I'm Stephanie Davis. You can call me Stef. I am an Entelechist - I help to actualize the full potential of people and companies. I have coached hundreds of high-achieving executives and entrepreneurs and I've consulted and trained for hundreds of companies from start-ups to international conglomerates. I usually just coach and consult, but in some cases, I became a "right hand" for the founder and took on a fractional roles such as International Marketing Director, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and President.
I am formally educated in Psychology, Business, and Systems Theory and have spent thousands of additional hours getting trained and certified in a myriad of techniques, processes, methods, and models that facilitate growth, innovation, achievement, and transformation.
People that have seen me work call me a "swiss army knife" because I'm not one of those "all I have is a hammer, so I see everything as a nail" types. I have multiple frameworks and a myriad of tools to solve different issues effectively. I named my company, Optimal Change, because all change is definitely not equal.
Here are some of my most notable clients:
WHAT CLIENTS HAVE SAID
“Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Your work was timely and of great value to me and the entire staff. In the past 12 months, our division has been dramatically impacted by change and insecurity about the future. You really hit home on how to deal with these issues. The feedback was very positive. There has been a renewed sense of enthusiasm in our workplace
as we put into practice all of your suggestions.”
Kathy Bobitt / Bank of America
“Stephanie Davis = deep wisdom + unconditional compassion filtered through a mind that processes information like a network of supercomputers! She is one-of-a-kind coach and gets 5 stars across the board from me! ”
Jonathan England / Earthwaking University
“Stephanie is an amazing and astute executive coach. She knows what works and what doesn’t and has distilled years of experience into a wonderful package. Whether you have a personal or business problem, she can give you a perspective and tools that will leave you amazed. She has great business acumen, a pleasing sense of humor, and her advice has been more effective than most of the coaching I have received from other mentors. I highly recommend working with Stephanie!”
Garima Seth/ Apple
“Our managers still refer to what 'Stephanie' taught them to do and the effects have been remarkable. Employees who were actively opposed to the changes became advocates. Those who were coached became noticeably better than their peers in dealing with difficulties. The effort was a grand success and its success is directly attributable to
Ms. Davis' skill and professional knowledge”
Ernie Price / MWR, US Marine Corps
“Your work was instrumental in helping our employees ride the waves of change. Many employees shared their deep appreciation. I especially appreciated your style. Your work was instrumental in controlling the costs associated with organizational change. The year that you worked with our employees we dramatically reduced the number of sick days and Workers' Compensation Stress claims. Keep up the great work for organizations who wish to be proactive in dealing with change!”
Mary Paul / Bank of America
"Every member of our team was very positive with compliments about your work. We will definitely schedule you again”
Denis Bilden / Transamerica Title
“You are an excellent leader, demonstrating rare qualities. I strongly recommend your work to any company.”
Andrew Kong / Canon
Story, Background & Training
People are Strange Animals ...
When I was 5 yrs old, I wanted to be an Eskimo when I grew up. I have no idea how I got that idea stuck in my head but it persisted for years. I talked my parents into buying me a fur parka, built igloos in my backyard, and went barefoot in the snow to "toughen myself up". When I got to the second grade, I saw a Geography book and switched my desired profession to "Geography Book Writer." I wanted to travel to all those places and meet all those different types of people. In High School, my focus shifted to Psychology. What makes people tick? What gets them stuck? Why do some people ascend to the highest levels of humanity while others sink to the lowest? Why are some people massively impacted by trauma and others seem to brush it off? How can people freely move on? How and why does Jung's hidden "shadow" work? Is Maslow's hierarchy really accurate? What can be done to facilitate growth and excellence? How can hidden forces be uncovered so the best self can be set free? I never stopped searching for answers to these questions.
I did my Bachelor's degree in Psychology intending to become a therapist, but after a brief internship in a Mental Hospital in Los Angeles, I realized that as much as I loved helping the disturbed and downtrodden, I really didn't have the temperament to deal with perpetually stuck states. I'm willing to compassionately dive into the weeds and deal with complex issues and problems, but at the end of the day, I want to see progress and ultimately, positive results. Of course, patients in an institution are at the extreme end of "stuck", but I knew that even in a regular therapy practice, I would probably have to deal with a lot of patients who wanted support, but didn't really want to change.
Know Thyself ...
This caused a major shift in my life trajectory. I could no longer imagine myself becoming a therapist and working with people who were down and trying to get to normal. I knew my impatience and pit bull-like drive towards peak performance and pollyanna would make me pretty bad at it, so I switched tracks. I decided to work with people who were already at least normal and were interested in fulfilling their highest potential. I began focusing my studies on human growth (not pathology) and searched for methods and processes that were brief, effective, and truly transformative for people who were ready to change.
In the meantime, I had to earn a living. Since having a Bachelor's in Psychology was only worth about a cup of coffee on the job market, I decided to go into Sales since it involves Psychology and there's no ceiling on your income. (There's no floor either, but I was a risk taker). I quickly became the top salesperson at a Fortune 500 company and moved into Sales Management where I was shocked to discover that companies have "psychological" issues too. They are often as stubborn and unwilling to change for the better as people are! My interest in human stuckness and growth potential expanded to include teams and companies. I started a consulting, training, and coaching company and began working as a catalyst for both psychological and corporate growth.
While working with coaching and consulting clients, I continued as an avid learner. I studied and certified to NLP Mastery levels with Grinder, Bandler, LaBorde, and Steve & Connirae Andreas. I mastered Core Transformation and the Wholeness Process. I became a Hypnotherapist. I did levels 1 & 2 of Reiki & Matrix Energetics. I learned the Sedona Method. I studied "clearing" techniques of all kinds- including, IEMT, Clear Beliefs and the Lefkoe Method. I went deep with Positive Psychology, Jungian Analysis, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Emotional Intelligence. I studied Optimism with Martin Seligman, Peak Performance with Tony Robbins and John Maxwell, "Flow" with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and "Grit" with Angela Duckworth. I researched everything I could find on stress and human emotions - especially the so-called "negative" ones like anger, depression, shame, and fear, and pesky things like worry and anxiety. I trained in Archetypes, Metaphors, Clean Language, Mental Space Psychology, and Social Panoramas. I trained for weeks in MARI to understand how colors and symbols speak to and reveal subconscious themes and got trained and certified in the use of a brain neurofeeback system called "Neuroptimal".
I studied many personality systems including The Big 5, Meyers-Briggs, DISC, Strengths Finder, Kolbe, and Human Design, but my favorite obsession in this arena is the Enneagram. I was fortunate to have trained in person for weeks with Claudio Naranjo, Don Riso, Russ Hudson, Helen Palmer, David Daniels, Tom Condon, Eli Jackson Bear, Kathleen Hurley, Ted Donson, and Robert Holden. I've taken workshops and online courses from Stephen Wolinsky, Belinda Gore, Michael Naylor, Lynda Roberts, Jerome Wagner, Katherine Fauvre, Belinda Gore, Deborah Ooten, Beatrice Chestnut, Uranio Paes, Mario Sikora, and many more. While I don't hold the Enneagram as rigidly as some do (I see it more as a dynamic and polar tensegrity structure) I do believe it is a very useful map of the human psyche and I find it to be an incredibly useful addition to my coaching and consulting. I'm certified as an Enneagram coach, practitioner, and teacher and am one of a rare handful of people "Accredited with Distinction" by the International Enneagram Association. I've attended and spoken at Enneagram Global Conferences for many years.
Back to School...
Because my interest expanded beyond individuals to include human collectives in business and society, at some point, I decided to go back to school and get a Ph.D. in Systems Theory. A couple of years into learning about processes, complexity, living systems, self-organization, fractals, attractor patterns, and emergence, a serious family tragedy required that I stop going to school and act as a full-time nurse. After almost a year of being cooped up with beeping machines and bloody bandages, I jumped at the offer from a client in South East Asia to head up his international expansion efforts for several years. So I never finished a Ph.D. in it, but I continued to study Systems Theory and had the privilege of taking a wonderful weeks-long course with Fritjof Capra. Systems Theory is the framework for everything I do.
Busy with Business...
I also voraciously read books and journals about business - everything from Leadership and Teambuilding, Sales and Marketing, to managing the Chaos of Change and being a Market Disruptor. I studied Peter Senge's Learning Organizations, trained in TQM, Scrum, and Agile, along with methods for Creativity, Innovation, and Customer Journey Enhancement. I led Empowerment Initiatives for companies that wanted to shift from a "command and control" culture to one with leaders as coaches and facilitators of excellence. I led Executive Retreats and executed 360° company-wide surveys and did management coaching and training. I worked on Customer Service Improvement Initiatives and qualified for certification as a Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). I also did a multi-year MBA with the Power Business School - where you don't just learn the "tried and true" concepts from textbooks, you also learn cutting-edge ideas and strategies directly from the real-life founders and leaders of today's most successful companies. Being live on zoom with world-class Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Authors, and Executives (like Uri Levine, Marc Randolph, Mo Gawdat, etc.) and being able to ask them questions made this one of my favorite programs. I also dove deep into the concept of polarities. First I trained in Structual Consulting with Robert Fritz (Path of Least Resistance) and later with Barry Johnson (Polarity Partnerships). I've helped thousands of people navigate the white-water rapids of change in business.
Life's a Pitch...
Last, but not least, ever since I worked began working as a saleswoman, I read everything I could get my hands on about sales, marketing, influence, persuasion, and decision-making. Knowing how to take a mind from where it is, to where you want it to be is at the core of so much of what I do. I trained in all the original sales methods and then shifted to SPIN when Neil Rackham announced his research findings. I'm allergic to manipulation and only use and teach Synergistic and Consultative Sales Methods, but whether you want to lead angry, disinterested or disgruntled employees, convince someone to buy something, get someone to marry you, or get a toddler or teenager out of bed - make no mistake about it, it's a sale. You need to be good at pitching and influencing to really get ahead in this world!
With the rise of the internet, much of the selling has moved to online "funnels," so I took thousands of hours of courses in online marketing and got certified as a Digital Marketing Specialist. I don't sell that digital marketing as a service (because I think you're in better hands with someone doing it every day) but my strategic knowledge in this area has been very helpful for my coaching and consulting clients.
The Point of it All...
All of the things I've listed above have been about what humans are up to in the earthly realm. For as long as I can remember, I've also been a spiritual seeker in close communion with our Maker. I grew up Catholic, and went to Catholic schools, yet, have no "mean nun" stories to tell. To me, the rites and rituals were wonderful. I did one year of college at a nondenominational Christian University and later studied the major Christian denominations along with Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Nonduality, and Islam.
I have a deep reverence for any spiritual path that leads a person to higher levels of being. While I don't peddle a particular dogma or doctrine, if (and only if) a client has a spiritual path, I love to incorporate their spirituality into their coaching program because it often brings deeper meaning and motivation and brings about a higher order of change.