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Meet Luminary Member, Michelle Ward


Luminary Member Michelle Ward 

Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get started with your current career path/business journey?

Back in 2007, I was at a crossroads: No longer pursuing musical theater as a career, stuck in a job that was great on paper but came with a verbally abusive boss...and I had to ask myself, "What could be a career that I can be passionate about for the next 40ish years until retirement?" That's when I realized (1) I couldn't work for anyone if I wanted to give myself the best shot for a fulfilling career and (2) I was excited to think of being the coach I couldn't find - a career coach that worked with (& understood!) creatives!

I opened my doors as The When I Grow Up Coach in 2008 and was able to quit my job mid-recession in March 2010. My role transitioned to business coach for creative women throughout the years, and in January of this year I folded The When I Grow Up Coach to focus on a signature program: 90 Day Business Launch!

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

My Capricorn-ness, lol! I'm a self-starter for sure, and according to Gretchen Rubin's 4 Tendencies, an Upholder. So I'm real good at setting a goal for myself and following through.

And also...I'm a dreamer, and that's served me well, too.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, or in your business, and what did you learn from it?

Saying yes to EVERYTHING early on was a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it got me exposure and connections from the start. On the other hand, I was overextended - especially since I was building my business while working full-time and getting certified. It definitely taught me - a super extrovert who thrives on relationships - to take a breath before saying Yes to something and assessing my bandwidth + how good of a fit it is. Now I work smarter for sure.

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?

Pitching! I just bought fellow Luminary member Precious Williams' books, and I can't wait to dive in.

How do you invite others to take a seat at the table?

It's been a huge priority of mine to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive business. After taking a course with vp wright - a DEI Consultant and Business Coach who is Black - I invited her to lead private, monthly coaching calls with my BIWOC clients. That expanded to having a BIPOC sub-group in our private community - led by vp as well - and licensing her Inclusive Strategies for Your Coaching Business workbook to give to all my clients. I'm thrilled when I hear how safe my BIWOC clients feel in our spaces, and how well they feel they're served with vp on their side.

What is one thing you wish you knew a year ago?

That Luminary was here for me! I joined in June and have already attended countless virtual meetups and workshops, worked in the space a handful of times, did an Instagram Live on your feed, and participated in the Women's Small Business Month pop-up as a vendor. There are so many opportunities here for connecting and networking - not to mention the space is my fave to work in.

What impact has Luminary made in your career? eg: Business Generated, Revenue, New Clients, Career Connections, Advancement Opportunities 

Women's Small Business Month pop-up was the first time I've ever been a vendor, and I'm excited to see what comes from that. I've made lots of connections already, and know that some collaborations and referrals are just around the corner.


Connect with Michelle!