|Jennifer Gibbons- Joseph Helping people realise their dreams |
Sunday, April 9 2017
Jennifer Gibbons-Joseph is a life empowerment and _ nancial coach, energy leadership practitioner, and inspirational speaker. She is also the CEO of Conec Professional Life Coaching Services (coneccoaching.com), a company that partners with other coaches with unique skills to add value to corporate workshops as well as individual and couples coaching.
Jennifer says the Conec brand is unique because of its holistic and embracing approach when dealing with clients while specialising in the critical aspects of their lives.
“As a life coach, I offer specialised services in the areas I have the skills, experience, and training in,” she says of her personal accolades, highlighting that her areas of expertise are _ nancial planning/money management, personal and professional development, retirement or transition, sales and client relationship, energy leadership, and women’s empowerment.
Prior to becoming a certi_ ed life coach, Jennifer was a senior sales manager at a leading insurance company. It was in this post, while advising clients on _ nancial matters, that she found herself also helping plan other aspects of their families’ lives. It was her years of experience in management, training, and supervising agents that helped her gain a greater appreciation for the struggles many citizens go through and the negative effects poor money management can have on qualities of life.
“I decided then to move into a different career where I can use a more holistic approach, utilising my experience and skills to focus on helping people and families realise their dreams,” she says of her shift from working behind a desk to a more hands-on career. Five years ago, she took early retirement from the insurance industry and pursued an international life coaching programme to become certi_ ed professionally. She is also a certi_ ed _ nancial planner and has academic accolades in Mass Media & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management, all of which helps her interface with her clients. She has also attended several developmental courses, seminars, and conventions both locally and internationally over the years and says she is constantly reading, listening, or writing motivational materials to keep up with current practices.
And while she has many academic credentials, Jennifer does not believe that academia and formal training are the only paths to her clients’ successes. “The role of a life coach is to help the client move from where they are in life to where they want to go,” she clari_ es. “It’s really all about the client’s agenda.” She points out that academic education and training may not be necessary for someone to achieve a particular goal or pursuit, as these can be achieved through natural talents or skills, faith in themselves, a clear and passionate vision, and determination to succeed.
One year ago after she gave up her office space and constructed a home office, Jennifer completed work on The Whole You Oasis, a breathtaking, intimate, and welcoming outdoor space at her home. The oasis is surrounded by plants, trees, wildlife, and water; elements that she says create a relaxing atmosphere for people to escape life’s rigors, get new insights, rejuvenate, re-strategise, and even meet with friends for celebratory gatherings.
“As a life coach, I wanted clients to be coached in a relaxing and empowering atmosphere surrounded by nature, as against an office space surrounded by concrete,” she says of her reasoning for creating The Whole You Oasis.
She adds that research has shown that close proximity to nature contributes to one’s wellbeing; it may reduce feelings of anger, fear, and stress and is thus associated with positive mood and vitality. “At The Whole You Oasis, we do not only offer coaching services but inspirational and informative forums, fun events, and a space that clients can use for celebrations.” One such event took place last Wednesday. Ignite the Spark in You was an inspirational brunch for women aged 60 onward. “I am very passionate about women’s issues and as a result, from inception Conec has been having women empowerment coaching programmes and events for the advancement of women at different stages in life,” Jennifer explains. Ignite the Spark in You was a celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD,) which is commemorated on March 8 annually. The name of the event was inspired by this year’s IWD theme, Be Bold for Change.
“Many women in this age group, especially those who are fully retired, tend to remain at home without being actively involved socially. I felt this is a great opportunity for them to come
out, network, make new friends, inspire each other, and celebrate their life stage and the contribution they have made to the progress of women in society,” Jennifer says of the inspirational brunch. She hopes outlets like this will help foster sisterhood at all ages, especially among women whose collective life experiences are worthy of noting and sharing.
Jennifer also expresses her concern for the rise in violent crimes and oppressions against women in TT. She is “disturbed” by some of the comments made by people in responsible positions as to the reasons why women continue to fall victim. To her, these comments make it clear that there is much misunderstanding around the real plight of women on our shores. She highlights that sexual harassment is prevalent more than ever in the workplace, even despite policies put in place.
“Women who have been victims tell stories of reports being made to management who in most cases are men and nothing is done. There is a feeling among women that in each workplace there is a ‘boys’ club’ that supports each other to the detriment of women,” she says of workplace cultures that do not protect women sufficiently. She says she understands the issues at hand having worked in a male dominated industry for years, as well as the experience of being one of the few women who rose to the ranks of senior management. She says to overcome these injustices women face, women have to continue networking, joining forces, sharing information, learning self-defense and being each other’s keepers, and not become despondent or jaded in the face of the sometimes-fatal acts perpetrated against them.
Most of her individual clients are women between the ages of 35 and 50, and for these women the most critical issues when seeking Jennifer’s services are balancing their finances to attain their personal or family goals. She also leads workshops on retirement planning for employees who are “seldom financially or mentally prepared for retirement”. She coaches couples, and again she says the issues faced are mainly financial. “Poor money management habits lead to the inability of couples to maintain a satisfactory lifestyle, therefore creating conflict at home,” she says of trends she notes through her clientele.
She also runs a workshop called Moving into Wealth for young couples that focusses on money management. “Many young people do not discuss their financial situation and goals in detail during their courtship. (In response), Conec has designed a special financial coaching programme to help young couples share their financial status and goals without fear or shame and give guidance and support so they can jointly create a workable plan to achieve their financial and life goals and live a happy life,” she says of the programme.
In her words, life coaching is an engaging and confidential process in which the coach and client are partners, sharing non-judgmental relationships to help reach breakthroughs and take necessary actions to live the life of their dreams.
She highlights that a coach isn’t the same as therapist or psychologist, but rather works hand-in-hand with clients to reach goals that are agreed upon. “Many people struggle with making decisions that would affect their future due to lack of skills, experience, knowledge, or caring support. They may feel stuck due to fear, shame status, or just not having someone who they can confide in or trust,” she says of the void that life coaches may fill in people’s lives.
Through her work, she hopes to spread positive messages of self-affirmation and confidence in persons from all walks of life and she is especially hopeful that she will continue to empower women to be unified against their hardships. She says the most important thing in life is to love yourself and love what you do.
“As a life coach, I am committed to helping people to find themselves, to overcome their challenges, and be empowered to move forward with their life plan and be happy living their dreams.”