Celebrating our Thinking Partners: A Conversation with Shelly Berlin

This is the second installment in our “Celebrating our Thinking Partners” series to mark the 10-year anniversary of Thinking Partners. Following on our interview with Charles Holmes, in this piece, we are delighted to share our conversation with Shelly Berlin, senior management consultant, executive coach and managing partner of Berlineaton.

I met Shelly when I was first started out on my own after leaving my corporate role, feeling very ‘green’ in the big world of consulting and self-employment. Through working with Shelly, and the team at Berlineaton as an associate, I learned a lot about creating a thriving business with both heart and purpose. As someone who is such a successful entrepreneur, savvy business leader and who truly exemplifies integrity, Shelly has made a big impression on me over the years, which has encouraged me to raise my game and be more courageous in my work. I’m honoured to count her as a colleague and friend.

coach Shelly BerlinCan you share with us a little about: how you know Danae, how long you’ve known her, the context of your work together; and a little about yourself and the work you do.

I’ve known Danae for almost 10 years, and met her through another associate who introduced us. We were building our coaching practice at the time and we invited Danae to join us as an associate. She has been an associate of ours since that time, and although we don’t do a huge amount of work together, we very much value her presence on our team.

Our mission: Berlineaton provides management consulting services to visionary leaders in the public and private sectors, helping them build stronger futures for their organizations.

coaching services VancouverDescribe the impact of working with Danae and Thinking Partners?

Increased our depth. Danae is a great coach, and watching her in action has been transformational for me. It has made me appreciate the value of coaching, the unique talents good coaches like Danae possess, and this has helped me become a better coach.

What are you most proud of (in your career)? What gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction? What do you love most about what you do?

Successfully running a business for 20 years. My satisfaction comes from seeing our clients succeed not just at a corporate level, but more than that – at an individual level. Seeing our clients have breakthroughs because of our work, coaching and influence.

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What is the most significant change or shift that’s happened to you over the past 10 years?

Figuring out how to raise a family and build a business.

10 years from now, what do you think will be the change/shift?

Doing less, influencing more.

Who’s inspired you the most?

My mom and dad. They had very clear goals for our family. They were both from small communities and large families and they knew that educating their kids was a way to providing us with more opportunities than they had. They were unwavering in their commitment to this and made lots of sacrifices on our behalf.

What 3 leadership characteristics do you most admire?

  • Focus,
  • Judgement and Balance – in all aspects – for example, being goal oriented and people focused; being assertive and reflective; knowing when to act and when to pause; knowing when to lead and when to follow; knowing when to be decisive and when to collaborate.

What 3 values are most important to you and why?

  • Integrity – to me this helps everyone – it helps all of us do better and expect more of ourselves.
  • Gratitude – there is so much to be grateful for, and this is something I try to remember and express every day.
  • Abundance – I grew up with a sense of scarcity, and I’ve learned that when I come from a place of abundance this opens doors and builds relationships.

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What is the gift you still hold in exile?

Knowing I am a better person in all ways when I have less to do.

What gratitude do you hold that’s gone unexpressed?

A big thank you to my parents for the lessons they taught me and the sacrifices they’ve made. I’ve expressed it to them, but I don’t think they can ever fully comprehend how much of a difference it made in my life.

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Pick one: rock, water or wood? And why?

Water – movement, creates energy, it has the ability to change direction and change things around it, it is necessary for life.


Danae Johnson & Thinking Partners

To read more about Shelly Berlin and the work she does, you can visit www.berlineaton.com.

We are continuing to celebrate our thinking partners in 2017. Stay tuned for our next inspiring conversation!

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