Annie Von Essen: Your stress-busting sidekick!
I am a strategic consultant and I develop creative, group programs, both help people get big work done and find calm and joy along the way.
In my twenties, I provided mental health services in a small town in Eastern Washington. It was hard work. I supported families who were confronting racism and experiencing poverty. It was also joyful work. I worked with resilient, strong, loving families. I worked alongside stellar colleagues. I was supported and encouraged to take good care of myself.
I want this for everyone doing their work – to feel supported and heard and to love the work they are doing.
Here are a few more facts about me:
- I am a small town girl and always will be. I grew up in Yakima, Washington — apple country — amid the rivers and hills of Eastern Washington. I get feisty and proud when you ask me about my hometown. I can also give you good advice when picking out an apple!
- I live with my husband in a turn-of-the-century school. It is housing for artists which means breakfast with poets, people painting in the halls and vocal exercises at 1 am. My artist neighbors have taught me that I can live a creative life, balanced with my drive for doing good work in my business. Their examples of living beyond a “typical” life gave me the courage to start my own business.
- As an adolescent, I watched my parents grow a successful family business. Throughout college, I helped with sales and printer repair in the apple packing warehouses. I learned about persistence, hard work and ingenuity from my parents. I am still pretty good at repairing our home printer too.
- My favorite game when I was little was making up clubs. That is right – I loved getting people into groups around a common interest and then creating posters and sign-up sheets. At five years old I was already gathering people together and building organizational systems. Later, my Paula Abdul fan club had a real good time dancing in the garage.
- I geek out about our ability to change as human beings. I believe we can all continue to learn, improve and grow. I have a healthy addiction to self-improvement books. But it is not to be rivaled with my addiction to romantic comedies. (I also love a good love story.)
- Here is a big one – in my teens, I bought the story of the American Dream and who I am supposed to be – hook, line and sinker. I have been confronting these false beliefs for years. The teachings we have been taught about hierarchies and domination. And the teachings that success looks like working to the bone, feeling stress, overwhelm and exhaustion. I now know these are lies. I continue the hard work of deconstructing these antiquated doctrines. I now believe we are all enough and we are all worthy, just as we are right now. I want us all to know this. AND to treat each other this way.
Need my straight up credentials?
Here they are!
- A Master’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Public Administration from University of Washington where I had the honor of learning from fellow students and professors who shared their own stories of community change and healing.
- More than a decade working in the nonprofit and social service fields, as a mental health counselor, communications manager, fundraiser and program developer.
- Experience working in big cities, tiny towns and outside of the US.
- Running my own consulting practice for 5 plus years.
- Want to see my “cool card”? Oh, I don’t have one of those!
After my years working in direct service, I believe that running a program — even a very good program — is challenging and stressful. I believe that personal changes — even changes you long to make — are stressful, too.
There is always a need for a little more support. More clarity. Help achieving the vision and reaching the goal. That’s what I’m here for!