The Back Story
Have you ever heard the quote from John Lennon that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?” That certainly applies to me. As an emotionally illiterate, 20 year old computer science student, from a small town in the Midwest, my big dream was to go to grad school and get a job as a programmer, making $60,000 a year.
Yet somehow, I found myself at Berkeley in 1994, designing third generation Internet software, just as the first generation of the Internet took off. So I took my research, started a company, raised $20 million – and burned out twice.
After our IPO and my second burnout, I had an epiphany. Leadership had been so stressful for me that I saw how, moving forward, I could create more success or more happiness. But not both.
I wasn’t willing to live with that choice. So I dipped my toe in the waters of the “self-help world” and became fascinated by the strengths and challenges of that industry. There were all these powerful relational, emotional and spiritual technologies, but with very little quality control. From the outside, it was difficult to separate the brilliant breakthroughs from the new age nuts.
So I became an “emotional and spiritual scientist,” immersing myself in the best programs I could find, and then filtering them through my science and business background. I mastered the best and threw away the rest. This worked so well that I began bringing these tools back to other leaders in the business world, as well as coaching many of the leaders in the self help field.
As I was doing so, I met an extraordinarily gifted coach and facilitator named Nicole. Today, we’re married, have two young daughters, and work together, helping business leaders master the tools that allow you to avoid burnout and create both success and happiness, so you can love your work and your life.
Brian Whetten, Ph.D.
By the age of 30, Brian had earned a Berkeley Ph.D. in computer science, raised $20 million for two Silicon Valley startups, become an internationally known academic and speaker, been part of a $400 million IPO, made millions of dollars – and burned out twice. Determined to find a more sustainable path, he left his career for six years of full time personal growth work, including a M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Brian is the author of the #1 International Amazon Best Seller, Yes Yes Hell No! The Little Book for Making Big Decisions, and he writes a regular column for the Huffington Post. With diverse appearances ranging from NBC to MIT, he is considered one of the foremost experts in the fields of authentic leadership and conscious business.
Dr. Whetten has worked with dozens of the world’s top companies, including Disney, Barclays Capital, Novo Nordisk, Invacare, KPN, and SAP. That said, what really excites Brian is his family. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Nicole, where they spend much of their time wondering how their two daughters can be so cute.
Nicole Whetten, M.A.
Nicole is an intuitive. She has an uncanny ability to understand people, often deeper than they understand themselves. She is able to directly sense people’s gifts, blocks, path and purpose.
She couples this with a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology and over twelve years of experience as a master coach and facilitator.
Nicole has a highly unusual capacity to coach and support extremely successful people. She has worked with and held space for a wide range of leaders, including studio heads, star athletes, senior executives and prominent entrepreneurs.
With the birth of her two daughters, Nicole’s services have become particularly treasured. In order to maintain space for her children, she only works with a handful of clients at a time, and her coaching slots are some of the most sought after services we offer.
In 1989, after having run his own financial services company, Steve devoted his professional life to the field of leadership development and has been at it ever since. He is a world renowned author and keynote speaker, and his bestselling book, The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership, was recently named one of the 100 best business books of all time.
Steve is the President of Extreme Leadership, Incorporated, where he travels the world, inspiring audiences while teaching them how to step into their next level of leadership.
We are honored to also count him as a key member of the Core Coaching team, where he provides keynote speeches and leadership consulting as part of our broader engagements with executive teams.
Ella McQuinn, MBA
After experiencing the challenges of leadership during her 10 years as a marketing executive, Ella developed a passion for executive coaching. She studied with a number of the masters in the field, before becoming an executive coach herself.
Today, with 21 years of coaching experience, Ella can hold space for executives at almost any level. She is a master in the areas of executive coaching, group facilitation and leadership training.
Ella is particularly passionate about the environment, and serves as a board member for three non-profit organizations.
An experienced entrepreneur and executive, Tomas founded a holistic wellness company and grew it to $30 million a year. He attributes this success to the way they combined strong systems with an even stronger culture. As he built this company, he invested heavily in his own leadership development, both for himself and in order to grow his capacity for coaching other members of his executive team.
After selling his company, rather than retire, he now provides executive coaching and business consulting to up and coming entrepreneurs, supporting them in developing both their leadership skills and operational excellence.
Kelly Talbot, M.Ed.
Kelly is a senior coach and licensed therapist, with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. In addition to helping people grow their leadership skills, Kelly is particularly passionate about helping overworked executives, entrepreneurs and professionals organize their time and their systems, so they can get more done with less, and have more space for themselves and their families.
Kelly is a master at providing patient, reliable, well organized support. She supports her clients with creating clarity and focus, accountability and follow through, and organization and new habits, all while being able to help them work through any deeper blocks or conflicts that arise.
Kelly truly lives on the “west coast” – she and her husband share a home by the beach, where they love taking long walks with their beautiful dogs.
Paul Dugliss, M.D.
Paul is our master of holistic wellness. With more degrees and certifications than we can count, he brings to the table a brilliant integration of eastern and western medicine.
Paul is a licensed M.D. while also being one of the United States’ preeminent teachers of Ayurvedic medicine. He has a black belt in Aikido, as well as decades of deep spiritual practice.
Dr. Dugliss has an extraordinary capacity to diagnose the real roots of a wide range of chronic health issues, as well as helping clients rebuild their wellness after periods of acute stress.
Robert Holland, J.D.
Robert spent 13 years as a partner at Sidley Austin, LLP, where he became one of California’s leading appellate and complex commercial litigators.
Initially, he found the work to be challenging and fulfilling. But, after 20 years in law, he started feeling empty and exhausted.
Ready for a new adventure, Robert retired early from the practice of law, got his Master’s in Spiritual Psychology, and became an executive coach.
Today, he helps high-powered professionals ignite their passion and grow their leadership so they can have a rewarding career while also having a great life.
Jonny Roman, M.A.
Jonny was born with a strong sense of purpose, as well as a passion for helping people. Prior to getting his Master’s in Public Health, he worked for a social enterprise, leading teams, transforming communities, and doing service work throughout Latin America and the globe.
After meeting the love of his life and getting married, he went back to school, got a Master’s in Spiritual Psychology, and now serves both as our Director of Marketing and as a leadership and life coach.
Jonny has the ability to work with a wide range of people, including young professionals, up and coming entrepreneurs, new managers, middle managers, and junior executives.