Angela West-Brown is an Individualized Education Program Coach, Consultant, Author, Special needs sibling, wife, mother of four, and an Educational Empowerment Speaker. Her passion for America’s intellectually disabled youth is driven by the first-hand experience covered in her book, “Lost and Found” of what happens when effective adult transition planning before high school graduation is not set in place. Lost and Found was written to provide resources, tools, and support to advocate for their loved ones while supporting the entire family in the process.
Angela West-Brown is driven to provide strategic solutions to parents seeking clarity, less stress, and successful completion of IEP Transition goals. Angela West-Brown has worked in University Financial Aid and Admissions Services, Department of Family and Children’s Services and (ABD ) Aged, blind, disabled unit collectively for over 6+ years. She has a Bachelor’s in Sociology, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies/English, and a Graduate Certification in Adult Learning. Angela has completed (ICF) International Coach Federation Certification. Angela works by day as a Corporate Certified Life Coach, while birthing the dream God gave her to support the special needs community and spread awareness of the importance of a strong transition plan for special needs teens.
What inspired you to become an IEP coach alongside everything you already did?
After I wrote my book, “Lost and Found” I realized the key to a successful transition into adulthood for many special need’s children begins with a strong adult transition plan found within the IEP. I started attending adult transition planning workshops, conferences, webinars and IEP parent support groups. While partnering with Jeniece Stewart, founder of Special Needs Sibling, a local Nonprofit organization, I stumbled across a very unique and one of a kind Master IEP Coach Mentorship & training program. Catherine’s Master IEP Coach Mentorship program was the missing piece to the puzzle. I am so thankful for her expertise and guidance.
What type of certification did you get?
In order to become an effective corporate life coach for my 9-5 career. I was blessed to receive ICF Life Coach training and certification. I completed the Core Essentials training Program through CoachU. It is an International Coach Federation’s (“ICF”) approved Accredited Coach Training Program. love the fact that my employer invests in its employees and encourages ongoing professional development and training.
What initially got you interested in becoming a coach and what were some of the motivating factors behind that decision for you?
Throughout the years, people have always come to me for advice, guidance and encouragement. I never knew there was an actual name for what I was doing until someone asked me during a sisterhood workshop, “have you ever thought about being a life coach? You would be really good at it.” I went home and started doing research on it. Everything screamed “This is what you are!!! This is “who” you are. I said, lord I don’t have $2,000 right now, but I will pay for this introductory course, attend free webinars, and began moving in the direction of my dream job. My dream job ended up paying for my training and now I am a firm believer that your gifts will make room/provisions for you.
One of the most common challenges new coaches face is self-doubt. Some coaches call it Imposter Syndrome, where early on they feel somehow inadequate to take on the role of coach. What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is in the beginning stage of their coaching career and dealing with these doubts in their mind?
Yes, along this journey, no matter how far you’ve come you will always feel feelings of self-doubt. I’ve learned a very valuable lesson along the way. When you feel these feelings of self-doubt just look around you and notice who’s next to you. You are around individuals that make you feel like an imposter because you feel you don’t deserve a seat at the table. Here’s the thing, they may look at you and all your magnificence and wonder the same thing. You’ve earned this seat; you deserve this seat and so much more. Your experiences matter, your voice matter, you matter.
Can you tell us how you keep up with your work as a mother of four? How do you balance work life?
I get up at 5am every morning to pray, meditate and journal. I then plan out what needs to be done today and only today for each family member and put reminders in my phone. I then get in at least 30 minutes of exercise and take my vitamins. Self-care and planning are key to balancing it all for me.
What is the story behind “Lost and Found”?
Almost 15 years ago, my sister graduated from high school and started running away after the program she was designated to attend was no longer available. My grandmother did the best she could with the knowledge she had, but she was not aware of the valuable preparation that was supposed to take place early on. I talk about my experiences as a special need’s sibling, Aged, Blind, Disability Services Medicaid Eligibility Specialist and University Financial Aid Representative and how it all came together for my work and mission today.
Where do you get your inspiration from daily?
My children. I am determined to create a path to success for my babies. My husband. He can tell when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed. He walks up behind me and whispers in my ear to, Stay the course. He then turns me around and hold my hand tight. Its something about those two little words. It helps me tune out all the chatter, self-doubt and distractions. It helps me to focus on the big picture, MY ULTIMATE goal.
How do you stay motivated?
When my presence, services, and resources support others’ to live easy and stress free when it comes to adult transition planning for their child with special needs, I feel motivated to keep pushing.
How do you turn storms into accomplishments?
I do my best to get the lesson. There is a lesson in the midst of every storm. Some times we find ourselves on a merry go round, storm after storm and we want to get off. Some are not ready to get off. If you are tired of being in the same situation, then you will get the lesson and grow through it. So, I grow through my storms when I go through the storm. These are my greatest accomplishments.
See more of Angela on https://angelawestbrown.com