Career pivots can be difficult to accomplish alone, especially when you cannot differentiate between what you want and what you need. You might be aware of what you want to accomplish but might not know how to get there. In this case, a career coach can support you in identifying actionable steps that you can take to work towards your career goals and guide you through the challenges you might encounter on the way. They will help you develop the traits, attitudes, and skills needed to become successful. Sheryl Brinkley, founder and CEO of ITM Coaching Next Level helps people navigate through career-related challenges and become better leaders.
A Bay Area native, Sheryl started her career working in Fortune 100, public, private, tech, and utility sectors, which provided her with a varied experience in leadership. She holds an MBA degree from Holy Names University, a certification in Women’s Executive Leadership Program from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and has a specialty certification in Emotional Intelligence EQ-i 2.0. She is also an International Coaching Federation Certified Executive Coach and a certified Leadership Development Professional specializing in mid-level career progression and acceleration.
Coaching, mentoring, and developing people is something that came naturally to Sheryl as she set out on the path to figuring out how to put things into shape. Her career pivot happened by chance, and to further the opportunity, she obtained coaching certifications. Additionally, years of project management, consulting, and business development experience armed her with an in-depth understanding of organizational effectiveness from both program management and corporate perspective.
Sheryl is undoubtedly a next-level leadership coach who works with high-performing leaders looking to accelerate their career paths and rise to the ranks in the near future. She founded ITM Coaching Next Level in 2018 to help clients tap into their hidden potential and eliminate the barriers preventing them from advancing in their careers. Sheryl’s approach is people-centric, where she first tries to catch the client’s nerve to uncover what they are looking for. After gathering all relevant information, she devises a customized coaching plan to work on their strengths to instill confidence and make strides towards their professional goals.
Some of the services that ITM Coaching Next Level provides include Executive Coaching, Strategic Development Planning, Resume and Interview Preparation, Emotional Intelligence and 360 Degree Assessments, and Executive Presence Building. Sheryl believes that the most important aspect of development is self-awareness and self-actualization. Any manner of planning or strategizing can only bear fruit if the goal is clear. Creating a safe space to envision what is possible is critical as many shy away from expressing what they desire out of their professional lives. Sheryl dives deep into the psyche of the client to bring out their true selves and works on those nuances to achieve the goals. Here is what one of her clients Jordan Booker, an IT professional, has to say about her: “Sheryl is amazing at what she does. Working with her has strengthened my interviewing skills and taught me the mindset and attitude needed to be successful in the corporate world.”
Diversity and Inclusivity
Being an avid learner, Sheryl believes in the continuous pursuit of knowledge, and that self-actualization is critical to personal and professional growth. Of the many things that she passes on in her mentoring and coaching activities, diversity and inclusion are things that she engages in and has been a firm believer in for a long time. She has been a “diversity inclusion leader” and wants to work towards remedying the plight of women, primarily women of color, in the professional world where they experience gross underrepresentation. Removing the barriers is important, and Sheryl encourages individuals to have an agenda for themselves and act upon it before seeking external validation or pushing to do so.
The pandemic has changed workplace dynamics and made the business world look entirely different, and Sheryl is against the concept of “quiet quitting”. She believes opportunities exist where people can now raise their voices and redefine their lives. And corporations should be intentionally open about hiring quality over appearance to bring diversity to the table. “When it comes to diversity and inclusion, companies can really work towards retaining that quality of empathy, impassion, and authenticity while recruiting the workforce. Especially after the pandemic, where everyone experienced life like never imagined before, companies need to accept that we are all the same. They need to move beyond how someone’s hair looks like and focus on the value that they can add to the company,” Sheryl says.
Aspire to Inspire
Sheryl bases her life on three principles: faith, family, and fulfillment. Adding to it, she has now included meditation to connect with her body and soul. Physical, spiritual, and emotional health are the aspects she lays focus on to reconnect with self. For her, fulfillment goes beyond just being defined by one’s job. Sheryl believes that having new experiences, traveling, or pursuing hobbies are things that fuel a person. Discovering one’s true passion and purpose in life is also critical to give back and help future generations.
For women who want to get into entrepreneurship, Sheryl asks them to just go for it. “We are all born with unique gifts, and sometimes people might have ideas, but they do not know how to pursue them. As a businesswoman and a coach, I would like to offer that support to women to prepare them for what is about to come in their endeavors. Running a business is no mean feat and handling all aspects of it can get tedious. So, get help when needed. If you do not have a vision for yourself, someone else will have it for you, and it will not be the same. You set the parameters for your timing and do what you have to do to achieve it,” Sheryl added while speaking with WomLEAD magazine.
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