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From Silicon Valley to Coaching & Community, Tracie Root

Transcript from The Second Chapter, Season 2, Episode 1.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 0:00

Hi, and welcome to The Second Chapter, the podcast where Kristin Duffy, the founder

and producer behind Slackline Productions (that's me!) talks to women who started the second, third, or even fourth or fifth chapter in their lives and careers after the age of 35. Welcome to season two of The Second Chapter. I'm really excited to be back after a short delay. As those of you who listened to the bonus episode know, I lost my dad a few weeks ago, and believe it or not, I also managed to get COVID. So it feels really good to have the joy that is working on this podcast back in my life. I'm feeling a bit better, so now I'm calling a 2021 reset. As always, if you're enjoying listening to The Second Chapter, I'd love for you to share with friends. And since this is Season Two of The Second Chapter, and we are starting on February the 2nd, I'd love to challenge you to share the podcast with two friends, and hopefully they'll enjoy listening to it too. Speaking of resets, today I'm talking with Tracie Root, who went through a major reset in her early 40s. Tracie said goodbye to corporate America and found her new calling after a personal family tragedy. After a weight loss transformation led her to think more seriously about empowering others, Tracie is now a speaker, coach, educator and community builder. She shifted to helping others at a deeper level while making more time for her own fulfilment, adventure and joy.

Tracie 1:17

"Community is the number one overarching, umbrella word for everything that I do. From a coaching standpoint, it's empowering people to be themselves..."

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 1:28

Hi, Tracie, thanks for joining me today. How are you?

Tracie 1:31

Hi, I'm well, Kristin. Thanks for having me. So fun.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 1:34

It's really great to have you here. We have our Americanness in common but we have quite a few other things in common as well, so it'll be really interesting to hear your story and to share it obviously with The Second Chapter listeners.

Tracie 1:44

Yeah, absolutely. My pleasure. I love that even though we're 1000s upon 1000s of miles away that we get to know each other a little bit.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 1:53

Tracie is in California, and regular listeners will know despite my accent, I'm in London. So we are definitely connecting from afar. She's so kind to join me early in her morning. And it's just my afternoon, so I get off really easily.

Tracie 2:07

Cheers. Cheers to the coffee in the morning!

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 2:08

coffee in the morning and the afternoon at this point in my life. I don't know about you.

Tracie 2:12



Kristin (The Second Chapter) 2:14

You obviously are here because you did make a career change, like we talk about on The Second Chapter. Definitely a very unfortunate incident that kind of sparked yours. But I would love to start with talking about what your initial career was, and how you ended up in that to begin with

Unknown Speaker 2:29

Sure. I'm here in California. As you mentioned, I currently live in Santa Cruz. But I grew up in Silicon Valley in Cupertino, San Jose home of Apple Computer, and at the time of the creation of Apple Computer, actually. And so as a young person, I was this is what things are like in the Bay Area, get good grades achieved, go to college, get a great job, make a lot of money, tap on the glass ceiling, all those things and to live in that area that's the path you need to take for someone who is like trying to find their way in the world. At least that's what it felt like to me. I felt like I was doing all the things that I should do. And I was perfectly fine. I enjoyed it... happy.... I loved what I did. I ended up getting a degree in interior design from San Jose State University. By the time I was in my mid 20s. I wouldn't say I was like that quick to college person. But I eventually made it

Unknown Speaker 3:21

I did that with fashion design, so...

Tracie 3:24

yeah, it was like the nine year plan. But that's okay, because you learn along the way. And I ended up instead of being a designer per se, I ended up in the corporate facilities environment, which would be like space planning, designing the cubicle layouts and things like that. I speak to it that way, because I think most people can understand what that means. But it basically took care of project managing almost everything related to the interiors of the buildings. So it was definitely related to my field. But what it ended up being is much more of a project management and kind of customer service place where I made sure that everyone who was working in the offices had a great working environment could do their jobs was happy in their space, so the companies could make money. I did that for about 17 years. And I was lucky enough to work for a consulting firm. So I ended up working for a lot of different company clients around the valley all during the big boom and the bubble. y2k. Since we're all talking about second chapter and people later in life, I know you people can relate to what that even is where a lot of young people wouldn't even know necessarily what y2k is anymore. And it was very interesting, because we got to learn a lot about large corporate expansion and contraction and merging and splitting and all of those kinds of things. I met my first husband when I was even still in college and we were together for a very long time before we decided to get married and start our family. So we got married in 2004. I think it was I Strangely enough, I don't even remember what year was. And but what I do know is that our son was born in 2006. And shortly after he was born and my husband was diagnosed with cancer. So for the next four years, it was the roller coaster of his illness, treatments, chemo radiation. Meanwhile, I'm learning how to be a new mom, I'm working full time, he's doing the best he can to be a stay at home dad. But eventually he wasn't well enough to be able to do that. So now it's treatments and daycare and working full time. And ultimately, he got a little bit better for a while, and we had our second child, and then he got worse again. And by the time the kids were one and a half, and four, he passed away. So when we talk about like making changes, because of life's challenges, that was a pretty big one. I didn't have any family nearby. So really, it was one foot in front of the other survival mode from that point forward for quite a bit.

Unknown Speaker 6:02

Do you feel like the fact that this went on for so long, did it... I don't know if you can say if it made it better, or made it worse, but did it make you more equipped in the sense that you've been caring for him off and on so long? that you've been putting one foot in front of the other for such a long time anyway?

Tracie 6:17

Well, for sure. And the whole better or worse thing is, I don't think there's any way to say one way or the other, obviously, it's a different experience than someone who maybe loses someone in a car crash or something like that. The long illness definitely helps you get self sufficient, but I was already self sufficient, right? And it wasn't that I really was like, Oh, he's gonna go, because I will say that, in the end, it was still just as much of I was gonna say, of a shock, right? We didn't know no one ever thinks is going to be one it is, no matter how sick someone is, all of a sudden, the fact that they're gone is a very big surprise, emotional surprise, maybe not intellectual surprise. And so you can't really separate the two in that moment. I actually have a friend who just lost their husband yesterday to pancreatic cancer. After a long battle and strong battle, man, that guy was like, fight, fight fight. It was awesome to watch really inspiring for someone who'd seen it, as well to see how hard he really worked at that. But then all of a sudden, like you just couldn't go any further. And that's how it goes. So as a young woman, I was 41 when he died, he was 47. With two young kids, you really just like you said, step one foot in front of the other. Like, I didn't have the freedom to go hide in a corner for a month or six months or whatever. I had to keep going because I had kids and I was the breadwinner, I was the insurance. Everyone always says, Oh, you're so brave, or this or whatever the words are. And really, we all do what we have to do. And that's just the bottom line.

Unknown Speaker 7:53

Yeah, when I had my own, not comparable tragedy, but kind of major change to that was my tragedy so far in life, I guess you could say, my friend kept saying, I can't believe you can get out of bed in the morning. And it's not that you're brave. What else are you gonna do? Every time I was in bed, it was like when I thought about things. And when I was devastated. It was easier for me to keep moving and going. It was exhausting. Yeah, but it was- I didn't have the kids that I had to be out taking care of and making money to support

Unknown Speaker 8:23

Even if the kids weren't there, I still would have needed to survive to live. I suppose people could go hang with their parents for a while. And yes, you see that in movies? I just thought of some of what's her name? Oh, I'm not going to think of it. Anyway, some movie, popular female actress who like goes in, you know, hangs out in their parents house for a month just laying in bed for a month. That's just that's just not me. Yeah, whether or not I had the freedom to do that or not, that wouldn't have been me. I did. I think I went back to work maybe a week after he passed away after doing a lot of the logistical things that we needed to do. And that was more of what else am I gonna do, I gotta do something because I can't lay here anymore type of thing. And and for that week, obviously, I had support and stuff. But once people went back to their homes, my family, my parents went home and different people who had come to help out for the short term left. Now what am I left with? I'm left with two kids and me and what do we do? Okay, I'm too tired to manage them all day long. So really going to work was a relief because it was easier to work than it was to be up for the kids all day long. It took me about a year and a half to process all of that grief in the kind of living in that fog. It's very much a blur. I don't remember very much of it at all. That whole timeframe. My kids will ask me now and then when was this When was that? I'm like, Honey, I'm really sorry, but I just truly don't remember because I don't and that's part of what our brains do for us in processing things sometimes is it lets it fold away so that it's not so traumatic anymore, so that we can Continue to survive and not just cower in a corner.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 10:03

So about a year and a half after this just going straight back to work working through this kind of fog of grief and things blurring together, obviously, did something switch in your mind did something? Was there a spark? Yeah, I

Tracie 10:15

think it was just time. Eventually, you realise that, or at least I realised that what I was doing was not what I wanted. So I was 40 to 43 at the time, and Okay, what's the 20 next 20 years hold for me, this isn't gonna be it can't keep doing what I'm doing. And I started to play around with the idea of changing what I did for a living. And nothing really like this was all just in my head, what could I do? Where can I go, my parents lived in Florida, or still live in Florida. Paul's family's in New Orleans. So if I moved to Florida, I could be by my family, my kids would have their grandparents nearby, I would be in driving distance to the other side of the family. And so that became my goal is okay, if I moved to Florida, what would I do? And I got there, what kind of job would I work for myself? What I get a job what I create all these ideas. And I asked a few questions around with people who I knew I could trust to just say, Hey, I'm considering moving to Florida don't tell my boss, because I didn't want to because it was just ideas, right? It wasn't a plan. Yeah. And I didn't want them to think that I was too short timer, or whatever I just was floating ideas. I came up with a couple of ideas, but nothing really resonated. And then I decided that I'm just going to do something new for me so that I could maybe get some more energy back and feel a little more present for my kids a little less exhausted, a little more available to them in the time that we had together. Because for the most part, we had maybe an hour on the weekdays, from getting home till bedtime, because they were little. And on the weekends a whole day, it was really hard in two whole days was really hard. In fact, at some point I even got pneumonia, because I was just like, so exhausted. So that was another challenge, right? How do you have pneumonia, with two little kids and no supporter and I get them to daycare and go home and sleep for eight hours. But that's another story. So I decided that the thing that I was most available to work on was the fact that I still carried two babies worth of baby weight, and then some, if I lost some weight, if I started doing some activity, then I would feel better. And therefore maybe I would start to be able to move forward in other ways as well. So that's what I did. I started by looking for a diet, that would work because everything else hadn't worked. And what I found actually is a programme that was medically designed but coached by people who had experienced it themselves before. So I didn't know anything about it. I just googled medical weight loss because I wanted something that was not sketchy. I had done Atkins in the past, which I don't think anyone would call a medical weight loss plan. And it was great. But again, to go back, of course, and then some that was before we got married. So I found this plan. And I didn't know my coach, I didn't know anyone who'd ever done it. And I just randomly got assigned to her, she lives in Utah. And she taught me this system that I then became a coach for because part of helping yourself is being able to stand up and say, This is what I've done for myself. And I am happy and excited about it. And other people get excited. And they want to know so you show them. So it was a really great way to dip my toe really slowly into the field of coaching because I didn't know anything about life coaches, or health coaches or anything like that at the time. And this was a way for me to say, Oh, this is really interesting, just people helping people. And that's what a coach does. You help them do something that you know how to do just like a soccer coach or a baseball coach, you teach someone who's never played how to play because you know how to play

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 13:58

interesting because to me, that kind of system holds you a bit accountable as well. Do you feel like I'm excited about this, and I have to stay excited about it. Because I want because

Tracie 14:07

I'm helping someone else as well. Absolutely. And it's a big part actually have the posturing of coaching in the beginning stages, because you do get a lot out of helping someone else. And the that's where the idea of community being a big deal really took hold with me as well. Like I was already super social and leveraged a team and all of that stuff at my regular job. And so once I started with this programme and met these other people who were also doing the same thing with similar goals and lots of similar stories, not necessarily of husbands passing away, but family members passing away or divorces or abuse in all realms of possibility of things that happen in our lives that kind of have give us that aha moment of I'm going to need to do something different now. Because from birth to hear it, we're going to take a new direction. So yeah, so that's how I got started coaching was by just paying forward what I had learned with my own physical transformation. I lost 55 pounds that summer. And yeah, it was amazing. And the bathroom selfies at the office every week because like this jacket, I remember I had this suede kind of blazer jacket. And I wore it the day that people recognise that I was pregnant with my daughter, my second child, because it wouldn't button and I just, I didn't think it really people would know. But some guy, which of course, some guy goes, Oh, congratulations. I'm just like, like, I haven't told anybody. And I'm just like thinking that it's not noticeable. And congratulations, it was so funny now, but at the point, I was just like, oh my gosh. So anyway, but I remember putting that back on after I'd lost the weight. And I was like, I haven't worn this jacket. In two years. Since I was pregnant with Rachel,

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 16:03

the thing that comes to mind, I think so many people struggle when they try to lose weight because of time. And what came to mind for me, too, is how are you finding time to do all this on top of the job on top of the kids, your weight loss, and then coaching other people.

Tracie 16:16

So one of the things is right, if when you really fired up about something, you're willing to spend your time doing it, I was working full time. So I would get up drive the kids to daycare go to work, I would I don't know work from 830. Whenever I showed up there till five to be able to pick the kids up by six, because we're in Silicon Valley, and there's a lot of traffic and then go home and then but they were still little so put them to bed and I'd stay up for two hours doing trainings and learning and sending people messages. This was like this was in 2010. So Facebook was really exploding. And really the way that I reached people was by posting pictures on Facebook and doing Facebook messaging or texting people because my network and still is all around the country from the performing group that I was in when I was in my 20s. So really the people that I was reaching, I was reaching my work friends in person during the day like they would see me and wonder what's going on? And how the heck do you lose 25 pounds in two months and 55 pounds in five months. That was like they saw me melt. So that work was easy. And as long as I posted pictures on Facebook, right? That was easy, too. Because people are just like, Oh my gosh, down another size again, and you talk about it too. It's like being a walking billboard. So how I did it was on my lunch breaks. And after the kids went to bed, because I was fired up. So I had energy that I didn't have before. And it was much more like this than I was the way I was dealing with the grief and everything was was a lot more flat. So I had lots of energy and lots of ability to take a couple of hours in the evening. And just TV running trainings, running messaging people like just doing all the things because it was so exciting and fun. And that summer, we had our first like national convention thing. And that was when I saw other people who were coaches from around the country, people who had left their corporate jobs, people who were physicians who had closed their practices in order to coach It was a very exciting couple of days. And that was when I really woke up and said what if I can get that coaching business to a certain place then with between California and Florida cost of living difference, I can move to Florida rent a house twice the size for half the price, and not have to go to a job, walk my kids to school half a mile and come home and work for myself all day, go pick them up from school, come home and then be with them. So it was that full transformation of going from corporate employee to work for yourself. But there was also very interesting because I was in a new state, I had lots of distraction of being in this new house, like getting things set up and living a whole different life. And trying to learn how to be my own boss. It was an interesting period to to move from being a corporate employee for 17 years and really longer to still working for other companies when you're in school and stuff and an early 40. Switching to Okay, I'm the boss. And if I don't do this, no one's going to and that's and there's not going to be any money. So let's keep rolling

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 19:25

the other side of it to where it's really easy to find yourself. In a way this is an interesting thing about working for yourself, but you can you can find yourself working at the strangest hours and you're going okay, where are my boundaries? I need to have boundaries or I always be working or I'll always be playing so yeah, that that kind of balance of when do you do?

Tracie 19:44

Yeah. And that's something that every entrepreneur I think continues to struggle with unless they're very structured person, but I'm not a super structured personality, but I know the value of that structure. So especially here we are almost nine years Later, having learned that, if I don't allow specific time to do certain things that I'm really gonna just flow right through it and all of a sudden the days have gone are the days fully God,

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 20:12

what was it time between when you went to that conference? And then you were like, Okay, I'm quitting. This is going to be my full time thing.

Tracie 20:19

So sitting there, and we're listening to Robin Sharma was the keynote speaker. I don't know if you're familiar with him. He's got a few books out. He said, I don't even know what to say. It's like a big guru kind of coach guy, Tony Robbins ish type of guy, really great books. He's one of his first book, I think, was called the monk Who Sold His Ferrari. And it was really about the idea of working for the money versus working for the purpose work to live work. Yeah, right. Yeah, I was sitting there in this ballroom with 3000 other people sitting there and just looking at him listening to him talk. And I hadn't experienced anything like that before. I was like, I don't really get everything that he's saying. But I think this is pretty cool. And then there was a whole panel of physicians that went up. On the stage, there's like six of them. And there was an oncologist and a family physician and a cardiologist and all these different all these people. And they're just like, story after story of how by coaching people, they feel better about the impact they're making on people's health than just helping them battle once they're already sick.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 21:21

Yes, that's huge. That's such a problem in society in general, that right, we treat the illness instead of getting rid of it, and being healthy people on a day to day basis.

Tracie 21:31

Totally. And that was the coming from a couple of years prior with my husband's illness that was very impactful to me remembering how completely enthralled I was with the work that the nurses were doing to care for him and all of that, like I was so in awe of the machine behind his care. But at the same time, I knew I could never be a part of that. What can I do to help people in general live healthier lives so that they're less likely to be in the situation that I'm in that he was in that we were all in that we had all experienced was there? And I just kind of said to my friend, do I really need to go back, I could just stay. And of course, I couldn't just say but I did start thinking about it. And I was actually starting a vacation at my parents for the next two weeks after that. So of course, I had this time to ruminate of what would that look like? What could it What could I do to make that work? What would it look like? And by the time I went back, I want to say was like late, late July back at work at home. And within a couple of weeks, I got like, Alright, I'll figure it out. And I called my boss, which like I said, I was a consultant. So it didn't work at my office every day, my boss was at a different location, I was like, hey, should come in and check in. And she told me afterwards, she said, you you were coming to quit, like I just knew, but I went as just like, you know what I'm going to move to Florida. And this is obviously she knew the reasons why I would want to be by my family. So that was like, first part of September. And mine I gave, like three months notice. So by middle of December, we moved to Florida, okay, which kind of coincide with like my lease was ending the house and different things like that. So the timing was related to that. And also related to the end of the work here, things that slow at work over the holidays. So it was a good time for a transition. And it was enough notice, hopefully to hire a replacement for me, because I had been there for a really long time. Not to brag, but replacing me was hard. And in fact, we ended up not replacing me and giving up the contract because we can find someone that my boss was willing to manage because I didn't need to be managed.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 23:42

Yeah, I feel like that's an interesting thing, too, because a lot of the women I've spoken with that they have this kind of it doesn't sound like you had like guilt around leaving, but there is this, I'm going to give you a long time to replace me. And there's it's hard to replace somebody who's been there for a long time. So right, it makes the transition a little bit more difficult in the sense that you're gonna want to let someone down.

Tracie 24:02

I looked at it as a transition for me as well, not just for the job, but what how can I make sure that I'm set up for success going into this new location. So one of the things we did was not only determine what the day would be the last day in the office, we also determined that about a month, maybe six weeks before that I would start reducing my hours. And that gave me the flexibility to to work more on my new business so that I didn't feel so that I could let that build up. Yes. So I've started to tip the scales, less corporate more coaching, even before I left that job. And then when December came and I actually left, they asked me to take my laptop with me for a month just in case they had questions which in the end, they didn't but I was happy to do that because I knew it wasn't going to be anything substantial. And it was a client that I had been at physically on site for eight years. They've been with me through both of my kids being born through my husband's death, these people were friends and and they were had supported me so much that it wasn't that I don't want to let them down. It's that we have a relationship. And it was important to me that they were taken care of, and also important to me that I left my integrity intact.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 25:20

So you've at this point, you've moved to Florida, and you've already started building up what your coaching business is going to be. But I feel like now you deal with a lot more than, for example, healthy weight loss. So how do I make this transition from I'm helping people that want to lose weight to I'm a life coach, and I want to help people with

Tracie 25:38

everything. So because the health coaching business included helping people learn how to be health coaches, there was a little bit of life coaching to that. And truthfully, when you're working on your health, it's really you're working on your life. Yes, you're learning different eating habits and things like that. But you're learning the mental changes that need to happen, which is what life coaching is all about different decisions and different, all potential paths that you could go down and which one is the best one that will serve your goals best, and you can't separate the two because it is your life that you're trying to get healthy, not just your body. I did exclusively coach that programme for about two years. And obviously, I'm here in California. So I didn't say how did

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 26:19

we get back to Cali

Tracie 26:19

I know the funny story to my now husband, he and I have known each other since I was 17. And he was actually the one who helped me the most. After Paul passed away, he accompanied me to the funeral home, like he was my best local friend, I had a couple of other close friends, but he was probably the best friend. And as we left to go to Florida, looked at each other and went, Hmm, this is a problem like Florida is great, but I have to leave you and he's like packing me up helping me get packed going. This sucks. And so we decided that we would try a long distance relationship right before we moved. And over the next six months, he came to visit me I think two or three times, and then the kids obviously. And then that June, we plan to come back and do like a tourist vacation, hey, let's get back to California and have California fun for a couple of weeks. And that's when we decided to get engaged and move back to California. Since we'd known each other for 30 years. It's not like I need to get to know you. So let's just get let's just make it happen. So we ended up moving back here that August because I didn't want the kids to have to split their school year again, we had left in December before my son had a pretty rough time of it. He was in first grade at the time. So I didn't want them to have to be the new kid in the middle of the school year again. So we got here right before school started in August, I kind of call it moving Florida call it the long eight month vacation. And they just brought all my stuff with me.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 27:46

I have to say though, I'm definitely I have two sisters that live in Florida. And I did a short internship in Florida. And I'm definitely more of a California girl. So it would not be difficult to get me to go

Tracie 27:57

definitely wasn't hard. Because I hadn't been in Florida long enough for it to feel like home, it really felt like a vacation with all my stuff. So coming back to California, of course felt very familiar and very comfortable. And even though living in Santa Cruz is different than living in San Jose, it wasn't very far away. And in fact, most of the networking and things that I would do when I first got back here, I would just go over the hill and do it over there because they were more of my people. There's a definite personality kind of vibe in the South Bay than there is in Santa Cruz, I'm sure you can imagine. So we ended up getting back here that August and I took the next like year and a half or so it took some time to feel around here in Santa Cruz, and get to know people and it was a bit of a transition for me. But I was still only health coaching, I didn't really have a picture of doing other things. But after about a couple years, I started the idea of doing things that were outside of that realm that I thought would be fun. And the first one I think was a vision board Party, which vision board parties are fun. Who doesn't like that, that

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 28:55

started me I have never done a word party. This sounds like a very, like you've never done it.

Tracie 29:01

I would say that I am planning I will say that I'm planning to do a digital one. I don't know when I will invite you but you're so far away. So I don't know if it'll work. I will keep you in mind. Okay, but but so I started with that and doing some group work five, six people at a time. And it just was really fun. I had always noticed that even when health coaching that it was more like life coaching because we were talking about whole wellness. We weren't just talking about weight. So it just started to really turn in my mind that because I am a good coach. I can help people with things other than this particular programme and just start to do other things. And so I did I took some trainings and stuff like that I didn't get certified but it just started moving in that direction. And it just was fun. So I kept doing it. Because I think that's one of the great things about working for yourself is if you find that passion and you really just are enjoying it, it's fulfilling. Keep going in that direction. That's the right direction, right? Yeah, I did that for a couple years. And then, as I was trying to do group events, I found it hard to find places to do that. I wouldn't. I was told Oh, Doom at your house Doom on your kitchen table. It'll be great, but not so great at my house. It just didn't work. I've got kids, the dog, the way our space was laid out, there wasn't enough room. So I was always looking for a place to rent. And I found it really hard to find a place that was nice that like a place you want to spend your day that was affordable. And that was available. It was challenging.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 30:31

That's definitely something in my experience, that's the never ending dream, I guess, for me is that I would have a community space, the air space, all this kind of stuff. I tried doing that in London,

Tracie 30:42

I can imagine. I'm sure

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 30:44

California is it's not cheap in California. But yeah, finding that right space, that's nice enough that people want to be there that you want to be there,

Tracie 30:51

right, that it's on brand for the work that you're doing and all of that. And since I had an interior design and project management background, I started toying with the idea in my head that what if I just made a space? And I didn't really know what that would look like. But it was exciting. And so I started moving in that direction, and started asking like the women that I was networking, hey, if I made a place, what do you think of that? would you use it? Do you think that's valuable? Do you think I can get people to come I got overwhelming positive response, like it was really great. So I started moving in that direction, because that was really exciting to have the idea of making a place of my own, to have the vibe that I want it to have and the aesthetic appeal that I want it to have feel to hold people, enough people that I want it to hold, and everyone around me was going yeah, I could totally use that. Oh, I have this friend who says workshops, I'll tell them about it and the word starting to getting out. Then I started learning about all the things commercial real estate permits, licences, all these different things that we need, and nothing scared me. Like it was all just okay, that's interesting. I found a place we're planning on it and stuff. And then we went into negotiations for the lease, and it all fell apart. But I didn't quit. And I realised that's because I was committed and really just fulfilled by the idea of this thing existing in the world. And I had to keep going. And that was really exciting to recognise that a lot of times people stop if things get hard, and it got hard. And I wasn't even I never even thought of stopping. And it just showed me that that's what I was meant to put together. And eventually we opened we actually opened in October of 2019. Our places called gather is making this face like

recording. Oh my gosh, 20 vision. Oh, I know. It's crazy. So yeah, we opened in October 2019. And my job was to get people in the room so they could look around and go, this is really cool. Oh, look at that coffee. Oh, what can we do? And we did that. That's what I did. And my job was to get new people meet new people meet like the movers and shakers in the community who I never would have introduced myself out of the blue before. But now I'm not afraid to anymore. So it was really that was really exciting. That was a huge like, step forward in my own kind of personal belief in myself and all of that stuff, which was super awesome. And then. And then a few months later, we had to close the doors and turn out the lights. We were actually mid workshop that weekend, the Saturday the 14 we had a group of people in there and they came in and they were a little nervous, but they all settled in and did their thing. And then the next morning when person called in sick, and they all like no, we're out. We're leaving by. And so within an hour we had cleaned up everything and turned out the lights.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 33:50

I actually was running a workshop when they announced lockdown in London, I put on a theatre production the weekend before. Oh no. Then that Monday or Monday a week on we were in a workshop. And when by the time we left the workshop, it was like, see you on the other side. We think you'd lock down again now. But

Tracie 34:08

yeah, we had no idea what that would look like we thought it would be a month no one knew what and I don't know, the messaging that you guys were getting versus what we were getting. I'm sure it's very different because all of us was after like we were after Italy and all of that stuff. So it was a little I'm sure it was different. But what we knew was that we didn't know when we go back. But we certainly didn't think it would be over a year end up being a year later in that first month. I did a lot of just zoom stuff because I'm home. So what else am I going to do? Let's just do some stuff. And that time allowed me to realise that if we if the whole point of gather was to build community, and we wanted to do it in person, but if we really can't, we have to build community wherever we can find it and if online is what we got, then that's what we got. And we have to keep going because The alternative of disconnecting and not building community that would be like the downfall that the world released. And that's the division. And all of that is that disconnection of community, I think that everything here in the States that's happening is fed by the fact of the pandemic, and all of the crazy, not only mixed messages, but the removal of people from people, I think is a big part of that. So keeping people together became my number one goal build community. So doing different things online. And what we did with gather is I also saw that the people who were doing in person workshops and stuff, if they needed help getting their work online, like I needed to help them because if I didn't, by the time we got back in person, they wouldn't be around anymore, because they needed to have success while we were closed down to. So it shifted everything from in person, like rent the room, and we'll help you promote and get people in and make you coffee and all this stuff to you're doing an online event, okay, I'm going to help you promote and help bring people in and really talk about it, and help them to grow their reach, expand. And so that's what we did, we moved from renting the room to creating a membership, and our members have been thriving like this. And we have a community of people who are all in supporting each other. We have to do this wherever we can do it. So let's serve people, even if we can't be together, Let's be together online, so that when we can reopen, we'll be excited to see each other instead of disconnected.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 36:32

So I know a lot of what you do is is helping women specifically is gathered a women specific organisation, or

Tracie 36:40

it's funny that you asked that. So when I first started, I didn't have that kind of focus. I really, especially since I started with health, it's meant Everyone needs help. But just over time, and my business coach wanted me to go in that direction. And I resisted for a little while as far as like women focus, but what I realised was, as I defined my own kind of ideal client, and so anyone, any coach that you talk to, it's that Who's your ideal client, who's your avatar, or whatever. And I don't use those that wording so much. But I did realise that the people I enjoyed working with most were women around 50 ish, which is I'm 52. And I think a lot of times, we do end up serving people who are similar to us, or at least in a similar time of life, as us. So it just it's not that I don't coach men, I actually had a great guy in my last group coaching programme, my chiropractor, he's amazing. And at gather in the space, we certainly will have anyone can rent the space. But from a membership standpoint, when we wanted to create this new community online, we do have that be women only because we're really trying to link arms and create something from nothing. And I found that we were more likely to just connect more naturally, and be able to be moving in the same direction with the same agenda in the same mission.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 38:04

It's interesting, because I feel like sometimes being a women focused or female identifying Theatre Company and the podcast and everything. I have been challenged on that from time to time. And I can always pull out something that shows that women still basically need to be supporting each other because specifically in theatre here, for example, the numbers two still aren't what they should be as far as playing strong roles, or female writers being put on in big theatres, or there's always something that I'm like, I'm not just doing this because I don't like men or something like that. It really is about and I spoke with a woman, another American woman actually, last season. And she's so interesting, because she did she changed her career at 65. And did a film about women keeping their relevance basically. So the on 60 project, it's called. And we talked a lot about women supporting each other. And I think at the end of the day, there is something about linking arms, as you said,

Tracie 38:59

the other thing too, is coming from my personal background, my corporate life, right the owner of our company, the partners were both female, I ended up being most one of the first five people are so in the company and I think four out of five of us were female, the clients that we had, while they weren't all female, the companies were very progressive in their inclusiveness, and I know there's a lot of friends of mine, like on Facebook or whatever might talk about, oh, I had this experience and the man took the credit for this thing that I did and all that stuff. And I just I'm really grateful I never really had those experiences. Part of it too is I'm like six feet tall. And I was running crews of 30 movers at a time and furniture installers and art installers. And so I was in a place of authority running the show and a physical big presence as part of course even before I lost my way is a big price. To I think in some ways I was intimidating. So it allowed me to just have this kind of leadership role where people didn't really challenge me. And I didn't have that, that kind of natural, like the boss is a man and etc, etc. So there's that benefit to me that I didn't experience a lot of that kind of negative feedback. So I kind of just didn't even think about it. So I just kept moving forward with, okay, I'm just going to do what I do. So it's been a really good education for me these last few years with me too, and with in even all the racial equality stuff that's going on and everything to really look at how people have experienced things differently than me and make sense of all of that, for who I want to work with most and why that is. And so even though I might not have experienced some of that negativity, I know that lots of people have and I want them to know that that's not necessary. That's not required to be successful. You don't have to fight that you can just blast through it and be you.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 41:05

So when it when it comes to your business businesses, what what is the driving passion behind it all? Obviously, the health care thing is what sparked it. But now what keeps you going and keeps you excited about it?

Tracie 41:17

There's two main themes. The first one is community, because whether we're talking about a person's life, or business community is the thing, that's what makes life fulfilling is the people in it. So community is the number one overarching umbrella word for everything that I do. From a coaching standpoint, it's empowering people to be themselves. As someone who's six feet tall, I was always had a level of visibility, but I didn't always feel like I wanted it. And now that I can own my own self, be my own person, I'm happy being in the spotlight because I feel confident about how I show up that way that I am authentic, and that I'm not putting on a show, I definitely used to feel like workdays were a show because the real life was not so bubbly. And now real life is pretty bubbly. Even in a pandemic, there's so many good things that have happened. And that can happen and that are possible. But and I firmly believe that that's not a show. So I want people women, especially to understand that if they have something in their mind that they want to accomplish, or a dream or something to do that they can do it. They just need to believe in themselves and take those steps. And so that's what I teach when I'm coaching is how do you take those steps? What happens when things are challenging? And what happens when people tell you that you can't? And what do you do with that. So really empowering people to stand up and be their true, authentic, bold self. Because the alternative being diminished is, I think one of the worst things that can happen to a person.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 43:01

I feel like you do see a lot of people who are doing these sort of like glitzy coaching, marketing kind of things that don't feel authentic. So talking to you, it's really interesting to hear about having that kind of mission that does feel but you're not just saying you're not just walking, you're not just talking the talk of being an authentic person inauthentic, you actually are coming from a place that you're like, I've experienced this through grief, whether it's that you have grief, or you have health issues, or you're feeling diminished for different for whatever reason, I want to make it possible for you to shine, not

Tracie 43:32

everyone's gonna resonate with everyone. And that's what's so great about it. Because we really get to find that people that are for us, my clients that I work with know that I will walk through fire for them if that's what's needed. But what I really want to do is empower them to walk on their own fire. And I think that any coach worth their salt is going to say the same thing, but it might look prettier. If they've been around longer have a larger marketing machine that's more about like the the personality factor to write if you want to be that glitz, like you'll figure out how to look like that. But if you just want to be fun and approachable, then you're going to figure out how to look like that my headshot has bright magenta hair. Clearly I have pandemic style these days. But I love my pink hair because it's about my excitement of life. And I want to empower people, I don't want them to decide that they need to have pink hair. So it's more about that base kind of core value system that then allows the other person to develop their own base core value system for themselves.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 44:42

I do have to say though, embarrassingly, after looking at your website, I was considering buying some pink hair


Yeah, it's ever fun. So I have really dark hair. I was thinking if I got some like semi permanent put it over the greys and that I'd have this sort of like cool Dark with spots of really bright pink, I might completely just copy you.

Tracie 45:05

overtone has the thing that's for dark for brown hair, and it's actually conditioner it's actually nourishing for your hair. So go for it over 10 would you like to sponsor me?

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 45:17

The second chapter podcast brought to you by overtone, I did ask you to bring a quote. And I know you said there was so many good ones. But you have a quote for me today.

Tracie 45:26

I think the quote that I have to share is just it's from a mentor. It's not a famous person even better. I had a mentor who told me that everything we do is a choice, everything. So what do you choose? And that's one of the cornerstones that I coach with. Because when we decide that what's happening in the world is not something that we don't have the ability to affect, but that the way we respond to anything that happens, the way we respond is always a choice. Yeah, I may not have chosen for my husband to pass away, I may not have chosen or crazy political ness, and all of those things, but the way that I respond to it and show up in the world and help people in life is up to me. And so what am I going to do, I can only affect the things that I can affect. I can't make things unhappen and them happening isn't going to define me. I hesitated on define me because obviously it is a factor in all personal personality development, the things that happen to us, but how we go forward from there is always a choice. And so what do you choose? I like that that's

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 46:32

a good way to we're not victims. The other day, somebody said something to me, it might not all be all right. But even if it's not all right, we'll find a way to make it different. And I think that's a really interesting way to think of it.

Tracie 46:43

I think I heard it postured in that you might be a victim of an event, but you don't have to live in victimhood. Exactly.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 46:50

I love it. Really good one. Thank you so much for joining me. Yeah, it's my pleasure. And I'm glad to hear that the out of life sounds pretty bubbly.

Tracie 46:57

Yeah. It's all good.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 46:59

It was so great chatting with you, and that we could do this from across the world. Really?

Tracie 47:03

Yeah. It's been great. I really enjoyed meeting you. It's been so fun.

Kristin (The Second Chapter) 47:07

Thanks again for listening. And, as a reminder, if you're enjoying the second chapter podcast, please share with your friends and leave us a great rating and review. We also have some great merchandise giveaways coming up, so stay tuned in upcoming episodes for news on how you can win some fab stuff from the second chapter. The second chapter is brought to you by slackline productions, a production company dedicated to redressing the balance of women's stories being told and he's telling them with a specific focus on women 35 Plus, for more about slackline visit slackline

Thanks again.

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For more about Tracie, you can find her at and (she offers free gifts on both sites- woo hoo!)

She also loves to connect on Facebook at

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