How did you come to be part of the SNoWCo team?
Teresa: I met Sarah about 3 ½ years ago and I was excited to join the team. I used to refer to myself as her Swiss Army knife because I fulfilled all sorts of roles and duties. My role has evolved a lot since then and I really love the work we are doing together.
What does your role involve?
Teresa: As the Director of Learning and Development, I have the pleasure of working with both clients and content. I lead team coaching experiences and workshops. I also take lead on research projects that involve qualitative data and collaborate with Sarah to both develop new content and continue evolving our current content so our clients are always getting the best version of our work.
What are the best parts of your role?
Teresa: Two things I love to do are Gap Audits and Immunity to Change work. As leaders begin their coaching journey centered on better aligning their intentions with their actual impact, a gap audit provides a rich data set to help them gauge where work needs to be done. As one client put it, “the gap audit gave me the honest feedback I needed but wouldn’t be able to get on my own.”
I also love working with individuals and groups on Immunity to Change. In this process, which comes from Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey from Harvard, we uncover the behaviors, worries, hidden commitments, and assumptions that keep us from making progress toward our own goals. I’m really looking forward to doing more of this work in 2022.
What is the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?
Teresa: Be true to yourself. Throughout my career, I’ve been told I wasn’t loud enough, wasn’t aggressive enough, or didn’t look or sound the part of a leader. By being true to myself, I felt stronger and more confident in my decisions and the way I work with others. The room rarely needs another loud voice, but it always needs more curiosity and deep listening.
Who do you look up to?
Teresa: I greatly admire my friend Sarah Smith, although she won’t know I’m writing about her unless I call her Farah, which is a fun story for another time. Farah is an amazing colleague and friend. We’ve taught side by side, improved our teaching practices together, stepped into leadership together, and worked with young people who deserved a fresh start. She has given me beautiful guidance as a parent without an ounce of judgement. One of the moments I admire the most is when she had the courage to tell me that she heard fear in my voice even though I wouldn’t own up to it. That moment opened my eyes to the situation in front of me and reframed how I approached it. I love you, Farah.
What do you do when you feel you’ve hit a creative or motivational roadblock?
Teresa: I love getting up and moving. I love to cook, bake, and walk outside in all kinds of weather. Some of the best ideas and creative breakthroughs have actually come while I’m folding laundry. There’s something amazing about the warm laundry and the rhythm of folding that sends my brain into a great space.
What would you be doing for a career if it weren’t coaching?
Teresa: Working in public education. 100%.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Teresa: There are many things I’m passionate about, but the older I get, the more I enjoy nature. Living in Iowa, we get to experience all the seasons and I’ve come to enjoy the gifts of each. I love to joke that Mother Nature is my cousin, so I’ve got some pull.
What is your personal motto? Why?
Teresa: To whom much is given, must is expected. I’m a huge believer in building longer tables instead of higher fences so all can be included. I want to show up for others. I want people to know in every interaction that their humanity is honored. I want to leave the world better than I found it.
It’s Saturday afternoon and the sun is shining – what do you do?
Teresa: I’m thinking back to nature, so this is a tough question for me. Winter—Inside reading by the fire while I’m waiting for bread dough to rise. Spring—Outside prepping the garden area and checking on baby chicks. Summer—Working in the garden and brewing sun tea. Fall—We have friends over early for a fire outside and coffee. It’s a great way to start the day.
What media are you consuming right now? Books, television, movies, etc!
Teresa: For anyone who knows me, it will be no surprise that I’m watching The Crown (again). I basically have it on repeat.
No cheating – what does your desk look like right now? Can you share a few stories behind the items in your workspace?
Teresa: Oh…well the way my desk looks now is not how I like my desk to look and feel, but that’s life some days/weeks/months/years. Right now, my desk is covered in a random collection of Barbie dolls I’ve rescued from our dog, a first aid kit, a stuffed snake in need of repair, a Yeti of ice water, and a candle from Des Moines Mercantile. I usually like to keep it really tidy—Post-it notes, paper, Ink Joy pens, Ticonderoga pencils, and a yellow highlighter—but that snake isn’t going to repair itself.