About

Want to know more about me or my work? You know I love a good question. Here are some of my favorite Frequently Asked Questions (and answers).

 

What do coaching, facilitation and writing have in common?

For a long time, I didn’t realize it myself. But then it hit me. They are all about asking questions in a quest for knowledge, clarity or action.

Why do you call yourself a communication specialist?

Because “question specialist” is too confusing. (Just kidding.) Whether I’m coaching a busy executive, facilitating a workshop on emotional intelligence for 15 managers or ghost-writing a blog entry, communication is what underlies and informs everything I do with my clients. Really getting to the root of the issue/problem/opportunity/idea in a shared way energizes people and creates forward momentum. Sometimes that takes place through direct interaction, as in coaching or training. Sometimes it occurs through the written word.

Of course questions are a key component of the communication process—especially so for my approach. But they are not the only component. Listening is equally important. That’s how you know which questions to ask and how to respond to the answers. Even when I’m writing an article, I hear the questions people might ask in my head, then I write to ensure clear answers.

How did you arrive at your current career?

Every time I felt stuck or lacking something in my career, I would ask myself, “What do you really want?” That was the easy part. Finding the honest answer and acting on it was much harder. But it got easier with time. (I think a lot of people can relate.)

So here’s the long story in a few short paragraphs:

My undergraduate degree is in mass communication from Illinois State University and I began my career in the mid-’80s as a journalist, writing and editing first for newspapers, then magazines. It was a thrill to explore a new topic or twist, learn everything I could, then strive to share that understanding in some compelling way with readers.

During my nearly 15 years in the publishing industry, I rose to the position of editor-in-chief and oversaw a staff of other editors and designers and interacted with managers from advertising and circulation. Along the way, I had a front row seat to the many challenges people face in the workplace, frequently the result of a lack of training, appropriate support or opportunity.

Midway through my rise up the corporate ladder, I embarked on a master’s degree in liberal studies at Bradley University. The amazing experience of looking at wide-ranging disciplines from new points of view, while interacting with other knowledge-seekers at different life stages, reminded me there is more to life than meeting a deadline. A few years later, after the publishing company had changed hands a couple of times and magazines were being sold off piecemeal amid daily fears of who would be next, I decided it was time to set out on my own, determined to create a healthier work environment for myself and (I hoped) others.

I hung out my shingle under the business name SVR Communications and began working as a free-lance writer, editor and project manager. I soon realized I was well-suited to the realities of self-employment, thanks to my ability to self-motivate and create my own structure. But I still felt compelled to do something for the seemingly increasing number of people feeling stressed, dead-ended or unchallenged in their jobs.

After a couple of years, I returned to Bradley University to complete a master’s degree in human development counseling. Afterward, I briefly worked as a therapist, while continuing my writing and editing business, but soon realized my true passion was for helping basically well people maximize their potential—which is exactly what the (then-new) field of coaching is all about. After additional training to become a personal and professional development coach, I added these offerings to my list of services.

In the meantime, my work as a facilitator took off when a local non-profit leader hired me to manage several major heath promotion projects, including developing a lifestyle change program designed to help individuals make incremental diet, exercise and attitude improvements that last. It was a wonderful, invigorating challenge—and the first project that married my varied services: writer (I enhanced an existing curriculum and developed new modules, as well as a facilitator training program); facilitator (with a registered dietitian, I co-facilitated multiple 12-week programs); and coach (I assisted participants in setting and reaching goals throughout the program and oversaw an alumni group to continue momentum).

That project continued in various forms for four years and set me on the path on which I continue today.

Instead of trying to decide whether I’m a coach, facilitator or writer, I realize I don’t have to choose. Today, I mix and match my skill sets as needed to meet my clients’ needs–and collaborate with a network of trusted colleagues on larger projects or those that require additional skills sets.  My clients include individuals and businesses of all sizes, including non-profits, for-profits and educational institutions. Over the years, I’ve worked with national magazines, Fortune 100 companies, small and large health-care institutions and providers, cable television producers, community colleges and many people ready to make a change in their lives—whether career- or life-based or a bit of both.

So that’s my story. What’s yours? I’d love to hear it and learn how I can help you or your organization answer whatever question is on your horizon.

Where are you located?

I live in East Peoria, Illinois, but will travel to you as needed.

What are your rates?

My competitive rates vary by type and scope of project. My clients tell me my services provide both tangible and intangible value that makes their investment worthwhile.

How can I learn more about whether we are a good fit to work together?

Let’s get together or, if you’re not in this area, talk by phone, Skype or FaceTime. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

Do you do pro-bono work?

I identify at least one pro-bono project each year. This year, to make good on a promise to myself to help kids grow into more emotionally intelligent adults, I’m developing a pilot program with Junior Achievement of Central Illinois to integrate social-emotional learning into an existing curriculum for third-graders. If you have a request for a good cause, please feel free to contact me. If I cannot be of service, I may be able to refer you to another resource.

Will you speak to my group?

I welcome the opportunity to speak with groups about what I do or topics of interest. In some cases, there is no charge.

What about SVR Communications Coaching & Consulting?

I encourage my clients to continually set new goals and strive to achieve them. I expect no less of myself. That means asking myself hard questions like: How can I make it easier for my clients to work with me? That question led to a number of changes, including a shorter last name (“Reising” instead of “Voigt-Reising”) for business purposes and using my name as my business name. Thus, no more SVR Communications Coaching & Consulting. So just call me Susan Reising—and let me know the question on your horizon.