Hi, I’m Melissa
I’m an Executive Coach (and former therapist) for entrepreneurs who want to be highly successful without sacrificing their (mental) well-being or relationships in the process. I’m also multipassionate, highly sensitive, a recovering perfectionist, and married to a former startup founder. My pronouns are she/her.
I’m a co-founder of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, a space for mental health professionals around the world who want support in starting (or growing) their portable business. I’m also the host of the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast, a weekly show dedicated to normalizing discussions about the emotional and mental struggles that come with life in the startup ecosystem.
When I have a spare moment in my work I devote it to writing. I’m currently working on a memoir about the ten years I lived abroad (in Spain and the Netherlands) and how it helped me connect with greater self-acceptance and emotional resilience. In it I explain what led me to get trained to teach the world-renowned Mindful Self-Compassion program developed by Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Chris Germer.
Outside of work you’ll most likely find me chasing around my energetic toddler, or his furry brother (a Havanese dog). I’m in a multi-national, bilingual (Spanish-English) marriage with a former entrepreneur whose partly to blame for me becoming an entrepreneur myself and who serves as my own sounding board and cheerleader every day.
I live in the suburbs outside of Seattle, but consider myself a global citizen. I try to stay connected to this side of my identity through travel, interacting with clients, colleagues, friends and family around the world, and speaking Spanish at home. I feel most alive when I’m dancing – bachata, salsa, lindy hop, or just in my living room.
My educational background
PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
Master’s Degree in Clinical and Health Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, minor in Sociology, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, USA
I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as I can remember, long before I’d even heard the word “entrepreneur.” As young as eight I could be found selling snow cones to the neighborhood kids and trying to convince my mom I was old enough to run my own babysitter’s club.
The very aspects of my personality that have fueled this entrepreneurial spirit – passion, ambition, creativity, and a deep desire to help others – have opened up doors for me that others may have considered impossible. I’ve worked in mental health settings in multiple countries despite the fact that psychology isn’t traditionally considered an international career. I launched an exclusively online psychotherapy practice at a time when the mental health community still questioned the legitimacy of telehealth. And after building my own location independent business focused on providing therapy and coaching, I went on to co-found an online community so I can support other mental health professionals around the world who aspire to follow a similar path.
However, this entrepreneurial spirit has its dark side too. Over the years I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and burnout. I learned the hard way that in order to sustain the passion I have for the work I do, I need to ensure I am sustaining myself first.
For over seven years I worked as a therapist and coach for the globally mobile community – expats, immigrants, diplomats, and location independent professionals – which offered me the chance to work with clients from a variety of backgrounds. Despite the differences among my clients, I’ve seen many of them face the same struggles as I did. They are talented, passionate high achievers who are held back from reaching their full potential by perfectionism, self-doubt, procrastination, or burnout.
Nowhere has this impacted me more than when I see it taking place amongst entrepreneurs. Starting on the entrepreneur journey can feel like stepping onto a mental and emotional rollercoaster that’s built on top of a skyscraper. There’s so much on the line – which means yes, the highs are much more thrilling, but the lows can be that much more devastating.
When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get stuck in your own head – overthinking, doubting yourself, and being paralyzed by fear. There’s a great risk of being miserable and burning out along the way. I understand all of this far too well. I also know it doesn’t have to be like this.
I have invested years to better understand the psychology of human behavior, and the specific challenges faced by founders & leaders in the startup ecosystem, so that I could find tools to help my clients leverage their passion and ambition in their pursuit of being a successful entrepreneur, without burning out in the process.
What I’ve found is a framework and a set of effective tools that help entrepreneurs increase their confidence, efficiency, and resilience. Characteristics that enable them to constantly move forward as business owners, and progress towards making the biggest positive contribution, without sacrificing their own (mental) health and relationships along the way.
My clients have found these tools to be invaluable, and I can’t wait to share them with you.