About Rhona


Rhona Berens, PhD, CPCC, PCC
We all storify our lives; we tell tales based on our experiences and cast ourselves in sometimes empowering, sometimes not, roles (e.g., winner, loser). Here are some of my favorite stories about myself:

My Professional Story (a.k.a. What Some of the Letters After My Name Mean): My degrees from McGill University and UCLA are in Communications & Media Studies. I worked at UC-Irvine for close to a decade, where I earned tenure, chaired my department, served as Director of the Professional Film & TV Internship Program, and taught a range of courses, like Performance in Film & TV.

I eventually left academia for business and held VP posts in Strategic Marketing at Online Partners; Client Services & Customer Care at PlanetOut Partners; and Business & Community Development at PeoplesMD. I've also worked as a Business Consultant focused on customer experience.  What are the favorite roles I played in this part of my story? Teacher, mentor, advisor, which lead me to...

The Story of Why I Became a Coach (a.k.a Doing What I Love): In many ways, becoming accredited as a Professional Certified Coach (the PCC after my name) is but another stop on a journey that began in grad school. What I loved most as an academic and exec, what I value most as a coach, is helping individuals and couples learn about themselves, their best selves; helping them overcome their obstacles and envision and pursue their dreams; and helping them grow who they are into who they most want to be, whether individually, in relationship to others, or some combination thereof. That same impulse inspired me to volunteer for various non-profit organizations over the last 20 years, e.g., as a youth group facilitator and a member of various Boards of Directors.

I'm trained as a Certified Co-Active Coach through the Coaches Training Institute and a Relationship Systems (RSI) coach through the Center for Right Relationship. RSI is an advanced coaching method that views all relationships--couples, families, colleagues, teams, groups--as complex systems in which: conflict isn't a problem but a signal that change is needed; all opinions are important, even unpopular ones; and relationships aren’t about me, or you, they’re about us. I'm accredited by the International Coach Federation. I also trained as an Associate Guide in Michele McHall's Soul's Dream, a process of Intentional Transformation designed to shift self-limiting beliefs and increase our clarity and fulfillment. While I consider myself a recovering academic, I remain devoted to teaching and deliver talks and workshops on diverse topics--e.g., creativity, positive communication & productive conflict, f'ing your fear and doing things anyway, life after empty-nesting--and developed a self-paced online course designed to help professionals get out of their own way and shift the balance of power from their inner critic to themselves (www.tameyourcritic.com).

There's another reason I became a Coach. Like you, I sometimes feel at the beck and call of my life instead of an active participant in it; I lose sight of my values and feel off-balance; I feel stuck personally or in my relationship; I renege on commitments to myself, and others, and benefit from accountability to someone who helps me achieve my goals; and I welcome help shifting my dreams into action plans. That's a long way of saying, I really get how Coaching can be a transformative and empowering experience.

As you can tell, I've ignored conventional boundaries between academia and business, scholarship and creativity (I'll get to that in a moment), between standard notions of a career path and my career path. I've cast myself in the role of bridger: someone who traverses conventional borders, while finding connections and alliances across those borders. I know from experience that what we often consider divisions aren't always divisive.

The Story of What Isn't Covered Above (a.k.a. Other Things I Want You To Know About Me): I'm also a creative writer: Years ago, I had the great opportunity to co-write an episode of a short-lived ABC drama; my spec script, Stuck on Love, has placed in various screenplay competitions; and I wrote an as-yet-unpublished biographical memoir entitled, Piggyback with a Madman.

While I do not believe Coaches, including me, have to go through what clients go through to be effective, I believe that some of my stories--e.g., exploring more than one primary career, exploring my creativity, trying to move beyond as many self-limiting beliefs as I can or to pursue my dreams in spite of them, facing fertility challenges, trying to maintain relationship satisfaction in the face of life and parenting stresses, learning to parent in my 40s, adopting my daughter and son, being gay, journeying with a close friend from cancer diagnosis to her death--inform who I am as a Coach and enhance what I have to offer my clients.  

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The story of my coaching specialties and the kinds of clients I work with.