“Gail is an excellent educator of women, often single women, who have the opportunity and endurance to engage in higher education, personal development, leadership development and secure a career that will enable them to gain economic and social stability. She is an excellent manager, a very competent communicator , a collegial co-worker and she thinks out of the box to find ways to improve her practice and the outcome of her work.She works from an enpowerment model, from belief in the strengths of women, not from a deficit belief system. She is an advocate; she does not do for the women what they can do for themsevles. But she coaches and encourages as well as holding them accountable. Gail asks questions and she looks for coherence between the stated theory and values of an organization/company and its practices and actions.Gail has devloped her own curricula for working with women. She is one of the most valuable colleagues I have. And her work with women is acclaimed by them.” Nancy August 22, 2011
“Gail Mountain and I worked as Scholar Advisors for One Family Inc. From day one Gail impressed me with her vast knowledge of not only the women we worked with but the state's policy that guided our mission to serve homeless women. Gail's position as Senior Scholar Advisor was not enough to describe her invaluable contributions to our scholars and the community around us. I learned a great deal from Gail, and her investment in the success of women, in whatever they do, is unparalleled to any person I have ever worked with. She made things happen. Through Gail's extensive writing and advocacy expertise, myself and the rest of the Scholar Advisor team wrote a dynamic proposal for addressing cultural diversity and trauma issues that would benefit how we all worked with our population of women. The work Gail is embarking on will undoubtedly impact the way women see themselves and the way society views them on their journey to becoming successful contributing citizens. Gail is an agent for change and I believe in her, you should too!”
Lisa December 11, 2012
SAMPLE case studies of women moving forward via Creative Personal Strategic Planning For Women:
A was in her early 20’s, with 1 child. She recognized her skill in mathematics and she had begun her journey toward a family-sustaining-career. She had family support. She didn’t need a lot of financial support. Once she got on the first rung her career ladder it was only up the ladder for her. But, she came from a family of women who did not finish what they started and she wanted to break that pattern for herself and for her own daughter. She intuited that to change her life, to be a role model for her daughter and to be successful she needed to work parallel tracks: Professional and personal.
Through the process of Creative Personal Strategic Planning For Women A was able to internalize the program’s core personal leadership training based on taking the time: To accept it is what it is but to also ask, now what?; To analyze and to assess clearly and honestly and to adapt per results; to self-author a personal strategic plan and take action based on that plan. She was also able to gather a lot of information about life as a woman and as a mom from a very diverse community of women.
A completed associate of science studies and she got a job in her field, where advancement in work and her salary have been appropriate to her circumstances – for now.
B was a single Mom with 3 children -- 6 years old and under. The father of the children was contributing child support but it wasn’t enough and she knew she knew if she was to become independently, economically stable and free of government assistance she needed a career that would pay a family-living wage. So, when we met she was already taking classes toward earning an associate’s degree in nursing – one or two class at a time to complete pre-requisites, to be followed by a two-year nursing program. Also slowed down a bit by the complication of English as a Second Language, her expected graduation date was approximately five to seven years in the future. An eternity…
B could see what she needed to do but she could not see how to do it. She needed to figure out how to sustain herself and her family so she could dramatically shorten the time it would take her to reach her goal. And she desperately needed to figure out how to manage the overwhelming guilt she felt about being a single parent who would be spending more time away from her children than she cared to.
Through the process of Creative Personal Strategic Planning For Women B was able to stop her world and get off long enough to access the support needed during the time it would take her to fully execute her self-authored personal strategic action plan. She was also able to connect with a group of like-minded women who could, through peer counseling, support her periodic meltdowns under the stress of a demanding academic program and under the stress of being a very guilty single parent unable to give her children the white house, picket fence and nuclear family structure she deeply believed in.
B did graduate from her program. She did begin to work in her field, able to earn a family-living wage. And she learned, as well, that taking personal leadership, creating a strategic plan, and taking action on that plan was much better role modeling for her children than she could have anticipated.
Married, with one adult child, C’s family was barely making it on one pay check.
A previous full-time contributor of income to the household (and to the tax base), C’s work-related health issues demanded re-training to return her to the workforce in a manner that would allow her to work part-time at a job that paid a family-living wage, one that would lift her family from poverty.
But, classic to many women living in poverty, C could not imagine a new future for herself and her family. She was depressed. Her self-esteem was low. She had been out of school for 30 years. She only had a high school diploma. And she had no money to invest in education.
She felt she was alone. She felt society had turned its back on her.
She needed to learn how to not carry the entire load on her own shoulders, she needed to learn to talk to others, and she needed to learn how to see and to describe what she wanted for herself. She also needed to learn how to access a support system to sustain her through her journey toward success.
Through the process of Creative Personal Strategic Planning For Women she was able to imagine using her skills to obtain seasonal employment with the IRS; she was able to assess her strengths (fortitude, sense of human, mathematical intelligence) and her weaknesses (primarily an inability to give up control where she really had none and an inability to ask for help for herself); she was able to self-author her personal strategic action plan for success and; she was able to seek and access the supports she required during the time it would take for her to fully execute her plan.
C did obtain that employment. She did, in her own words, again, become a healthier person with a more positive outlook on life. She did become unafraid to express her own needs and, in community with other women, she also came to appreciate and to lean on the benefits of interdependence.
(Authored by Gail Mountain, no material directly related to GailMountainConsults can be duplicated without explicit permission. All Case Studies are composites drawn from my own experiences intended only to describe a broad variety of circumstances and outcomes. © 2012)