What’s coming for Build Yourself and why I’m no longer teaching Boston workshops

Whether you’ve been on this journey with me, getting these email notes for a long time, or you’ve just joined me, it’s been a big year of change for Build Yourself, and I thought I’d let you in on what’s going on behind the scenes and why I’m making the choices I am.

Build Yourself started out as a side passion. I was working as a designer when the ‘Lean In’ moment–a wide-scale conversation about gender equity–hit my field. I was so proud and fired up that it was happening–but I felt it was missing an essential component–that of women openly speaking to each other about how they experienced challenges in their career growth, and swapping strategies on what to do to make a better working world. So I leaned back on my training as a women’s empowerment facilitator and the six-week Build Yourself curriculum was born that I taught first at the Harvard Design School, and later at the Boston Society of Architects.

But over the years, it’s become so much more. I’ve written over 30,000 words in emails and blog posts. I’ve taught and worked with hundreds of women, and learned what they experience in their careers, and about the priorities they’re balancing. I’ve seen women break through tough moments–glass ceilings, imposed, and self-imposed, tricky positions and moments of stuckness. I’ve seen some of the women I taught in Boston grow into leadership–into board positions, new roles, new positions of influence, and I’ve witnessed them ‘wingwomaning’ for each other–facilitating each other’s growth.

This summer I set aside some time to reflect on Build Yourself, and decide it’s future. It became clear to me that it was at a crossroads, and I needed to choose whether I wanted it to grow in scale and in impact–or to remain the same or even fade away. And I realized I wanted Build Yourself to be more, to do more. I wanted the little ripple effect I’ve seen in Boston to expand and go farther. That meant a few changes, and I want to share with you.

I solidified my programs.
Before last year, if you decided it was time to invest in yourself, you either had to live in Boston, or attend my once-twice yearly live online course–and you had to get lucky and find out about it when I decided, semi-randomly, to teach it. I now have three courses, so when women come to me looking for help leveling up, there’s a next step.

Defeat Self Doubt
My five-day audio course that walks you through how to set aside the voice of self doubt that holds you back from what you’re truly capable of. Always available.

Build Yourself Accelerator
This ten-week program offered once per quarter focuses on a key area women need to level up. I’ve taught on building your profile and creative goal setting. I’ll be teaching an edition this spring on how to ask for and get what you want (want to know more, click here) and another edition in the summer, and next fall I’ll be teaching the successful profile building edition again.

Build Yourself… Coming Soon
My signature six-week group coaching workshop that focuses on advocating for yourself, growing in your career and more, that I teach in the fall and the spring. This winter I’ll be looking at a redesign of this program to zero in on what gets women to the next level of their careers.

I’ve zeroed in on accountability in my programs.
When I talk to women about what they’ve tried before to get more of what they want in their lives and their careers, they tell me that life is busy, and there’s so much to do. They worry about making commitments they can’t keep. So my programs have accountability mechanisms, like optional accountability partners, checklists, and live online trainings so there’s something to show up at (even virtually). It’s also why I continually challenge myself to make my assignments as short and pithy as possible. Short and easy–I want to set you up to succeed. (Imagine me as an Egyptian task master haranguing my worksheets–‘Shorter! Pithier!’) It’s also one of the reasons I’ve raised my prices–I’ve learned over time that my students need to make a commitment and an investment in themselves and their growth.

I’m building a team.
There are some things I’m great at like coaching and teaching–but I can’t do it all. And there are some things that need to happen to deliver world class programs–like logistics, tech, and consistent customer service, that are not in my core wheelhouse, or I can’t do alone. Some of you have met the fantastic Alaia Williams, my assistant, systems guru and another woman in business who shares the Build Yourself values. I’m lucky to have her help. I’ve also begun to work with community managers, other designers and more.

I am no longer teaching nighttime programs.
For many years, I taught Build Yourself during the evening. And when I taught a program two times a year, for a couple weeks at a time, that was fine. But building a company with more scale and impact means that my programs need to run during business hours–or else I’ll have no private life and boundaries–even as I’m helping other women build them for themselves. It doesn’t mean I wont teach the occasional nighttime workshop or have a guest speaker anymore, but it means that the core programs I offer will be offered during the day. I understand that this might be an issue for women who love my programming but have little control over their schedules, but I’ve found that making growing in your career a priority means spending some of your work time on it–whether you work for yourself or for someone else. And a number of women who have wanted to take my programs have found that their companies are actually quite supportive (psychologically and financially) and are thrilled that you want to invest in yourself.

As a result, I’m no longer teaching my six-week Boston workshop, although I plan to stay involved with the Boston Society of Architects and their movement for greater opportunity for women.

So what do you think? What drew you to what I have to share in the first place? How can I help you grow as I grow this movement I’m building? Comment below or contact me and let me know.

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