Sara Jane Lowry
Coach | Nonprofit Consultant | Strategic Advisor
I like to ask questions.
Questions help get to the answers beneath the symptoms. We face considerable challenges in our lives and work. And, we want to know how to best meet those challenges– for ourselves, for our organizations and businesses, for our families and communities.
How do we move past our fears to inspiration? To ways that will connect the resources and the people we need to fulfill this purpose? What will that change, and for whom?
These are the questions that spark change. My role is to be a strategic advisor, coach, business developer, and organizational change agent with
- individuals and groups
- executive directors and nonprofit boards
- freelancers and small business owners
- women who are in transition
Actually, anyone seeking to know their own minds, find their own voices, and find their path to success. Is this you?
How did I get started? I started my professional career as an opera singer.
It’s a tough, demanding field where employment is often highly subjective. I travelled and sang from Massachusetts to Florida to New York. Travelling took its toll, and worrying about vocal health got old. So, when I decided to choose a new career path, I transitioned to the for-profit arena. Work that included international imports/exports, plant production and scheduling, as well as corporate and real estate marketing and public relations.
But I missed the emotional connections made through singing. (Especially about those human tragedies found in Opera). So, eventually I found my way to the social sector. There, I found a home, a place where passion is king, and people are changing the world. (Sounds like Opera, doesn’t it?) In singing, I learned to be fearless, to prepare well, to give my all, to work well with others, to manage when things went wrong on stage. (That sounds like most executive directors I know.)
So, I want you to know that I’ve been where you are! For over 25 years, I’ve been:
- executive director
- development director
- director of external relations
- grant writer
- strategic project coordinator
- and yes, board treasurer and board president!
Through it all, I’ve helped organizations transition through leadership changes, put on conferences and special events, managed successful capital campaigns and raised millions. All in support of missions ranging from arts, libraries, mentoring, social services, and health. The last 8 years as a consultant has been focused on helping organizations grow, move through transitions, and bring new dollars to their mission. You can see a sampling of who I’ve worked with here.
For the last 8 years, I’ve also been a solopreneur. I’ve
- built a business that reflects my values
- learned when it is time to bring on staff support
- determined how best to discover and work with my clients’ needs
- prioritized and managed multiple projects and activities
- set goals that stretch me
- become grateful for the challenges and learning opportunities
- developed a positive attitude and commitment to doing something I love
- juggled work/life including volunteer service in the community
Change can be complex and challenging. I’ve done it both personally and professionally. I’ve learned through mistakes, and at times been overwhelmed, just like you. I know that sometimes you need someone to talk to: about your challenges, about your board, or your staff. Or you want to create new strategy, not just react to forces outside of you, or your organization. My job is to help you frame the situation, envision the future, and together develop the action plans and structure to take you out of the chaos.
Naturally this work has led to coaching.
Coaching allows you to reframe your internal dialogue and blocks to find the answers to creating your best possible life. A coach can help you to lead your organization to fulfilling more mission through team building (board chairs and CEO) and resource development (more money more mission).
Our culture and financial pressures push us to constantly look for new ways to change as quickly and painlessly as possible. Further, success is often defined in “12 simple steps” or seven effective habits. In this environment of quick fixes, working with a coach can be based on your own pace of change and discovery of skills and triggers–and can result in truly integrative success.
Education should always be viewed as an investment rather than an expense. Coaching can be worth the investment if you’re ready for it.