Imagine it’s 1996 and you are one of 20-25 people crowded into the living room of Ken Foster’s condo in Pacific Beach, CA. It was the first meeting ever of coaches coming together in San Diego. Everyone was eager to share some of the challenges in the new field of coaching and the opportunity to form relationships – which for many have lasted for decades since then. By the end of the meeting SDCPA was born and became a chapter of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This was the early days of the coaching profession and ICF itself was in its infancy. They knew that having local chapters was critical to the profession’s growth.
As Ken Foster explains, “In the beginning, we came together to explore the boundaries of life coaching and how we could impact the communities we were working in. At our meeting, we would go around the room, introduce ourselves, find out what other coaches were working on, discuss our challenges, give each other feedback, and discuss ideas on how to better coach our clients.”
“Our groups were robust and all of us were filled with passion for coaching and changing lives,” he continues. “It became apparent to us that within the Life coaching model was a force that fostered change quickly. All we needed to do what get out of the way or our opinions, judgments, and limiting beliefs and ask insightful questions to help our clients get answers to their greatest challenges. Then came the accountability piece when we incorporated this, and tracked the results the model became one that we could use for both personal and professional growth. I don’t think many of us knew it at the time, but we were the pioneers of a new industry. An industry that was born out of the passion of creating something better for all.”
Ken handed over the presidency to Peter Redding after that one year. SDPCA had several presidents since then as you can see in the chronological list below.
After Ken Foster the meetings were moved to a room in the Shopping Center at La Jolla Village Square. Linnea J. Blair, who served on the board between the years 2000-2005, shared with us that there were just a few sitting in a circle and talking during the first meetings. Over the next few years, the group grew to 100 members. Some people who were very involved early on included Sandra Schrift, Billie Frances, Kathy Fleming, and Laura Rubenstein. Then in 2009 and 2010, the Non-Profit Coaching initiative got started where a number of coaches volunteered to do pro-bono coaching for Non-Profit executive directors.
Sheryl Roush who served on the Board in 2005 shared with us that she started the printed membership directory, with advertising that paid for the entire publication. She was also the creator of the original Coronado Bridge painting used for the cover of the directory for a couple of years, and the first SDPCA logo. The “Coach Finder” function that still works really well for our coaches today was initiated for the website, at an additional nominal fee at the time.
There were some challenges at times that SDPCA faced as any other organization does, like keeping the membership steady, attracting more coaches to the organization and embracing both life coaches and executive coaches. At some point SDPCA had to stop being an ICF chapter although it continued to offer CEU units for certified coaches. ICF had a requirement for all members to be ICF members as well. Many coaches in San Diego were not ICF members and some members were not coaches but provided services to coaches. So to be inclusive of the whole community, SDPCA decided to form a 501 C nonprofit organization that embraced both ICF coaches and others.
Over the years SDPCA also changed locations based on members’ preferences. It was once at the Kearny Mesa Marriott, then moved to Sheraton on Aero Drive until May 2015. Due to a 50% increase in rent, SDPCA moved to Corporate Alliance in La Jolla from June 2015 until April 2016. It moved to its most recent location at University of San Diego after our Board member, Jack Farman, made a great agreement with the Coaching and Leadership program in USD to use a beautiful room they have on campus.
During the years of 2013 and 2014, under Dr. Elizabeth Fried’s presidency, all processes and procedures for running meetings were redefined with the help of another Board member, Brian Conlon. The weekend retreat for the Board to do strategy building started during those years. As part of the bonding process, a board holiday party was held at the President’s residence for the incoming and outgoing Board members.
An evaluation form to objectively evaluate potential speakers and ensure the process was fair was also created during these years. There were more banner ads and showcase videos to generate revenue and help members gain further exposure. The Board worked with the Center for Credentialing in Education and ICF to arrange programs to be approved for credits. SDPCA also introduced a student membership for a lower price.
During 2015, under Susan Curtin’s leadership, the Member-at-Large for Membership Board position was added. The Sponsorship/Advertising process and forms were updated. An associate member category was introduced for those who did not want to take advantage of the Coach Finder. SDPCA recognized and provided a gift card to a member who invited a guest who converted to a member at our monthly meetings. The redesign of the website and our new logo was created to have an updated look and feel for marketing purposes.
One of the favorite meetings that year was our Non-Profit panel presentation targeting Non-Profits in San Diego County where 5 Non-Profits utilized SDPCA Pro-bono coaching services. In addition, a Member Orientation to first time guests and new members was offered after program meetings. SDPCA Memberships Benefits brochure and bookmarks were updated. SDPCA also participated in the San Diego Collaboration along with SHRM, UCSD Extension ATD and others to collaborate more with other local professional associations on shared events.
Also, the collaboration with the Association of Corporate Executive Coaching (ACEC) enabled SDPCA to be promoted on their website and provided a discount to our membership. SDPCA also added a member page to showcase the books that members have written.
The first HR panel presentation with 4 employers present (3 being global companies) was one of the most well attended meetings of the whole year. Cooperation with Alliant University made it possible for their students to attend SDPCA meetings to learn more about the coaching profession.
In 2016, under Tamara Furman’s presidency, SDPCA has launched its new website, new logo, and updated newsletter with a fresh and clean look. With the launch of the new website, SDPCA converted from .com to .org to better represent its non-profit status. During the February meeting, it became clear our coaching community was eager to have more speakers who can facilitate content that enhances their core coaching skills. A focus on attracting speakers who can do this is underway.
SDPCA has served as a great community for many coaches. Members say they come and stay with us because of:
- Continuing education that has contributed to the coach they are today, kept them current to meet client needs, and contributed to their ongoing success
- Identifying other colleagues who worked within the board that gave insight to different work styles and capabilities, in some cases creating partnerships for business growth
- Extraordinary friends and colleagues who help to make this sometimes isolated profession more of a community
SDPCA consistently looked at what worked, what didn’t, and where it could be improved. By doing so and sharing our win’s, breakthroughs, failures, and successes with each other, the industry grew and so did our organization. What has driven Ken Foster and all the other presidents was: “The drive to make this world a better place for all” says Ken. “I sense this is what we are all about today also.“
SDPCA has reached its 20th year with help of amazing coaches who were dedicated members in all these years. It continues to be a great platform for all type of coaches in Southern California to network, build lasting relationships, learn from experts, plus gain ICF CEUs and BCC units for continued education. SPDCA members always love to see familiar and new faces in meetings.
We hope this organization will celebrate its 50th and 100th anniversaries, becoming even more successful in contributing to the local community.
2017 Judy Sigward (current)
2016 Tamara Furman
2015 Susan Curtin
2014 Elizabeth Fried
2013 Elizabeth Fried
2012 Beverly Bergman
2011 Denis Sweeney
2010 Denis Sweeney
2009 Michael Mark
2008 Debbie Lousberg
2007 Billie Frances
2006 Bryce Whiting
2005 Shauna MacKay and Sheryl Roush
2004 Julie Roy
2003 Christopher McAuliffe
2002 unknown at the time this article was written
2001 Clive Harrison
2000 Clive Harrison
2000 Michelle La Prise and Linnea Blair were “co-chairs
1996-99 Peter Redding
1996 Ken Foster
This story is put together by VP of Marketing of SDPCA Brooke Erol in 2016 after several email and phone conversations with past presidents and Board members. If you have any further stories or facts about SDPCA we will always love to hear about them.
We want to extend a special thank you to Karen Dietz, owner of Just Story It (Bestselling business storytelling author, speaker, trainer, coach) who helped us make our history into a beautiful story.