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When I hear people who say it's too late
--- it's fear. All those who stepped out and
are doing the things they like ... they love
By Jeanette Awai
WOMEN EMPOWERING OTHER WOMEN --- a phrase that gets tossed around, from the
latest pop starlet's new song to the latest pink-themed marketing craze taking over store
shelves. But what does women's empowerment actually look like, and where would you find
that service? Internationally certified financial and life coach, Jennifer Gibbons-Joseph, lives
to help women and knows how to harness their power from the inside out.
She wears confidence like a second skin, a side effect of her father's early influence. "My fa-
ther raised us as five queens and we always felt very positive." Gibbons-Joseph managed a
thirty-year career as a successful Certified Financial Planner, Trainer and Senior Sales Man-
ager, while being a single mother to two also successful, strong black women, Nneka and
Zahra. Her story could have ended here with a pat on the back and a quiet retirement, but
that's not the stuff queens are made of.
"I was always a good listener. I didn't embrace it from day one; it came about when I became
a manager, because you have to do your own recruiting. Many times the feedback from fe-
males was great, because I don't judge. I just like warmth; I like the people. Moving through in-
surance, even women who were not within my team would come to me to share and ask for
advice. I never planned to remain right through in the industry; I always wanted to move on."
At 59, Gibbons-Joseph married her passion for women's advancement and her managerial
background to become a Professional Coach (CPC) and an Energy Leadership Index Master
Practitioner (ELI-MP), from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).
"When I talk to my clients about changing their lives, and they say, 'It's too late for me,' let me
tell you: I love people who say this because I use myself as an example. I plan my life within
an age period -- this stage was before I reached 60. I knew I wanted to do my own work and
have freedom, and I'm a single parent, so I figured I'd pay for my children's school first and I
didn't want to feel pressured. I discussed it with my family, because the best people to sup-
port you are the loved ones around you. I listened to what people complimented me on all the
time. I started paying attention to what people told me, and it was always, 'You're so good
with people.' I didn't want anything to do with insurance sales, and in researching, coaching
came up. One of my foreign friends said, 'You'd be perfect for this.'"
She adds, "The school I went to was highly recommended, so when I spoke to my children
they said, 'Go brave!'. I did my studies at 59.... Talk about excited! I loved it! When I hear people
who say it's too late --- it's fear. All those who stepped out and are doing the things they like ...
they love it. If you do what you like, it's not work again -- the money will come."
Thus, in 2012, the CONEC series of women's empowerment workshops was born. Gibbons-
Joseph offers both one-on-one and group sessions geared towards women 25 and up. Group
workshops include the following categories: financial empowerment, transitional retirement,
personal and professional development, and energy leadership --- helping people erase all the
negatives and bring up the positives, and sales efficiency. Her most popular sessions are her
intimate "Coaching and Tea Breaks," where on Fridays or Saturdays a small group of 4--5
women get to chat and gain real insight about how to break through and get closer to
achieving their goals in an informal environment.
The next task at hand for Gibbons-Joseph is to continue to help women in male-dominated
fields be their best selves. Coming off the heels of a successful partnership between CONEC
coaching services and the women's police service 60th anniversary, Conec will be launching
"The Whole You", an online holistic coaching program for women of the Caribbean Diaspora,
in November. The program consists of ten 1-hour sessions, with the client having access to
four coaches in different specialty areas: Personal & Professional Development & Money
Management; Health & Wellness; Image & Deportment; and Relationship & Family.
"I ask my clients, chart how you see yourself. Dream. I am not judging. What image would
make you happy? And whatever your image is, we discuss that. Sometimes at the end, they
decide they don't need it, and then they start to build their authentic self. What will make you
feel better? It's not a one-time thing; it's an exercise. Just listening to someone who gives you
that support to be you makes a difference."
Here's to bringing out the queen in all of us.
For more information on Jennifer Gibbons-Joseph's services, please check her website:
coneccoaching.com or book an appointment at her office, located at #8 Austin St.,
St. Augustine, by calling 271-5020 or 766-2148.
Photo by Zahra Gibbons of ZAH videography and photography
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