If you opened your own business, what would it be? After dreaming about opening up my own business for many years, I finally did! My dream was realized on Feb. 1 when I left my job and started leadership coaching and consulting full time. It has been an incredible five months and I am never looking back.

Now, I do have another sneaky dream for a business and that is opening up a candy shop. I’ve always thought it would be so much fun to be the candyman...er..woman. You cannot help but smile when you walk into a candy store or incredible ice cream store. I would love to create a space for that instant joy.

What advice would you give your younger self? I would tell little Sam (my childhood nickname is Sam) two things. The first is “ Sam, what you are dealing with is called anxiety. There are things you can do to help you move through it so you don’t have to sit in the bathroom crying all the time or have terrible stomach issues when it rears its head. You are not broken. You aren’t just a worrier. Your brain likes to get excited about things that is outside of your control. In time you will learn these skills and it will transform your life.” Also I would tell me “Don’t stop wearing what you want to wear and being who you were meant to be. Continue your path to originality because not trying to be like others will pay off incredibly when you are older. Not only will it become a defining factor in the work you will do, but you will be so damn happy because you lived your life your way and not according to how others thought you should.”

Exceptional Skills- A secret skill you might not know? Parallel parking. I’m a master and I can usually do it in one move. I seek out the toughest spots.

But the two skills I am most proud of is my ability to improvise (and not just for laughs). For example, I can have a whole workshop outline built and will rip it up (as many students can attest) if I feel like the learning needs to go somewhere else.

The second skill is an ability connect with people deeply. There is nothing more sacred in my life than really hearing and witnessing another person.

What makes you feel fulfilled? Leaving people better than I found them and belly laughs.

When asked to describe yourself, what’s the first word that pops into your mind? Plurpose This is my own personal value combining play with purpose. I love to laugh. I am not afraid to be silly. But I am also incredibly mindful and intentional with my thoughts and actions (at least most of the time). Life is too short not to laugh. But life also has enough time we should be thoughtful about our impact to others.

Favorite Book- One of my favorite stories is a play called Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison. It is a dark comedy about a community of modern day people who choose to live according to the rules and laws of the 1950s. It’s a fascinating look at the desire to return to the “simpler” times but shines a poignant light on the impact those times had on gender roles and race. Ultimately it challenges us to consider “What am I willing to sacrifice for happiness?”

One of my dream projects is to produce this show as a staged reading for fundraising.  

What makes your heart race? Anxiety...just kidding, but it does ;)  Seeing someone push through their fear and breathe into courage. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity since I was a teenager to witness these moments in others. Sometimes I feel like my heart will explode with pride and love in these moments.

Organization or cause near to your heart- Mental Health. This is something we still don’t talk about enough, although that is definitely changing. I never want another person to feel that they are broken when managing mental health issues.  

What keeps you up at night? The positive thoughts that keep me up are that I have so many ideas for books I want to write, experiences I want to create, and impact I want to make. The person I have the hardest time saying no to is me. Sometimes I have to set a strict no to working or reading work related books after 8 because my excitement and adrenaline keeps me awake.  

The stressful and overwhelming thoughts that keep me up is the damage happening to our society because we have lost our ability to converse with those we disagree with and no long seek collaboration but tribalism. This break down terrifies me.

What is a belief you once held but no longer do? I’m not ready and not worth it. Kicking those ideas to the curb changed my life.

What are you interested in connecting with other women about? How can we continue to push each other to play big. There is still a very real confidence gap. There are still very real biases against us. We will need to be the ones that change that narrative in who we are and how we show up. I love connecting with women who push me to think even bigger than I could myself!

Sarah Noll Wilson

Chief Edge Officer

Click here to contact Gina