Becoming Me: My journey to Coaching – My Story
Hi, I am Vimari and at 42 years old I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. 🙂
I help professionals overcome dissatisfaction & skepticism, believe in their purpose and amplify their unique gifts so that they can get their groove back, become high performers and finally do work that moves them.
I took a few detours before arriving at where I am today. When I was 15-year old I thought I wanted to be an attorney. My parents thought I was on the right track as I definitely could argue a good case and did a great job of representing myself as a teenager. But that changed by the time that I was getting ready to graduate from high school and at that time I wanted to be a Psychologist.
It turns out that my journey took a different turn at 17. Life happened and as an independent high-school graduate, I moved out of my father’s house and started living on my own. My parents had not saved for my college and therefore I had to continue working to support myself. Thanks to my dad I had started working part-time at the hotel where he was a General Manager and once I graduated high-school I was able to go fulltime. I decided to take a break from school in order to support myself and save some money but my career ended up taking off and I never went back. At 18 and after going fulltime at the hotel in Long Island, I realized that I needed to make more money and decided to look for a job in Manhattan. I put my own resume together, went into the yellow pages and wrote down the names and fax numbers of the Waldorf Astoria and the Essex House. I had been working at a limited service hotel and at this time I was very clear about wanting to work at a luxury hotel and I thought I start with those two. I decided to fax my resume and the first call I received was from the Essex House. I was super excited and I did not say a word to my father as I did not want him to make any calls on my behalf. I wanted to get my next job all on my own.
I went shopping and purchased my first two-piece suit. It was a black skirted suit and I wore a white collared shirt underneath with black pumps and kept my jewelry to a minimum. I wanted to look mature and older, and I think I accomplished it. I took a printed copy of my resume with me to my interview and felt prepared. I got to the hotel and went into the basement to where HR was located. I met the hiring coordinator who led me to complete a written assessment – at the time I called it a test. I didn’t expect to have to complete an assessment and I was extremely nervous. I hated taking tests and felt intimidated by the process. I completed it and about two weeks later I received a letter that I believe I still have somewhere that said that they decided not to move forward with hiring me. I was devastated that I didn’t even get to meet with a manager. I was certain that they would have hired me if they would have met me in person and if I didn’t have to take that damn test.
I decided to go back into the yellow pages and write down the fax numbers for a few other luxury properties. I faxed my resume and received a call from the Surrey Hotel. I went in for the interview at the corporate office and they sent me the same day to the hotel to meet with the Front Desk Manager. I met with Helene and she hired me on the spot. I was super excited and felt like a grown up. I got this new job all on my own and I am now working in NYC.
I gave my dad my two weeks notice and he was very proud. I started working at the Surrey Hotel as a Front Desk Agent and was promoted to Supervisor in less than six months. My career in Hospitality took off and I grew into different leadership positions leading teams of up to 25. I spent a total of 22 years in Hospitality, ten in operations and twelve in Sales & Marketing.
I remember getting the itch to leave the industry every three years. I didn’t feel fulfilled or challenged. So every three years I was seeking a new promotion. I was a high performer but I didn’t know how or why. It all came so naturally to me and I didn’t know what else I could do or what other industry I could go to. I didn’t want to go back to college to get a degree because I thought it would take too long. I took the Real Estate course in NY as an option when I was 19 and because my dad had gone into that industry but I had no interest and let it go.
In 2008, I remember taking the course in Florida thinking that perhaps I would find it interesting as I was older but again I didn’t feel the passion for it so I started to do some soul searching and in 2010 I wrote a brief summary of what I could do. It turns out that I wrote the following:
Electrify with Vimari
“I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…..”
– Career Coaching
– Discover your natural art (what are you good at?)
– Get a new business look
– Business etiquette
– Communication in 2010: Persuasive language to get results. (I was in sales at this time.)
Together let’s discover your plan B.
I also wrote down an intro, an about and my fee at $50 per hour. I put the summary away and forgot about it. I find this hilarious now because life comes full circle and I found those two pieces of paper in a drawer somewhere last year when I was in the process of developing my “Productively Yourself: Progress, Passion and Purpose” workshop. I found them and it confirmed to me that I was on the right track.
If it wasn’t for my last position as Director of Sales & Marketing in 2011, I would not be where I am today. I accepted a position at a hotel that I was not crazy about but it was a lot closer to home, and they offered me a compensation package that I could not refuse. Immediately after starting there I knew the culture was not a fit. I was devastated as I had left a wonderful position where I was highly respected, making good money, with an amazing team, all because I was bored and wanted to work closer to home. I now found myself for the first time in my 21 year career at a job that where I was completely unhappy working for a leader that I could not look up to or respect. Day one I knew that I should have left but I didn’t want to quit and I was afraid of how that would look on my resume. So I decided to stay one year, do the best I could and then leave. Today, I feel grateful for this experience. That position and that hotel brought out the entrepreneur in me. I did not have many resources, therefore, became very resourceful, and I learned systems I probably would not have learned anywhere else and some of the projects I took on would typically not fall under a DOSM position so for that I am grateful.
I had planned to leave Nov 2012 as it would have made a year and I thought that would look good on my resume but things didn’t work as I expected, and sometime in October my boss blindsided me calling me into his office for a write up because he was not satisfied with the results from my teams. It turns out his excel numbers were not correct and by this time I was mentally and physically exhausted. From that moment on, we did not see eye to eye. A few weeks later I was called into HR and I was offered a severance package. Life could not have been so perfect. Surprisingly I was super excited. I had the plan to quit in November and take December off without pay and now I had a generous severance that would allow me to enjoy my time off.
I took the rest of November and December off to de-stress, and get my groove back yet a little concerned because for the first time in my life I did not have a job and I had no idea what I wanted to do next. There wasn’t another hotel in the area that I was excited about and after all, I knew I had outgrown the industry. About a week into my time off, I was feeling terrible filled with doubt and fear because it dawned on me that I did not have a job, I was in the middle of a divorce (that’s another story) and I had no plans when suddenly my phone rang. I moved the phone to look at who was calling but I hit the green button by accident and had to answer it. To make the already long story short, my first client was on the other line. Yes, that’s right – my first corporate meeting. The woman that called me was referred to me by a client I had worked with almost 10 years prior. She was responsible for putting together an annual sales conference and had no idea what to do. Her colleague who I had worked with at one of my hotels gave her my cell number and told her that if she called me she would be in the right hands. I told her I was no longer working in hotels but that I was independent, and that if she liked she could hire me as her meeting planner. She did. and just like that, I had my first client.
I created Be Productive Meetings & Events, LLC Jan of 2013 and I hit the phones to get more clients. I got my CMM Certificate (Certified Meetings Manager – basically the Masters in Meeting Planning) and I made the decision to do whatever it takes not to ever step into a hotel as a fulltime employee again. A few past clients gave me the opportunity to work with them, I also worked a few Task Force jobs for some of my favorite hotel leaders and I made it work. But suddenly I was feeling that feeling that I would get every 3 years except it was only a year into my independence as an entrepreneur.
I went back into doing some soul searching and I realized I was missing my teams. I was missing the leadership and coaching component of my job. I decided to go to Tony Robbin’s Unleash the Power Within and I hired a coach shortly after and my coach is who encouraged me to get my coaching certification. With his guidance, I did the schooling and became a Strategic Intervention & Leadership Coach in late 2014. I had no idea what I was going to do with it and continued working as a Meeting Planner. Throughout the time I was going to the classes and coaching I realized I was finally feeling fulfilled. I continued coaching friends and referrals from friends in order to get more experience and in 2017 I made the conscious decision that I would start advertising myself and that’s when Be Productive Coaching was born. I ordered business cards and got a website still not sure of what my niche would be. Finally, in 2018 I made the decision to no longer solicit for corporate meetings and that my focus would be on growing my coaching practice. Today, I continue working with a few of my repeat clients handling their meetings and the rest of my time is focused on my coaching.
I share my story with you because I want you to know that things do not happen overnight and that I can certainly relate. I know what it is to be in an environment where it’s all about the ROI. I know what is like to fear the transition from doing work that supported you for so long, to doing work following your purpose and your passion.
I know what it is to not see a way out. My mind was completely closed from the possibilities. Then something unexpected happened and a door was opened for me to start living my purpose, and here I am six (6) years later realizing that door was opened all along.
I never imagined that I would feel the way I do today. I am the proof that it’s possible. I wish I had that wake-up call 10 years ago, and because I didn’t…..I want to wake YOU up to the possibilities.
Do work that moves you. Overcome skepticism. Believe in your purpose and amplify your gifts.
Other people do meaningful work……..YOU can too!
About the author: Vimari Roman is a Career & Leadership Coach who helps individuals achieve their peak potential and live a fulfilled life by utilizing their natural gifts and talents (also known as strengths).
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