Between completing my doctorate in English literature at Harvard and launching my career as a clinical psychologist I spent several years developing real estate in Los Angeles. My area of expertise was affordable housing. I purchased land, secured tax credits, contacted syndicators, and arranged financing. I also developed an entry-level, market-rate project and set up the buy-back of a loan from the government.
My experience in real estate was very intense and introduced me to the stresses of life in the private sector. I learned what it's like to deal with millions of dollars, to perform under pressure, and to work with difficult people. It taught me to think creatively in a business environment, to maintain a sharp focus amid a flurry of distractions, and to sustain a winning attitude in the face of adversity.
In addition to real estate, I served on the board of EcoOrganics, a closely held company specializing in organic-based fertilizer. This experience gave me a knowledge of corporate life at the board level. It acquainted me with the issues of capitalization, valuation, merger, and acquisition. And it revealed the potential friction between entrepreneurs and VCs when it comes to the question of return on investment.
Working in the private sector has enabled me to understand the challenges faced by my clients in business. It also allows me to offer executive coaching to those individuals who want to focus on career. In both cases, however, the ultimate goal is the same — to help find the way to a happier life.