide her through each and every interaction!
“My passion is to help people get clear on their vision and then support them in getting there. My life’s purpose is in alignment with ACE’s mission and I am prepared to carry out the mission ,with purpose!“
Greg Reinauer is an Enrollment Coach who helps purpose-driven people get clear if ACE is the coaching program for them so they can make the impact they are here to make as masterful coaches.
“I believe this work can empower conscious leaders to tap into their creative brilliance and help foster a world that is thriving and just.”
Greg Reinauer supports socially conscious, creative people to take action from the heart with more ease and less struggle. He believes coaches have an important and powerful role in helping people shift from current circumstances to creative possibilities. With the right skills and support, coaches can make an extraordinary impact in the world by supporting people to make the contribution they’re here to make.
As Executive Assistant, Monica brings 20+ years of experience to the Academy from her previous work in Legislative Government. She supports the team by removing obstacles and ensuring they are set up for success virtually or in the office.
Nancy DeCandia stewards the finances for the Academy and is a stand for the Academy’s financial integrity, well-being, and prosperity.
From organizers to ontological coaches
We are a group of three coaches – Anastasia Schemkes, Jess Serrante, and Seth Bush – that met each other through CTP and decided to join forces to form our own joint coaching practice, the Radical Support Collective. All three of us worked for environmental advocacy non-profits when we met at Mastering Life’s Energies in 2014. After a year of applying the tools and skills we learned at our first ACE course, we each saw that we wanted to become professionally trained to bring those tools and skills into the social change movements we organized. CTP was the obvious next step, and, funny enough, we each began our enrollment in the same cohort, where we met, connected, supported each other, and eventually decided to form RSC!
The heart of ACE’s coaching model is ontology, the study of being. But, as organizers for climate justice, the three of us were very familiar with doing. Changemakers tend to do a lot because we are compelled to act when we see injustice and a glimmer of possibility to make it right. That’s just who we are. What we learned through CTP is how to hold a space for people — be it one-on-one or a room of 100 people — where they get to experience who they truly are at a level deeper than doing. And when they see that, they tap into their own inner wisdom that guides them to DO with integrity and ease, rather than frustration and exhaustion.
We believe that movements for social change are most effective when their leaders are living from their vision for justice and a life-sustaining future. We help them to come back to who they are and what’s important to them when challenges get in the way, so they can be lit up by their work and bring out the best in others. For instance, we often ask them to call to mind other social change leaders who they admire — ancestors, elders, comrades, or loved ones who they imagine might have been resilient and successful in a similar situation. By looking at what they admire in others, our clients get to see ways they could bring those same qualities into their own work. Then it’s like a door of possibility opens up, and they see creative ways to take action and lead others in ways they had never before thought were possible.
We’ve seen clients face and fight wildfires (both literally and metaphorically) with clarity, focus, ease, and grace. We’ve also seen clients prevail over adversity and win progressive political campaigns that build lasting community power & serve as a model for others to do the same.
From activist/organizer/consultant to ontological coach
Like many coaches, I found this work somewhat by accident. I was facilitating a leadership development program, bringing in various teachers and mentors to support my peers to level up, and in supporting people to apply what we were all learning, found out I was coaching!
But, I was far from consistent in producing results, and farther still from having the confidence to say “I’m a coach” and start to charge money. I already read and loved “The Energy of Money” (written by Maria, ACE’s founder), so when I found out she had started a coach training program, I was thrilled—it was the community that pulled me in.
The tools I got are amazing, but even more importantly was an outlook that allows me to be more kind to myself and others. As an activist, community organizer, coach, leader, consultant, I hold so many roles that often are depicted as hard, cold or even aggressive, facing all the shortcomings humans have to offer.
But this is a model based on compassion. And, much to my surprise, I left feeling so much more free. As a Black Man in America, to feel safe around people who looked different than me, and embrace myself more freely…. I’d never have thought that my course leaders (an elder white lady and a smiley, Jewish songwriter) could coach me, a Black, Muslim-ish activist and organizer so thoroughly and effectively, even on matters of race… But that’s the magic of this model. It reaches deeper than the surface.
At the heart of this coaching model is enabling people to move beyond their doubts, worries, and the conclusions they have drawn about themselves, others, and life. Beyond these surface survival strategies lies who they truly are, a well of wisdom, a set of values that give life meaning… This model provides us a consistent and reliable way to meet our clients there. We have uncovered the ways that prejudice, discrimination, and the “isms,” play out in our own minds. I use this coaching model with both my individual clients and organizations/leaders to move beyond the biases that hinder their leadership. We’ve supported them to address challenging, complex institutional problems as a team, without falling into “us vs. them” thinking, but “you and me vs. the problem.”
Because this model focuses on the deepest aspects of humanness, it doesn’t rely on complex language or concepts to get the work done. We’ve been able to successfully apply this in multiple contexts around the world, as its principles are universally relatable and easily translatable. They rely on the quality, not the quantity of what is said to create transformation.
One of our clients, whom we got to train in an ACE tools seminar in Accra Ghana, are collaborating across the Atlantic ocean, building a Pan-African solidarity economy network, offering micro-grants for projects that help bridge the African continent and diaspora.
From grad student to ontological coach
I had left grad school after my master’s degree (focused on renewable energy politics) and I couldn’t decide what was next. I’m a semi-professional rock climber, and I wanted to contribute my experience and education to meaningful social change while also being able to travel frequently for climbing. These desires felt irreconcilable – I was stuck. A friend invited me to join a coaching group an ACE coach was leading and it helped me see the whole situation more creatively. I realized that coaching was the perfect way to make a difference and apply my talents while having a lot of flexibility in how and where I worked. CTP supported me to learn both the craft and business of coaching with great mentors and a supportive cohort.
A really memorable moment was when I was just starting my coaching practice and Maria (our founder) was coaching me for a CTP practice session. I was worried about finding other work to pay the bills as I got more clients, and I hadn’t pursued a few good options because I was sure they wouldn’t work out. Maria helped normalize my doubts so I could see them for what they were: the natural result of a brain evolved to avoid risk and potential failure. By identifying and naming my worries, Maria helped me create an “observational gap” so I could set aside those limiting thoughts, connect with my mission and goals, and take small steps to move forward. As a result, I made a phone call that landed me a lecturing position at a university, which was not only a great transition job but a really meaningful experience that kept opening up doors for years. CTP helped me understand why we often talk ourselves out of taking small steps to move forward, and how to coach others beyond that experience so they can create the things they’ve envisioned for themselves and the world.
I apply my coaching skills through my private practice and also as a college educator teaching life design. Many of my 1-1 clients are transitioning careers from a job that isn’t fulfilling, so we work together to clarify their vision and take small steps toward a career that fits their ideal lifestyle and is also meaningful in terms of the contribution they want to make in the world. For many people, this requires setting aside an “either/or” thought pattern such as, “I have to choose between financial stability and working on issues I’m passionate about.” Reframing this tradeoff as two equally important intentions – “to be financially successful” and “to be a contributor to my community” – sets them up for action instead of stagnation. I then help them set clear, achievable goals for each of these intentions and take consistent action to make them happen.
It’s really fun to see what my clients do as a result of our work together! One highlight is a past client who started a podcast about the intersection of racial justice and environmentalism, and while we were working together she built her following to levels that she previously couldn’t imagine. That opened up doors for her to realize a long-time dream of having her own business offering DEI workshops and training for institutions. These are the kinds of ripples I get to contribute to as a coach. It’s incredibly rewarding.
From organizer to ontological coach
Before CTP, I was a union organizer where I developed a peer coaching program. I was focused on supporting my team to move beyond white supremacy culture so we could have a union that deeply empowered all people and their participation. I was burned out and found my way to an ACE coach who saw that I had the heart of a coach and invited me to MLE. At that course, I saw that I really was interested in leveling up my coaching skills and saw clearly how my worries were talking me out of it. Because of the transformation I experienced at MLE, I decided to go for it so I could bring this kind of much-needed support to more organizers in our movements for justice.
Coaching without questions or tools, learning to trust my coach’s intuition, and being willing to experiment to make sure the client gets exactly what they need, without any “extra fluff.” Specifically, my experience with my mentor coach in Coaching in the Ear sessions and in the Advanced Coaching Skills Group was so transformative for my coaching, because I got the support I needed to become an artist with my coaching rather than using the model in a formulaic manner. It’s great to learn the tools at the beginning through imitation of the method, but the real magic comes from learning how to be present as a coach in a way where you can really support your client to get to the heart of it, even without talking to the client about the tools we’re taught. It’s like you have to learn them to gain skill, and then for mastery, you have to learn how to not rely on them, and CTP sets you up to gain that kind of mastery.
Being a part of CTP allowed me to more fully focus my attention on the meaning behind the contribution I was making at work, and also to more deeply support my volunteers to do the same. I ask folks to articulate what it is that is their underlying intention & vision for what they are up to. This simple act creates space for the volunteers to really look, and to see where they may not be acting in alignment with their intentions, values, or vision. For example, if a volunteer is seeing that they really want to build relationships on their team because they want to be offering and receiving more support, they might also see that they have been afraid to ask for support. By looking at what is most important to them, the “fog” starts to lift and the reason for their frustration becomes more apparent. Then they can see what authentic next step is there to move toward their vision, and take it with more ease.
At my role at the union, I could see that I was demonstrating more of my communicative, creative, and loving self because I had the skills and support to be focused on what was most important to me – leadership development and coaching (even though at the time I was using a different model). I know this had ripple effects on the leaders I worked with because one of them is still pursuing the development of his own coaching skills so he can continue supporting the group in that way. Because I held the space wide open for the team to imagine new possibilities for an organization that was truly empowering for all people, the leadership has since undergone significant changes to its structure in an effort to reduce hierarchy. As a result, this team continues to amplify marginalized voices within its membership and is striving to truly support more diverse people succeeding in organizational leadership roles. They are learning to sustain themselves more skillfully as they fight against harassment and discrimination of students on campus—a ubiquitous issue.
From crisis counselor trainer to ontological coach
I was working as a trainer for crisis counselors when my boss suggested we incorporate an ICF coaching modality into our crisis intervention model. I began searching for coaching programs and interviewed 5 different ICF schools. When I had my initial conversations with Josh on the ACE team I could tell there was something unique about the program. The fact that I left that introductory conversation feeling empowered, energized, and supported is what swayed me to go with ACE. Then when I took my first course (Mastering Life’s Energies), it was such a transformational and moving experience I signed up for the next course. That course was just as amazing and I kept signing up for courses until I finally realized I wanted to be trained as a professional coach.
When I was first trained in crisis intervention I was trained by paramedics who taught me that they never run onto the scene of any accident. Paramedics are trained to walk because if they run 1) they are more likely to miss important details and information 2) it is harder to work at peak effectiveness when ramped up. They need to be the calmest person in the room to be most effective. This principle of slowing down to speed up applies to the progressive candidates, democracy nerds, service providers, and crisis counselors I now support. Coaching helps make this “slowing down” a learnable skill. The folks I serve are often tired and strained by the urgency of the change they are seeking. I help them shift from fear and nervousness to resilience, creativity, and ease. As a result, they have breakthroughs around responding to the urgent needs of our times without feeling rushed and anxious, all while still responding more efficiently and effectively.
When I first introduced coaching tools to the crisis counselor team, our long-time crisis line counselor said to us, “this seems too simple, but I trust you so I will give it a try”. His next shift he applied the coaching principles and tools to his crisis calls and he came away from that shift beaming from ear to ear and saying to our team, “I didn’t know crisis counseling could be this easy, and I didn’t know I could enjoy this work this much.”
From performance coach to ontological coach
Working full time for a communications and media company has offered me skills in data management, operations, and planning. I am an active employee group member as well as an advisory board member for a non-profit organization. And as a mother of two children, I align myself to how, what, and why I do things with my Life’s Intentions – which I learned about as a client of an ACE-trained coach. I’ve always been intrigued by the ACE model, so I signed up to attend MLE in March 2020 to deepen my existing coaching skill set. Based on the timing (hello pandemic!) and the pause on in-person road/trail racing, I dove into CTP based on the opportunity to prepare for a possible career pivot.
During CTP, two tools have proven invaluable during these volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times. The Centering practice has enabled me to hold space for observation. Although it may feel uncomfortable, sitting with it prompts real review and growth. In addition, The Green Lens has helped me see how every person – EVERY SINGLE PERSON – is contributing to me right now. The depth of this idea has helped me connect to the different circles I am a part of – work, personal relationships, and community-based organizations.
In coaching conversations, I offer a safe space for clients to observe the caste and systemic policy reckoning that is currently underway in the US. These moments to review what they are seeing is essential – busy clients often bypass them during the day – and this pause to reflect is key towards growth. Post-reckoning, holding a space for the client to find their own answers is a contribution to this world. Their actions to support organizations to create the change they want to see or to enable the changes they want to see is part of a larger movement. It’s incredible to see the learning that takes place while we work toward realizing their desired outcome.
One of my current clients is educating others and attending social movement events supporting the AAPI community. She’s taken her pain around AAPI violence and transformed it into something of service. During the course of this work, she is focusing on her self-care and learning to mindfully redirect her energy from her worries toward the outcomes she wants in her life—including postgraduate studies in the AAPI Studies field.
Rita Saenz is the former Director of the California Department of Social Services, a government agency with a $21 billion budget and 4,700 employees. Her expertise lies in executive and organizational development, public policy, and government affairs. She served on the Board of the Plexus Institute. She is on the National Policy Council of AARP, the Executive Council of AARP of California, and the California Asset Building Coalition Steering Committee. She is also a Governor’s appointee as Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging.
Her work as a successful executive has made her a sought after consultant and coach trainer. Ms. Saenz has received statewide and national recognition for her work as a leader, including being named the by the Latino Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the country. She continues to work with corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations, and uses her coaching background to foster the success of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.
Maria Nemeth helps purpose-driven people everywhere see their greatness and bring it all to life.
Designed and refined over decades of work with people all over the world, her Illuminated Life Method™ turns timeless wisdom into practical skills that have helped tens of thousands to live and serve with clarity, focus, ease, and grace.
As Founder and Director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence, she has trained thousands of people worldwide in the nonprofit, for-profit, and governmental sectors.
She is a leading expert in leadership excellence, personal/professional development, and financial empowerment, whose work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. A lifelong agent of social change, Maria has contributed in areas such as civil rights, racial justice, women’s empowerment, and health & human services.
Maria is the author of two highly-acclaimed books: The Energy of Money, available in five languages, and its follow-up, Mastering Life’s Energies, both of which have given people everywhere a way to begin putting success principles into immediate practice in their lives.
A nationally acclaimed Professional Certified Coach, Beth Ann Suggs is an expert in helping individuals and teams develop successful, empowering relationships. As Dean of Students, Mentor Coach, and Course Leader for the Academy for Coaching Excellence, she brings compassion, clarity, and universal values to all aspects of her coaching.
For more than 30 years she has been making significant contributions to the field of coaching. Her approach as a Mentor Coach has empowered the lives of hundreds of people who have benefited from her dynamic leadership and guidance. Recently, her presentations on behalf of the Academy for Coaching Excellence have included being the keynote speaker at a national conference for coaches and, as an executive business coach, providing staff training in major corporations and various organizations throughout the United States.