Thursday, March 28, 2013

How the heck did that happen?

Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 by International Coach Federation

Do you ever look back to significant life events and ask yourself, “How the heck did that happen?” There are always a whole string of events, coincidences and decisions that got you to that moment in time where you experienced the big event. When you look back you say, “Wow, if I didn’t do that then this wouldn’t have happened and this wouldn’t be...” It is sort of like the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, where George Bailey gets to look back and see what life would be like if he didn’t live it.

8,000 attendees eating lunch. Photo by Denise Maccaferri.
Well, I am having that sort of experience with the Massachusetts Conference for Women. This happens to be the biggest women’s conference in the USA as 8,000 women attended the phenomenal December 2012 event. And The International Coach Federation of New England was there in all it’s glory with a spectacular vendor booth and 40 fabulous coaches who coached hundreds of women at the conference. The energy was palpable and the outcome was beyond our expectations. It was a day not only for conferees but also for the coaches. They enjoyed a world class conference with top speakers and inspiration, a wonderful lunch with 8,000 of their BFFs and the camaraderie of their peers.

This all started with a serendipitous last minute invitation from one of my clients who asked me to attend the conference with her as her guest. I had never been, spontaneously decided to accept the invite and was then wowed by the experience. As I walked the halls, I kept asking...Where are the coaches? Here we have all the enthusiasm, inspiration and dreams being ignited and energy generated by the conference and Where are the coaches?
I decided to ask the Conference that question. I sent an email that said,
After all this inspiration,
I still have to go back to reality...
How do I take the next steps?
How do we harness the energy and take it forward?”
"The International Coach Federation of New England is ready to help answer that question. Envision 50 coaches working with hundreds of women in the conference afternoon? That would make a positive difference in many lives... That would be one physical step closer to transforming lives. That is what we coaches do best.”

The director of the conference called me the next day and we got to work taking this seed to fruition. We also including the ICFNE committee that spontaneously generated and worked tirelessly together to create all of this. The conference is also held in Texas and Pennsylvania and the ICF in those states were invited by the Conference to participate. One small step that resulted from just noticing an opportunity, has positively impacted thousands of people. It was enthusiasm and curiosity that fueled this adventure. And we are busy working on some exciting plans for conference 2013...
In the words of George Bailey, “Well whaddya know about that!!!”
Anne Barry Jolles, MBA, PCC, serves as  Chairperson for Partnership of Massachusetts Conference for Women and the International Coach Federation of New England. Learn more at Anne can be reached via email at

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