Each month WCA Austin highlights a member making a difference in the communications industry in Austin, Texas. Long-time WCA member Renee Trudeau, coach/consultant, speaker/author and owner of Career Strategists and Renee Trudeau & Associates, met with us this month.

WCA: What drove you to a career in coaching/consulting and your focus on women’s empowerment and work-life balance?

Renee: I was a communications executive for 15 years and also did organizational/leadership/career development work with internal teams. I began feeling restless and a pull to help people, companies and organizations experience greater alignment; consequently, my primary focus moved to career management and work/life balance (teaching the time-tested practices that had worked for me). At the same time, I began creating stress-management and wellness programs; as part of this, I received training in mindfulness, yoga and meditation. I launched my first coaching/consulting firm Career Strategists in 2000 and then Renee Trudeau & Associates in 2004. Today my primary work is speaking/teaching/training/facilitating work-life effectiveness, self-renewal and resiliency programs—a hot area right now–at conferences, companies and to organizations around the globe. It feels so gratifying to be able to draw on all the left/right brain skills and strengths I’ve honed in the last 30 years to create unique, powerful, transformational speaking events, workshops, keynotes, retreats and custom leadership offerings. I love being self-employed and having the chance to be the visionary for my business and my future. Today, my clients include prestigious learning/retreat centers like Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and 1440 Multiversity, as well as national women’s conferences/leadership networks and corporations and nonprofits. I also do pro-bono work for local and national girls empowerment organizations. I am very grateful I get to work in some really beautiful places.

WCA: How do you start off your day?

Renee: I’m a huge fan of starting your day intentionally (read more). Brain research shows that spending as little as 5 minutes each morning—before you answer a single email—in stillness, meditation, journaling or engaging in a gratitude practice, completely affects the quality and course of your day. We are constantly creating from our current state of being so it’s key to cultivate this when you first wake up. Whether I’m on the road speaking or working from home, after a protein rich breakfast, some gentle stretching and my favorite toasted brown rice green tea, I like to do a 20-minute meditation and then reflect on what my intention is for the day. I can be a control freak at times, so lately my intention is all about letting go.

WCA: What are your hobbies, and how do you find the time to do the things you love?

Renee: I feel really alive when I’m expressing myself creatively so it’s as important to me to make it to my dance class as it is to handle an important conference call. My work is definitely a form of creative expression—teaching, coaching, speaking “from the moment”—but I also love photography, yoga and dance, natural foods cooking and hiking with my family. I also volunteer locally with Casa Marianella, a nonprofit that helps refugees who are asylum seekers and I started a nonprofit called WELLbeings (talks & community for parents of teens). This past January, I created a new intentional community for seasoned entrepreneurs called UNLEASHED ATX. I love to create and build community, empower other women and help them step into their power and shine big!

WCA: What is the first thing you recommend to help achieve a healthy, balanced life?

Renee: I teach a model for life balance/resiliency that looks like a four-legged stool: practice self-care; build a support network; manage your energy and learn to be more present. Making self-care part of your daily experience and realizing self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent is a game changer. Self-care is about self-preservation and not abandoning yourself. When you begin to stand in allegiance to yourself, this is when you fully step into your power. I define self-care as the art and science of attuning and responding to your needs and desires moment to moment. It’s not necessarily about exercising more or learning to meditate, it’s about tuning in each morning when you wake up, to ask, “What do I most need today?” and then giving that to yourself.  It’s also key to living sustainably (I was recently hired by a large foundation to lead a private retreat for 20 DC female powerhouses who are fighting the climate change battle; they wanted these women to be more effective and they knew they needed to learn the practice of self-care if they were going to be around for the long haul). I’ve written several books on how to come into balance through the art/science of self-care and I think it’s most important to remember self-care is not about fixing yourself or adding something to do-do list (we are not self-improvement projects!), but cultivating a kinder, gentler way of being with yourself. When you begin to make this shift, your life (both inner and outer) will not only feel more aligned and balanced, you’ll find how essential this skill is for living in uncertain times.  

WCA: What do you value about WCA, and how do you think others could benefit from a community like ours?

Renee: I’ve been a member of WCA since 1988. I love the non-competitive, supportive sisterhood I have enjoyed through WCA ever since I joined as a senior at TCU. I have joyfully devoted many years to this organization as a board member, volunteer and mentor and feel the return has been enormous. My closest friends came through WCA ties. I feel joining WCA is one of the best investments you can make in yourself-personally and professionally. I love sending friends, clients, vendors and newcomers to Austin to WCA because I know they will be welcomed with open arms and the connections they will make are rich, deep and fruitful. I know I’m gushing, but honestly, I love the women in this organization! Why would you slog through your career alone when you can sail through on the wings of your WCA sisters?

Three favorite blog posts to support women who are seeking more balance in their lives:

My #1 Life Balance Secret: http://reneetrudeau.com/2014/11/helps-avoid-overwhelm.html

Crazy Busy? Try Incremental Self-Care http://reneetrudeau.com/2016/10/crazy-busy-try-incremental-self-care.html

7 Reasons to Start Asking for Help: http://reneetrudeau.com/2017/10/7-reasons-to-start-asking-for-help.html

Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally-recognized coach, speaker and author. Her corporate clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences and nonprofit organizations.  Trudeau has been facilitating/creating transformational events for more than 25 years and she’s on faculty at the prestigious Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Esalen Institute and 1440 Multiversity. A sought-after life balance expert, Trudeau’s work has been featured in the New York Times, US News and World Report, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. She is the author of three best-selling books on life-balance including The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her team have trained hundreds of RTA-Certified Facilitators in more than 10 countries around the world to lead self-renewal groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She lives with her husband and teenage son in south Austin, TX.   www.ReneeTrudeau.com  Subscribe to Renee’s award-winning blog: www.reneetrudeau.com/blog

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