Changing Course Moving Forward

June 18, 2020 |

From the Changing Course Family:

Two-and-a-half years after the official end of slavery in the US, enslaved people in Texas learned on June 19th–Juneteenth–that they were free. Some 155 years later, we at Changing Course acknowledge that, as a nation and as individuals, we have a great deal of work to do to ensure true liberation for the Black community and to put an end to systemic racism.

As Valerie announced in the last issue of the newsletter, she has decided to retire and we—Kate Navarro Fessler and Arthurine Walker—will be leading Changing Course into the future. We know that it is a big responsibility and we are grateful to Valerie for her guidance and advice as we move forward. As this is our first newsletter, we’d like to take this opportunity to:

  • Briefly share our plans for Changing Course (more in future newsletters)
  • Hear from you about what you need from Changing Course
  • Share our journeys to leading Changing Course

Continue to Expect Great Content 

Changing Course will continue to provide great content:

  • This summer, we plan to continue the legacy Valerie began by working with her on the Work at What You Love The COVID-19 crisis has put many people out of work. The international protests against systemic racism has caused many people to re-evaluate their lives and their priorities. Therefore, as we approach the American Independence Day, we think it’s a great time to explore work that you love.

Add your name to the priority notification list for Work at What You Love.

  • You can also expect the Paid to Brainstorm/Profiting from Your Passion coach certification program later this year.
  • And for those of you who already have a business or business idea, we will be offering business development opportunities.

We are excited about leading Changing Course, but before we make big plans, we want to hear from you. Please complete a brief survey to share your thoughts and ideas about how Changing Course can be most useful to you.

Tribute to Valerie Young

We could not begin to tell you about ourselves until we first take a moment to pay tribute to Valerie Young. She had the foresight 25 years ago to start Changing Course, a business that is so relevant and needed today. While the last newsletter highlighted some of the things that she has accomplished with Changing Course, her real legacy is the people she has affected through her work. Those people include us, but here are a few highlights of what others are saying about how Valerie’s work affected their lives:

Valerie’s work showed me that I can create a career I’m passionate about and live the life I want. It was eye-opening for me, a missing link in my personal and professional journey! Thank you for all your work!
– Dominika Miernik

Valerie is a true example of a hard working woman that creates income on her own terms. Her teachings and inspirations were a huge push for me to think outside the job box & create an income and lifestyle that go hand in hand. I am forever grateful that our paths crossed!
– Jen Schulz

Not only did I have the pleasure of being Valerie’s student and having her as my mentor, but I was also honored to have been able to interview her on my previous online radio show, The Denice Rivera Show, “Girl On Fire!” two weeks before O Magazine called to have her be featured in their magazine. On my show, she inspired even more women to “think outside the box”, in order to create a life they love. I can’t say enough about Valerie, her passion to educate and help others, her drive, her wisdom, her compassion and this amazing legacy she has built, which will continue to inspire even more people. What an amazing human being! Wishing her the absolute BEST in her future endeavors and honored to have had her be a part of my journey!
– Denice Rivera

Working with Valerie has been a life changing experience in so many ways. Never have I been so challenged to take control of my life and what I really want to do with it. Everyday I live out what she has taught me as well as get my clients to “live their lives on purpose”.
– Leisa Good, Powerfully Purposed For Success

These are just a few among the thousands of people Valerie has affected through her work. As we step into the leadership at Changing Course, it just didn’t feel right to use the title Dreamer in Residence. That has always been Valerie. In honor of her 25 years of putting so many of us on a new path, we have decided that Valerie will be the-one-and-only Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course. We will take on new titles as we continue the Changing Course journey with you. Below, you can read about each of our journeys to leading Changing Course.

Arthurine’s Journey to Changing Course

I have three distinct memories about choosing a career. The first came at age six when my Aunt Carmen asked, “What do you plan to do after college?” My response was “I want to do something that helps people.” My six year old mind had limited knowledge of helping careers, so I suggested that I might become a doctor, lawyer, or teacher.

Fast forward 10 years, at age 16 as I was preparing to go to college, my mother told me “When you go to college, get a career not just a degree.” My mother had friends whose children had college degrees but could not find a job. Only much later did I think that my mother never suggested that I study something that I enjoyed or was passionate about that might lead to work that I would love doing.

The idea of loving my profession came during my senior year of college. I was a marketing major and we had to select a project around which we would create a promotional campaign. I wanted to create a campaign to encourage people to register as organ donors, but I was outvoted by my team and my professor. Instead, we worked on a project to launch a new luxury car. That was a pivotal experience for me. I made a promise to myself then that I would never again work at something that I didn’t care about deeply and that six year old girl inside me still cared deeply about doing something that would help people. For the past 30 years, I’ve kept that promise to my adult self and the six year old me.

It is one of the many reasons why, when Valerie decided to retire from Changing Course, that I expressed interest in stepping into the leadership. I believe that everyone should do work that they love and I’d like to help as many people as possible to achieve that. My friends call me a risk-taker because I’ve been willing to move to different states, try out new things, and basically live life on my own terms. For me, Changing Course is about doing work that you love and living life on your own terms.

I first learned about Changing Course in the late 1990’s from Barbara Winter’s newsletter. I had taken Barbara’s class and purchased her book, Making a Living Without a Job. The very idea of making a living without a job and having multiple streams of income intrigued me, though I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it yet.

While I have worked in education, the nonprofit sector, government, and the private sector, all of my work has been about growing and sustaining nonprofit organizations, developing their leaders, promoting education, work skills development, and national service or working directly with education, youth development or teacher education programs. It has all been work that I’ve loved and work that helped people. And although I have been an employee, since 1999, I’ve also been an entrepreneur.

While working for the government agency that administers the AmeriCorps national service program, a nonprofit colleague, who had seen me facilitate a series of discussions about literacy, introduced me to a program manager at a Charter School association. They were looking for a consultant to facilitate strategic planning discussions with the teachers and administrators at Charter Schools in Washington, DC. This was exciting to me—I loved strategic planning, education, and facilitating. And it became my very first venture into entrepreneurship.

Since that time, I have consistently been engaged in some form of entrepreneurship. I’ve done work around helping people with college and career pursuits. I’ve focused on helping people to figure out how to use existing knowledge and skills in new ways that may be more aligned with their personal interests. And, after completing the Profiting from Your Passions coach training program (then called Outside the Job Box Certification Program) in 2007, I began helping people to figure out how to create their own jobs, doing something they would love, and creating the life they want to live. It continues to surprise me how many people don’t believe that work should be something that you love.

As I developed my knowledge of the nonprofit sector, I also began doing training and coaching with nonprofit leaders. I believe the business development work that I’ve done with these leaders can be transferred to helping those who want to Change Course to develop sound and sustainable business practices.

For a time, I worked under the business name, What is Your Marathon? If you have ever seen a marathon live, especially after the 20-mile mark, then you know how amazing it is to witness the power of human endurance. Building a business or changing course in any area of your life is rarely a sprint. Like a marathon, it takes time and effort. Each year, around the globe, thousands of people—young and old and people with differing abilities—complete the 26.2 mile course. A marathon demonstrates that you can do anything with the right preparation. Changing course is hard, but I would like to help you to go the distance.

Partnering with Kate to lead Changing Course into the future may be my “dream job” and just what the six year old me was looking for even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Live the Life of Your Dreams,
Arthurine Walker
Chief Changemaker

Kate’s Journey to Changing Course

I became a Changing Course Outside the Job Box (OTJB) Career Expert—later known as Profiting from Your Passions coach (PFYP)—with the class of 2007. Until that time, I worked in corporate jobs. I had worked at least one job since I was 16 years old, and I’d made a decent career for myself. But, I always felt like something was missing. I also felt like I wasn’t appreciated or given the opportunities I thought I deserved.

My career journey is long and convoluted, but I give credit to my last significant employer—a large internet company that was in its toddlerhood when I worked there. I was exposed to a lot of innovative thinking, and because there were not very many people in my group, I was able to expand my capabilities into numerous areas. The prevailing attitude was “if you think you can do it, and you want to do it, go for it!” I loved this energy and really loved my job … until … the company started to grow and put “structures” in place. In my case, that meant no more of the “can do” message, and more of the “we’ll hire someone with a higher salary to do that.” My “job box” began to narrow. I no longer felt that sense of contribution, of everyone working toward the same goal or the camaraderie of making things happen that seemed impossible to anyone on the outside looking in.

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted the freedom to make my own schedule and not be bound by the two or three weeks of vacation they allowed. I wanted to be paid well and have the right resources for the work I did, rather than to continually be told to “do more with less.”

That’s where I was in my life when the Changing Course training came along. When the student is ready, the teacher appears!

In some ways, I feel like I’ve been preparing to steward Changing Course to its next chapter for a long time. Since 2008, when I left my corporate job, I’ve immersed myself in learning more about different worlds and opportunities that I never knew existed through numerous coaching and educational programs involving everything from mindset to marketing.

I was raised to be a rule follower – eight years of Catholic school! Then it slowly dawned on me that the game was rigged. The “rules” were set by someone who did not necessarily have my best interest at heart. Career and/or job “rules” were not created to bring out the best in people, to help them grow and attain their highest potential. From job descriptions to performance reviews to pay grades, they were designed to reward those who made the rules and have everyone else working to support the dream of the rulemaker.

Then I stumbled on a quote from Katherine Hepburn, which became one of my favorites: “If you follow the rules, you miss all the fun.

My first brand as an OTJB/PYFP coach was “Play Your Own Game.” If others could make the rules, why couldn’t we? Instead of trying to change the rules, why not opt out of the game altogether?

I even designed a t-shirt for one of my clients with the slogan, which has become my mantra, “My Life, My Rules.”

My Big Why has been the freedom to make my own rules; to create the life that I want, regardless of what everybody thinks I should want. I want the freedom to do work I love, work with people I love and for whom I can make a difference, and to create prosperity and abundance for myself and my family. I want to own my time and my livelihood, and to contribute in the same spirit of “if you think you can do it, and you want to do it, go for it!”

And I want that for you too!

One of the most important things I learned is that navigating the transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur was like moving to a foreign country – I didn’t know the language or the customs, and it was a strange and wonderful journey, with lots of zigs and zags along the way! I learned that mindset is a big part of it, and I’m looking forward to introducing some mindset discussions to help you really become the “ruler” of your own life.

I am a big believer in multiple streams of income. In addition to Changing Course, I do consulting work for a large technology company. I love the work I do, and I love the people I work with. I control my time, and I work from home or wherever I happen to be in the world. At first, it felt like selling out my dream, because of some questionable coaching I had received about “burning the boats” so there’s no going back. But I realized I like the work, I wanted to keep a toe in that water, and quite frankly, it pays well! So once again, I decided to make my own rules. I can do both! I’ve helped numerous clients over the years create that sort of structure in their own businesses, when it’s appropriate, so they don’t have to give up work they love. They can just change the rules to suit their vision of what they want their life to look like.

I am committed to continuing and expanding the mission by bringing this freedom, flexibility, love for what you do, resilience, and the ability to create one or more streams of income that empowers you to live your ideal life to the Changing Course community.

Especially during these times, when everything seems to be in doubt and the old rules are being questioned in so many ways, I hope you’ll support us in doing our small part to help usher in a new way of life that brings more joy and prosperity to all. I’m optimistic about what the future will bring, and excited about being the co-pilot on the next phase of the amazing Changing Course journey!

Your Life, Your Rules!
Kate Navarro Fessler
Chief Empowerment Officer


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