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Why Thriving Woman?

Cathy Howe, Founder and Managing Coach

Thriving is such a great word.  It's so much more than surviving - it's about flourishing in a vibrant, colourful, authentic but resilient way.  We all know plants and animals thrive if they're well looked after.

I believe people need to thrive and flourish too.  I used to give talks to new healthcare staff and students about how much better the workplace is if we are always improving things so that staff, patients and services can 'flourish'.  Thriving people do better - whether it's looking after themselves, their priorities, their family, their creativity or their patients - all of which are especially important for those of us with ADHD.

And that's what Thriving Woman is all about - sharing the joy of being someone who truly thrives in life.  Every woman in this world deserves to feel empowered and self-confident, to know they are relating better to themselves and others, and actively working towards the life they truly dream about.  That includes all women - cisgender, trans and non-binary people - who relate to the desire to thrive.

Coaching has transformed me from someone who talks to people about thriving and flourishing, to someone who lives that life every day.

Cathy's background and experience

Life coach

Supporting and empowering people to achieve their goals, their ambitions and their dreams is my vocationI've been coaching people within my work for most of my career.  Becoming certified through an International Coaching Federation (ICF) accredited life coaching course has been the cherry on the cake.

I've always been interested in people and what makes them who they are. I completed a second degree in psychology with the Open University* while working full-time to learn even more. 

As a manager I believed it was a core part of my role to support and develop people to achieve their ambitions.  As a consultant and coach it is my duty to share my knowledge, skills and experience with people.  As a woman it is my passion to lift other women - we are better together.

Working with people to achieve their dreams is an incredible privilege.  There is nothing so fabulous as watching a woman come into her own power.

(*BPS recognised conversion diploma for graduates)

Cathy flying on cliff.jpg

As a woman it is my passion to lift other women - we are better together

ADHD specialist

In 2021 I was finally diagnosed with ADHD (aged 48!).  It was confirmed that I am on the autistic spectrum in 2016 but it was another 5 years before I got around to finding out for sure about ADHD - how very ADHD that is!  

After spending so much of life feeling like my brain was broken and wondering why some things seemed so much harder for me than for others, I was finally able to compassionately accept myself.

Life is so much easier and better when I work with my quirky eccentric butterfly brain instead of fighting against it.  I know that if I organise my day and my priorities to suit my unique brain instead of society's expectations I can be both content and successful

I want every woman with ADHD to know what it's like to embrace their uniqueness and play to their strengths, so I did specialist training with the ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA) and became a certified ADHD coach to be sure I'm in a great place to work with other neurodivergent people.

Cathy morning walk.jpg

Life is so much better and easier when I work with my quirky eccentric butterfly brain - which includes taking it for a walk in the morning!


Healthcare professional

I struggled to find a career path in life - my interests seemed to change every week! (I didn't know then I had ADHD)  But after I eventually finished university I realised the thing I never lost interest in was making positive contribution to others.  I wanted to make a difference.

Growing up and working with my GP dad taught me how hard clinical staff work, so I knew that being an NHS manager would be a great way to make a contribution.  My goal was to make life as easy as possible for staff so they could give great care to patients.

I joined the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and started as an operations manager, completing an MSc in Healthcare Management.  I then became an improvement specialist, undertook improvement research and published numerous papers.

For more than 20 years I worked in various hospitals, trusts, health boards, universities and national organisations.   I know that my coaching, mentoring, training, teaching and managing made a real difference to the staff I worked with - whether they were porters, domestics, doctors, nurses or pharmacists, or directors and CEOs. Every role empowered people to make even more of a difference to patients.

But it wasn't until I was working with a coach for myself that I started to learn how to be a productive healthcare professional AND to live a productive life outside of work.  Learning to apply improvement knowledge and skills to my life was a key part of making this a success. 

Coaching helped me work out how to be a successful professional and have a great life outside of work

Creative artist

Creativity is an essential part of who I am, it's how I process life and it brings me enormous amounts of joy and satisfaction to grasp the wisp of an idea and transform it into a final work. 

At school I wanted to be a creative professional. I studied Art and Music at A level and then BTEC Foundation Art.  At university I studied Fashion Design and achieved a degree in Clothing Product Development.  I then chose to go into healthcare management.  I wonder what would have happened if I'd had a coach to work with at that time.

My office now is half 'office' and half 'studio' with shelves of craft supplies, musical instruments and a sewing machine fighting for space with laptop and textbooks on coaching, psychology and ADHD. I recently completed a City & Guilds Stage 3 in Machine Embroidery for fun.  

I completely understand what it is to have a fierce creative drive - and also to struggle to balance the mundane or competing parts of life to achieve my creative dreams. 

Cathy sewing machine.jpg

I wonder what would have happened if I'd had a coach to work with when I decided to become a manager instead of a creative professional

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