I›m really honored to share this Coffee Talk today with Denise Nickerson, founder of the wonderful Facebook group Women Rock Switzerland as well as the owner of Salt Consulting & Communications.
Denise is a pure inspiration to me. Her energy is so wonderful and her work is so important for everyone, especially us women out there.
Now treat yourself to your tea or coffee and dive into a new Coffee Talk with me. Learn more about this power woman, her work and how she manages to balance family, wellness, work, friends and time for herself.
DW: Dear Denise, I’m really honored already to be sitting here with you. You inspire me so much and I’m excited to share more of you on my website for my readers.Would you like to introduce yourself in more detail to readers so they have an idea of who you are and what you do?
Denise: Sure. My name is Denise Nickerson, I am a coach, vocational psychologist, community leader, writer, and mother. I also do a lot of different projects. I have a lot of different passions in my work as a coach. I think that the most important thing that that I’m able to share with your readers and our clients is the art and science of self coaching. I teach people so they can learn how to coach themselves.
DW: It’s incredible what you do. I assume it’s not just me, how do you manage to juggle all that?
Denise: I think it takes a long time to find the right balance for yourself and I believe that balance cannot be defined externally. I am convinced that balance is about feeling a lot of joy in your life. When I do something that I love, even though I spend a lot of time on it, it nourishes me and gives me energy.
We women often feel this pressure to want to be perfect, which leads us to want to give the maximum in everything we do. I see it more like the things that give us less joy should get less energy than those things that give us joy and energy. For me, house cleaning usually goes to the bottom of my to do list when I have a lot to do. It is not one of the tasks I enjoy doing the most. Maybe to some outsiders this may seem like my life is not in balance. For me, listening to ourselves, knowing our preferences, and do things the way that is right for us and aligns well with our values, is the most important thing.
DW: I absolutely agree with you and honestly, I handle it exactly the same way you do.
Would you like to share how it all started? You are and are doing so many wonderful and different things today. I assume that everything had a beginning. How did you get on your path? How did you found your company and the coaching business you successfully run today?
Denise: I love learning and I have a passion for education and travel. I have a Master’s Degree in Education and I have taught in a French university. When I first started my own business, I used my experience as an expert in international education and formed an educational consultancy. I would travel around the world giving educational talks and this is how I got pushed into coaching. I sometimes gave 3 to 4 talks in a row at a company, often with 300 – 400 hundred people in the room and I was never able to go to the ladies room or take a break because men and women would line up to ask their private questions or share their educational stories, and pain. They were often too afraid to take the microphone during the talk in their place of work but delighted to wait to speak with me in the wings in between sessions. I noticed that while their mouth was asking an expert an education related question, their eyes were asking personal questions related to their self-worth and motivation like: Am I good enough? How do I motivate myself? When can I dream, plan, and build a better life?
So I was actually coaching all the time though I was reluctant to use the title as I am also a vocational psychologist. When I realized the freedom that coaching afforded me in my practice, I got trained together with my business partner, Michelle Guiliano who had asked me if I would like to do the coaching certification with her, which I did. We ended up being study buddies and starting our business Salt Consulting & Communications. We had different and complimentary backgrounds and I always found it remarkable that we never had to invest in Marketing as our business was successfully built by word of mouth. People found us through our network and expertise, some coming for support years after first meeting.
DW: What I find so fascinating and also love about your story of how you found your way to your business is that you were always in flow. You did surrender to the flow of life, to the energy of the universe and I love this so much. You acted with non resistence and this I think is something many of us can learn.
Since I’m in your Facebook group, which already has over 11,000 members, I’m naturally wondering how it all started? Could you tell us what the Facebook group stands for, who it is for and who can or should become a member?
Denise: Sure! If you’re not from Switzerland or based here, Women Rock Switzerland is a community of women representing over 80 nationalities and sharing their work, projects, passions, questions, service offers, expertise, allyship, and friendship together. We built the community to create a safe space for women in Switzerland to test and try their ideas, to gain support and encouragement and to feel connected and less alone in their lives and in their work. We all need a kind and friendly place on the internet to practice raising our visibility, our professional communications, and where promoting one another is encouraged. So, there are many women who are entrepreneurs in the group and we teach them relational communications skills through monthly challenges and invitational marketing – a feminist approach that is appropriate for all genders to learn and try. The reasons for female entrepreneurship in Switzerland are not always pretty. Some women are pushed out of their jobs with the first signs of pregnancy others are unable to balance work and children because the system here doesn’t provide enough support for women and children. So, there are some women who become entrepreneurs because they have to reinvent themselves as a response to patriarchial systems and not only because it was their dream, passion, or life’s mission to create a product or service.
The bigger picture of Women Rock Switzerland is actually for women to feel less alone, to feel community, connection to one another, and connection to their own self-worth. Women can find their friends, role models, mentors, partners, suppliers and we’ve even run reverse mentoring programs in the group to elevate the skills of younger generations. Helping women be more visible so they can make their contribution to the world and shine their own light is inspirational for all members. I want women to feel safe and be able to make their own choices. So, we promote consciousness leadership and conscious spending through hashtags like #WRS1Million which was born when we reached 10,000 members and did the math that if each member spent CHF 100 that year, month or day with women’s headed businesses and projects, we’d be driving women’s economic empowerment in a very literal sense, putting money into the hands of women. We also have a movement promoting active listening called #HerCoffee and it encourages us all to just sit and actively listen to a woman for 10 whole minutes without interruption. This act alone can change the world.
DW: I think it’s so wonderful that you started this Facebook group and I highly recommend everyone to become a member. Would you like to share one more tip that you see as valuable to you that might help some readers as well?
Denise: Take care of your wellness. When your wellness is off, your intuition is off, your decision-making is off and your relationships can suffer. Wellness is your base and caring for your own personal wellness comes from self-confidence, self-compassion, and self-love. If we extend this philosophy out to our work, we can see that caring for our ability to do meaningful work is an act of self-love. If we can use our nurturing energy, when men too tap into their feminine energy and allow space for more nurturing, not only does work improve but our ability to imagine systemic change, solutions for the SDG’s the global Sustainable Development Goals, for our planet all improve. Only when we nurture ourselves, our own inner light and fire, can we have a sustainable impact on the world.
DW: I honestly believe that all of us need a coach and talking to you today just shows me that even more. What types of coaching do you offer at Salt Consulting? If someone is afraid to take the first step and needs support, how can they find you guys?
Denise: We have different offerings. On the one hand, we have a digital program called The Integrity System which is for everyone and available at: www.theintegritysystem.com. We have just launched our 12-week group coaching compliment to The Integrity System called Integrity Works where we meet twice weekly and provide many channels for direct and anonymous coaching on individual issues within the group. For those who would like to try a FREE offer, there are several tools on our website that are both fun to play and that ignite a self-coaching process that can provide real clarity for curious and talented professionals interested in exploring how and where coaching might help. They can check out www.salt.consulting and click «Get Started.» For those who would like to have an individual coaching session, we take a limited number of clients each year and we encourage you to get in touch with us to see if we’re the right team for you. Finally, it is possible to take our «It’s Your Life Online Questionnaire» and qualify for a free coaching call with Michelle Guiliano, my business partner. We use these online questionnaires because the exercise of writing is a great way to get in contact with yourself, answer a few questions for yourself, and receive your responses by e-mail. Reviewing your own answers is an act of self-mastery. It’s taking a step towards caring for and listening to you. Since success in coaching is largely about timing and whether someone is ready, we think that a form like this is a great way to take steps to gauge whether you’re ready, interested and willing to work on yourself. We like to think that our suite of offers accomodates many different kinds of people, personalities, and preferred working styles. I hope your readers get curious too and take advantage of some of the free offers available through our website.
DW: Dear Denise, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the interview and your time. For anyone who would like to know more about Denise, be sure to check out Salt Consulting’s website https://salt.consulting/. As Denise mentioned, there is a free form there that you can fill out and get in touch with Denise and her wonderful business partner Michelle.
If you would like to become a member of the Facebook group Women Rock Switzerland, here is the link for you: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1744868815554415.
If you have any questions for Denise, please feel free to contact me or Denise directly through her website: www.salt.consulting