About Abby

About Abby

I am a certified Integral Master Coach™ with formal qualifications in executive coaching, business, psychology, occupational therapy and yoga. I have over 18 years of professional and personal development experience in Coaching and Leadership. I have worked with a range of executives from more than 20 nations. Coaching across cultures, continents and time zones has enabled me to understand that executive leaders often face common and complex challenges. I value the opportunity to help each client surface and address personal and workplace challenges that are wholly unique to them.

Integrity infuses all aspects of my work and I have found that this frees my clients to explore and advance their own health and well-being; unearth meaning in their own lives, whether inside or outside the workplace; and to share their new-found perspective with others.

I regularly work with people, who, like me, are juggling competing demands between work, self and home. As an executive coach on Johnson & Johnson International’s Executive Development Program for women, I had the privilege of coaching women from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I was also invited to work as an executive coach in the Women in Leadership program at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. For the past six years I have coached men and women executives across the African continent through a number of programs led by the South African investment firm Old Mutual.  Earlier this year, I joined a team of coaches for a women’s leadership program at the South African Revenue System and a Global Women’s Leadership Development Program for Chevron USA. Other clients include Prudential Investment Managers, Investec Private Bank, NinetyOne SA, Prodigy Finance, Coronation Fund Managers, African Infrastructure Investment Managers, GetSmarter/2U and the UCT Graduate School of Business. I have been a faculty member with the highly regarded Integral Coaching Canada since 2014.

I have also had the privilege of expanding my work to the nonprofit sector. My work in this area includes coaching unemployed mothers in Cape Town, South Africa to become financially and socially independent; pro bono coaching for nonprofit leaders working with refugees; and providing leadership development for Asia-based employees working for a US anti-poverty nonprofit organisation. In East Africa, I have enjoyed coaching leaders under 40 for an annual initiative funded by the Ford Foundation.

My strength is in coaching individuals in leadership roles who are at a point in their careers and personal lives where they are asking important questions of themselves and their environments around direction, purpose and contribution. In doing this work, we also explore what it means to lead, work and live in compassionate, more balanced ways. My clients are able to do this self-reflective, often brave work because they respect and trust me and cherish my ability to create the requisite confidential space where they feel safe enough to share and to grow.

I partner with clients to make progress on what matters most to them, inviting both their personal and professional selves into our relationship. We begin by taking time to honor who the client has been up until now, developing greater conscious recognition of past ways of being, and loosening the grip of long-standing patterns that no longer serve them. Co-creating these new approaches calls for a carefully curated blend of development, letting go, progression and stretch; a unique process I have developed over nearly 20 years of coaching. We progress in a way that always aims to leave each client feeling honored, challenged, and more at ease.

Speaking personally.....

I grew up on the west coast of Canada and have been living in Cape Town, South Africa since November 2001. I am married to Daniel and we have two young daughters. We travel frequently between South Africa and Canada and all feel a deep connection to both places. I’ve run my own business in the field of coaching and leadership development since early 2003. Prior to this I was an Occupational Therapist working in adult mental health in Vancouver, Canada and with kids with learning difficulties in London, England. I am passionate about all forms of sport that take in my natural environment. On good days I am found trail running, in a yoga class, swimming, mountain biking, hiking or walking the beach. I love to read, write, explore new places, discover new music, walk my dog, and pick up my kids from school. I am energized by nature, time alone and thoughtful conversations.

I was born to New Yorker parents who migrated north into Canada during the time of the Vietnam War and then west to British Columbia. I was raised in a gorgeous artsy bohemian town on Kootenay Lake on the west coast of Canada called Nelson – a place I feel very proud to say I come from. As a child I traveled a lot with my parents including a 3-month journey from Canada to Australia. This trip included a 2-week journey across the Pacific Ocean (with only one sighting of land) aboard the Brigantine Soren Larsen, a 140 foot sailing ship. I’ve lived on 4 continents and in 5 countries and have traveled and explored in many more.

As my teacher and colleague once said to me, I am a ‘textured woman’. I’m an earth-child at heart – I feel most at home in nature, at outdoor music festivals, and on my yoga mat; I love Tracey Chapman, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell (plus many others); I love yoga, hiking, swimming and trail running; I’m most often found wearing flip flops or running shoes and comfortable clothes; and I love rain storms, fog and the smell of the ocean. I have a strong and rich academic background and 14 years of experience in the field of coaching and leadership development. I’m a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I don’t like to miss out on anything, I try to do and be everything much to my exhaustion! I’m ambitious and sensitive and I have strong opinions. I’m fun and I’m naughty but only if you’ve got a good eye for naughtiness (!) and I enjoy being different. I have big dreams and aspirations and I work hard to make them happen. I feel fulfilled by deep and ‘real’ conversations. I’m an introvert – I’m energised by my alone time but I enjoy meeting people and being social. 

I dream of being a journalist and of one day writing down the stories of people’s lives. I feel honored that in my work I am able to listen to my clients share some of life’s most wonderful and most challenging moments. I consistently feel a calling to bring people together to share their stories so that they can know that they are not alone, that in fact they, no matter who they are, share many of the same fears, joys and dreams.

My greatest joys in life include time with my family when we’re away from or outside of the routines of work and school and being in nature.