American by birth and British by naturalization, I am a citizen of the Western world and a student of Eastern philosophy.
A native of a quaint town called Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, I was the third of six children (all born within seven years of each other). Raised in a close-knit Catholic family, I was taught to engage with life as a journey in faith.
For me, life became exactly that … a profound journey in faith.
As a teen grappling with all matters of God and growing up, I participated in and lead youth retreats, experiencing from a young age the power of reflection and re-connection.
A humanitarian at heart, I volunteered for the COTY project, an outreach organization lead by a special nun and friend investing in the sustainability of a remote village in Haiti.
There, I discovered that true 'wealth' has nothing to do with money.
I attended university at Boston College ... and became an Eagle. Despite a keen interest in Philosophy and Writing, I chose instead to prepare for my ‘earning’ future ... so I enrolled in the School of Management. Little did I realize that my most in-depth lessons in Philosophy would derive from working in Management ... in a bank.
An eagle's strength is its ability to observe the world from a heightened perspective.
A humanitarian recruited into investment banking, I arrived on Wall Street at twenty-one years old. Swapping baseball hats for shoulder pads, umbro shorts for skirts and sneakers for heals, I landed in the business of "Futures & Options" ... as irony would have it. At twenty-three, I was transferred to London on a one-year assignment ... that lasted twenty. Ultimately, the move would challenge, redefine and refine everything I knew of myself and my world. A Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer by my early thirties, I was a ‘success’ through most eyes ... except my own.
I had title, position and financial freedom ... but there was a void.
A series of life-changing events ... including a husband's affair, a miscarriage, a lumpectomy and office misconduct ... unleashed a profound self-reckoning and deep spiritual awakening. By day, I excelled in the city, by night, I was met with dreams and encounters guiding a very different path. Uncertain as to the 'source of the discourse', I began a journey of self-exploration questioning all that was arriving in my world in parallel to my high-paced, high-profile career. If I was going to place reputation and financial stability on the line to follow a path which, by societal definition, would potentially devastate my career and scrutinize my sanity, I wanted to be a bit more embracing of my seeming insanity.
I began to wonder, 'Is there more to life than meets the eye?'
I lived a parallel existence for several years, stretching the boundaries of human-material (as banker) and human-spirit (as intuitive healer). I left the city twice, but not for good until one Christmas morning, December 25th, 2007, when I woke to a dream showing me it was time now to go fully in my new direction.
"I was in the frying pan. ... I saw the fire ... [I was getting] out of the frying pan into the fire. I saw that every part of me would be encompassed by the flames, but [was shown that] people survive that ... they simply become their souls. Their skin and bones dissolve, but their spirit takes shape. They become their spirit." (Dream)
Awakened with the 'knowing' that everything was about to come in on itself, I returned to the office ... and resigned. By then, I had learned to listen to my dreams.
It was time to return to my soul.
No banker resigns in January. Bonuses are generally announced or paid around that time. It was a time to keep one’s mouth shut and wait to get paid before announcing such changes. Risking finances for authenticity, I chose to speak up in January anyway ... explaining to my bosses (who had grown accustomed to my ‘dreams’) that I would soon be leaving & wanted to prepare the teams. Respecting my openness and willingness to collaborate on a positive transition, they worked with me.
I left in June. The market collapsed in September.
When the market was brought to its knees, I was already on mine.
I landed full-time into a business I had established three years earlier called, Inside Out Retreats, a center for mindfulness, healing and personal development marking another profound phase in my own transformation. When the market collapsed a few months later, I was on the floor folding towels already entrenched in my new life. I didn’t just land on my feet when I began following my dreams ... I landed on my knees and prepared to serve from there. It was the beginning of a life more aligned to my own sense of purpose. Others with as much to lose deemed my pursuit of self-actualization irresponsible and idealistic, albeit profoundly brave. Facing the mirror of self-scrutiny hurt every day, but inside me there was no other path except that of surrender ... to the internal knowing that I couldn’t align with the old anymore anyway.
Re-writing 'me', despite the many layers of doubt and despairing scrutiny, I was learning what it meant to have faith.
Learn More → Inside Out Retreats
Over those years, I became an energy practitioner, built a coaching practice, studied with psychologists, shaman, spiritual teachers and healers all over the world and hosted internationally renowned writers, speakers, musicians and visionaries all focused on evolving change through conscious personal transformation. Combining spiritual ideals with grounded corporate experience, I launched an 'Academy of the Inner Self' and facilitated training programs focused on developing five key elements of authentic expression: intuition (self-trust), emotion (internal truth), expression (self-confidence), energy (congruence with one’s truth) and aspiration (the hunger for fulfillment).
It was about authenticity ... starting with my own.
Learn More → Consulting
Learn More → Workshops
Learn More → Retreats
I have explored and experienced the extreme-material world through business and finance and the extreme-spiritual world by communing with priests, religious, mediums, shaman and healers all over the world. Many in both worlds have inspired my journey. Today, I share the insights, training and skills gained through my experiences with people from all walks of life as they are called to transform their worlds. From 8 year olds to CEOs, I work with individuals and organizations to facilitate change through personal transformation. Coaching all who wish to lead and affect change in their world, we focus first on creating that change consciously from within.
In constant evolution within myself, I find inspiration in helping others to courageously do the same.
Learn More → Coaching
Learn More → Black Diamond HR Consulting
150+ journals document the experiences and dreams which have lead me to serve now as coach, facilitator and writer. Capturing the first 100 journals, I have written "Magic Glasses", a series on the journey of the human spirit. Revealing the vulnerability and imperfection of my own story in service to others facing a similar life deconstruction, reconciliation and reconstruction, "Magic Glasses" explores the human desire to know, scrutinize and challenge whether there really is 'more' to life than meets the eyes ... and the complex struggle to believe that.
To create a different reality takes the courage of a new set of eyes ... and a commitment to believe them.
Learn More → Magic Glasses
Happily re-married and living in Malibu, California with my husband and my fur baby, I am now ... Alison. Writing, coaching, consulting, facilitating retreats, making films, relating with friends, family, clients and colleagues around the globe, I am living life authentically aligned to all of me. Whether working with private individuals or executives, abundance aspiring organizations or spiritually evolving groups, I continue to transform my world and support others doing the same ... by working from the inside out.