Rather than giving you a standard bio, let me tell you who I am by answering four key questions:
What's your nonprofit experience?
I was the co-founder of the Child Assault Prevention Training Center of California and was there for 12 very intense years.
CAP is a program that goes into the schools, classroom by classroom, to teach kids from preschool through 12th grade how to get away from kidnappers and molesters and what to do it they are being abused by someone at home.
The original program was created by Women Against Rape in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1981, Kate Kain and I set up our own local project in Berkeley and Oakland, then evenings and weekends we'd jump in the car and go out to other counties "evangelizing."
In our first four years, we helped start 45 independent projects, and along the way became the CAP Training Center of California. We continued to support our projects in every way we could, passing on the spirit of generosity shown us by National CAP, especially Sally Cooper.
Even though we were working on a very disturbing issue, those early years were just the best. We had a program that really worked, we were creating a statewide movement, and we were reaching kids in a way no one in our state had ever done before.
Maxine Waters, who was then in the California Assembly, heard about us and asked us to come write legislation with her. At the end of an intense year of organizing and lobbying, we convinced the Governor to sign CAPTA, the Child Abuse Prevention Training Act of 1984.
For five years, CAPTA provided $10 million annually for 81 projects, covering every county in California. With all of us working together, we trained over four million children and teens.
Because of our work, kids got away from kidnappers and molesters. Thousands upon thousands of kids who were being abused at home got help for themselves and their families.
I loved it that even the littlest children were able to triumph in situations when the odds were so very much against them. Their stories will stay with me for the rest of life.
As will my working partnership with Kate, who is still my best friend. We went through such very challenging years, but we went through them together. People talk about it being lonely at the top. That wasn't true for us.
There were times when we were exhausted, scared, or in over our heads, but we were never lonely. And that made all the difference.
What kind of training did you go through to become a coach?
In 1998, when I told my friends that I was going to the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), they said, "Oh, that's perfect for you! You're a natural coach."
It turned out that wasn't really true. What my friends saw in me was my natural love of coaching. I loved it then and I love it even more now. But I really needed the training. I needed to clear out my old co-dependent, nonprofit, fix-other-people persona.
I think of me before CTI, and then after CTI, and I'm so glad to be the after version.
It's true that Kate and I were wildly successful with CAP, but it's also true that we had to learn too much the hard way. Especially once we got the state funding. Those years took way too much out of us personally.
What I do now is to help my clients triumph without the sacrifice. Leadership is different for them. It grows them instead of burning them out.
What else do you bring to your coaching?
In 1995, I was diagnosed with a rare kind of skin cancer. It turned out that if you've got to have cancer, mine was a good kind of have because now it's completely gone. Still it took three years before I got to remission, so I had lots of time to think about mortality.
In the beginning, when I first got my diagnosis, I was scared and I knew I was not handling things well, so I started doing imagery work with an oncology nurse.
I'd almost say it was worth getting the cancer in order to discover the kind of down-to-earth imagery she taught me. And to learn that right at the heart of healing, even in the face of a life-threatening illness, is the spirit of play.
I had only planned to do a few sessions, but ended up seeing Susan every other week for five years because I just plain loved imagery. Then in 2001, I signed up at the Academy for Guided Imagery and took their full certification to become an imagery guide myself.
I know that imagery work is not for everyone, but for anyone who wants it, I'm happy to add it in to the coaching. I love how one moment of grace can trigger a breakthrough that sometimes months of diligent work can't achieve.
What do you do in addition to coaching?
If you were to print out this site in hard copy it would be over 500 pages. So I think of Nonprofit Hearts as a book, but it's my second one. I'm back working on my first one, which I call my real book, and I plan to finish it by summer 2013. I describe it by saying...
It's for people who have put their hearts into saving the world and gotten their hearts broken.
I now spend my days coaching half time and writing half time and feel blessed to have this life.
© 2008 Rich Snowdon