We are continuing the interview series where I ask experts from a variety of fields including organizers, related professionals, and lifestyle experts to share a bit of personal information about themselves with readers.
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing a woman well-known to professional organizers, Denslow Brown. Denslow is a trainer, coach, organizing guru, speaker, and founder/director of the Coach Approach for Organizers. Denslow and I met through our mutual friend and organizing colleague, Janine Adams. Denslow has been organizing professionally since 1974; she trains organizers and coaches and to say that Denslow is creative, unique and well-liked is an understatement. She's as well known for her warmth, approachability and sense of humor as she is for her numerous contributions to the coaching and organizing industries. Here's a bit more about Denslow Brown, CPO, CPO-CD, SCAC, MCC
GT: What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
DB: While I was a relentless day-dreamer as a child, I didn't imagine anything other than being a wife and mother. What did capture my imagination was the different culture and rules in each of the homes of my relatives and friends. They opened up possibilities I hadn't considered. I visited the very humble rural home (the mother of one of my dad's colleagues) and was fascinated that a happy person lived in a small and simple space. I had a friend who had no TV in her home, another whose father taught her self-defense routinely, and another whose siblings were close friends. My best friend had a very controlling mother and no hint of clutter ever anywhere. When I was three, my grandparents moved to a 5-acre 'avocado ranch' and the idea of retiring to the country stayed with me until I did it myself two decades ahead of schedule (in my 40s, without the retirement part). Part of what I love about organizing is seeing the different culture and rules you find in each home and business.
GT: Are you an introvert or an extravert? How do you recharge your batteries?
DB: I'm an introvert by nature who matured into an extrovert. I recharge my batteries by reading, floating in water (tub, pool or creek), being creative (cooking, carpentry, sewing), and in intimate, long conversations with one or two other people. My biggest commitment to recharging is the month I spend each summer as part of the crew that puts on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (www.michfest.com). I work with a team of 10 women who organize the workshops and media events for this 7-day celebration.
GT: Which organizing professionals/coaches/bloggers do you talk on the phone with/exchange emails/ visit IRL with on a regular basis?
DB: Cameron Gott, Lisa Schlesinger, Yvonne Trostli, Sue West, Judith Kolberg, Lynne Johnson, Linda Samuels, Kim Anker-Paddon, Andrea Sharb.
GT: Are there any conferences that you attend or want to attend in the future to build your business?
DB: I've been involved in NAPO and ICD (NSGCD) from their beginnings and have grown so much in those conference halls. Whatever city they are in, I feel like I'm visiting my alma mater. I think ICD conferences are essential for organizers as their information is so cutting edge and critical. I'd like to get back to the CHADD and ICF conference which I've neglected in the last few years. I believe that anyone who works with clients with ADD (that's every organizer!) should attend at least one national ADHD conference. It's mind-opening and there's no substitute!
GT: Could you share "a day in the life of?" with us please?
DB: I work from a home office in a small building about 200 feet from the house. I have a view from our hilltop across our fields and then over the mountain plateaus (which are patchwork field and forest) into the next state (Arkansas). I start work sometime between 8 and 9 am and work until 5 or 6 pm. I try to take a 1?-2-hour lunch and do some weeding and visit with Linda. If it's warm, I float in the pool, look at clouds and spin on my raft, naming trees. Unless I'm in the office I don't check my office line or email at all (never in the evenings). I always dress for work (no pajamas for me) but shoes, combed hair and earrings are optional. Skype is going to change this, I fear.
I have lots of very part-time help: an administrative assistant for the training program who lives about 30 minutes away, and a bookkeeper + e-marketing manager who travels in a camper. She also body-doubles me by phone to clear off my desk each Thursday if it needs it (which is about half the time)
And I have a coach, Julie Gray, who supports me around time management which is my biggest challenge. As an adult with ADHD, I depend on these supports.
I also bring in several people (Cam Gott, Andrea Sharb, Yvonne Trostli and Ari Tuckman this year) to help with the training and curriculum development for Coach Approach although I'm the 'decider."
GT: Which tasks are your least favorite to tackle in your personal life?
DB: Going to medical appointments: doctors, dentist. I am happier to go for a massage but neglect to schedule any of these appointments often enough.
GT: If you were to form a mastermind group and you KNEW anyone you asked would say yes, who would you invite into your circle?
DB: Andrea Lee, Jennifer Koretsky, Warren Buffett ? plus people who are excellent support already and who know me and my values: Linda Smith, Lisa Vogel, Julie Gray, Sandra De Freitas, Cam Gott, and Barbara Luther.
GT: Did you sacrifice anything becoming your brand? If so, could you talk about that?
DB: My partner, Linda, is 11 years older than I am so she's been retired while I've been implementing my last big professional dream! I worked a lot of extra hours in the first years of the coach training program (2007-11) while also writing The Processing Modalities Guide. Linda contracted Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever in June 2011 and was in hospitals for three months with a very uncertain outcome. I moved in to her rooms for the duration and let others keep the business going (thank you Jeanette, Cam, Sue and Andrea). As I waited out her diagnosis, prognosis and rehabilitation, I reassessed my time-table and devotion to my work. My priorities are a lot clearer. Had I squandered Linda's and my best, last, three years together? As we moved through her long rehabilitation, we have recommitted to each other and our life on the land and homestead we created over a 25-year period here in the Ozarks Mountains. I'm still committed to and passionate about my work but my boundaries are firm.
GT: Do you consider yourself a successful business woman? Describe what that term means to you personally.
DB: I consider myself successful as I've enjoyed almost 40 years of sustainable, flexible, self-defined work which allowed me to make an important difference in clients' lives and also devote time to other important interests (feminism, environment, community-building, family). I love my work and I am devoted to the fields I am part of (Organizing,
ADHD, and Coaching). Looking ahead to what's considered retirement age, I've challenged myself in the last 8 years to develop a bigger business (the coach training program) and, in a good way, that's really challenged and developed my sense of self in the context of both success and business.
GT: Regarding business, who are some of the people that you are most grateful for?
DB: My father, D.V, Brown, a food broker, who was a leader in his industry's association, an innovator in its evolution, and a champion of its ethical standards. He was a great model for me, something I only realized in the last years of his life. I still draw on his example.
? My mother, Arla Brown, who was my father's prime advisor and who believed in me ferociously always.
? My beloved partner Linda Smith who is my prime advisor and champions my work.
? Stephanie Culp was an early support ? the first other organizer I ever met. She shared her plans to form NAPO and I thought, "Wow, I wonder if that will ever happen?"
? Judith Kolberg ? for asking the questions that led to NSGCD/ICD and changed everything in our field, giving it heart and much deeper purpose. And to Terry Prince and Sheila Delson for picking up the baton and taking it a huge step further.
? Cameron Gott, PCC who joined in my dream to teach coaching skills to organizers. Coach Approach is mine but it wouldn't as great as it is without him.
? Barbara Luther who is on my Professional Advisory Board and supports the Certified Organizer Coach? program of the Institute for Applied Coaching, which is also part of my business.
GT: Name your 3 favorite publications:
Permaculture Magazine, Permaculture Activist, Backyard Poultry These publications are relevant to our organizing work as they discuss zones of activities, systems, sustainability, communication, community, and responsible use of resources. (Okay, Backyard Poultry is a bit of a stretch.)
GT: Here are some questions:
Favorite Childhood Book: Nancy Drew Series
Cup or Cone: (ice cream) Cone
Best Business Book You've Read Lately: Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Someone You'd like to Meet: JK Rowling
Calendar : Electronic
Early Bird or Night Owl: Depends, but my magic time is the end of day: twilight/sunset
Best Location You've Ever Vacationed: Tahiti
Favorite Chick Flick: You've Got Mail
Favorite Junk Food: Barbara's blue cheese ? jalape?o cheese puff
Denslow Brown, MCC, CPO, CPO-CD has been a professional organizer since 1974 ? and a mentor coach and an ADD coach since 1997. She has earned the top certifications in the coaching (ICF Master Certified Coach), ADD coaching (Senior Certified ADHD Coach) and organizing (CPO, CPO-CD) fields. She is a Master Trainer through the ICD and serves that organization as a Level IV Mentor Coach and Lab Facilitator. She is a frequent presenter at conferences in her fields.
Denslow has been honored with the President's and Founders' Awards from the National Association of Professional Organizers, and, in 2012, with ICD's Judith Kolberg Award.
She is the author of two publications: The Processing Modalities Guide: For Organizers, Coaches (and Those Who Want to Live with Ease and Effectiveness and Less Frustration) and Recognizing & Respecting the Line: Distinguishing Organizing, Coaching & Psychotherapy. Both are only available from her web site, www.OrganizerCoach.com.
Through Denslow's Coach Approach for Organizers? telecourses, professional organizers are trained to use coaching skills in their work with clients. Through the Institute for Applied Coaching?, she credentials Certified Organizer Coaches
|Source - metropolitanorganizing.com||Read Full Interview|