Jean’s affinity for mountains (and rocks of every kind!) began long before she was named Mountain Moon.
Throughout the photos on this page, you’ll see her often renew her connection with them.
Here in 1995, Jean stands looking up at the peak of Mt. San Gorgonio in Southern California, eleven miles away. As a teenager she hiked to the top from this very spot.
Where everything started...
After spending her youth heroically attempting to fit into expected molds and failing abysmally, Jean began to find her people and pathways. During her first attempt at college, a trip to the local Renaissance Faire both connected her to people who also loved sewing and wearing creative clothing, and to many artisans, musicians and refugees from the Summer of Love, the military, and cultural norms. With childhood coping mechanisms not yet understood or resolved, joining this tribe made fitting in at conventional jobs and lifestyles nearly impossible.
Jean visits the Renaissance Faire in northern California for the first time and finds the experience liberating.
Jean visits the Renaissance Faire in northern California for the first time and finds the experience liberating.
Determined to succeed in the real world, and inspired by the equality provided men and women working behind the scenes at the Faire, the idea came to her to become a long-haul truck driver while traveling the beautiful backcountry of the west. Title IX was funding resources for bringing women into the trades, and truck driving schools were looking for women to train.
Visiting Medicine Bow Forest Wyoming in 2011, just north of where Jean had her epiphany: “You mean they PAY people to drive around and look at this countryside?”
Trucking allowed an escape from not fitting in at supervised work, and offered refuge in yet another rebel life (truckers being part of the outlaw culture). And this was also a step in the direction toward relative independence. This led to running coast-to-coast for five years and partnering in owning a trucking business. When she started, months could go by without seeing another woman truck driver. When the partnership changed and the time came to move on, more and more women were seen going on the road.
Genuine gear-jamming, double-clutching trucker in action (1983)
Back on the road running as a team again during summer break from school (1996)
Dealing with health issues led to exploring alternative health care careers. Though finding what attracted her to this direction was not mainstream, she did discover an affinity for numbers while taking science and math courses. Working as a bookkeeper, she considered a third try at college to pursue accounting. Typically, she found she was not the classic corporate CPA type, but she did find excitement in classes about creating new businesses. This led to finishing her undergraduate degree in entrepreneurial management.
Visiting Yosemite Falls during a dry winter in 1994, the exposed, rugged cliff face can truly be seen.
Seeking support with change
Across these years came the first serious loss, the death of a parent. Working through the grief led to seeking support through therapy. This began a life-long exploration into understanding how people function through the study of many areas of the social sciences, wisdom traditions and healing modalities. She credits combinations of these with learning from the past and moving on, as well as realizing there is always more to learn, and further to grow.
During a visit to New Zealand to visit relatives in 1990, an opportunity to fly from Milford Sound to Queenstown allowed this incredible mountain shot.
Further health adversity set in as she began her graduate degree in information design. Once again, while truly loving the creation of useful information, taking an organizational management class led her to realize the psychology department was a better fit than business information, and finished her degree in business management. (Note: Even then, bringing her Zen Buddhist philosophy into psychology left her on the fringes–without attachment to outcomes, motivational theory is hard to apply.)
On a clear day in 2001, the flight Jean takes around Denali Peak in Alaska pauses to take in the view of the peak from the Ruth Glacier.
Success at last
During school Jean began working on accounting systems for clients, and continued with this after finishing school. Her motto became: Discovering sense in nonsense. Referrals from a CPA who was also an attorney meant many clients with serious accounting issues. She tackled heroic projects: neglected systems, moving clients from spreadsheets to accounting systems, and cleaning up and combining merged business systems. She would both design and maintain them while training personnel. The information design skills and entrepreneurial studies allowed her to create accounting systems to support business goals and outcomes.
Remote standing stones circle, Callanish, on the Isle of Harris in Scotland, allows for close-up viewing, day and night. (2002)
What really caught her attention
Curiosity about people began to surface from the accounting work. What exactly was going on when they couldn’t learn new systems? She had always been able to teach anyone anything she knew until now. Taking this question to her professors introduced her to adult learning theories and to completing her master’s thesis on transformational learning. But the practical side of how to apply what she learned wasn’t clear yet in the research and coaching as a career was still evolving as a profession. While the professors were impressed with the thesis effort, and books on transformational learning are still in the works, economic necessity kept her turned toward accounting and business development, eventually working as controller for small businesses.
Western New Mexico (2011)
Mount St. Helens, Washington (2014)
Meanwhile, Jean was developing her personal philosophy. Since high school, fitting into traditional belief systems also hadn’t felt possible. Slowly finding out about Buddhism and Zen, she found her spiritual home. Jean had come to believe that the only absolute is that there are no absolutes, and this foundational belief is expressed as a lived practice in Zen. Common understandings include: Everything is believed to have another side such that opposites (and everything else) are connected, not separate. Growth comes when seeing from multiple points of view, without the filter of judgment, making differences neither better nor worse. Equally important is the belief that everything (and everyone!) is perfect just as it is, AND can be improved. And of course, everything changes!
Resistance to changes, even ones clients desired, seemed impossible to surmount. How to help them remained an unanswered question. After entering the iPEC coaching program (see below) during the early months of the pandemic, she finally discovered her people. The answers to how to help people successfully change began to come through learning coaching skills. She also explored what had developed after finishing her thesis. More answers!! Jean found “Immunity to Change” by Robert Kegan came out the year after she graduated. THIS was the missing piece in her understanding of transformation! When people uncover their resistance to change they can believe change is possible and move forward in their lives.
Arches National Park, Utah (1996)
But she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a terrible Zen student – how to fit in there became a challenge, too. While painful at first, following her practice of remembering nothing is separate or permanent led to profound changes in her perspective. Circumstances also led to combining her sewing skills with Zen robe sewing. This led to twenty years of supporting people’s spiritual practices by assisting them with sewing. Again, sewing provided a connection to others, but this time, instead of creating beautiful costumes and clothes, the focus became providing and holding space for others at an important time in their lives as they approach Zen rites of passage. Often students were sewing for the first time, strangers to pins and needles, in a vulnerable place, and themselves worried about fitting in as they go down a path no-one else in their life has traveled.
(left) Jean wearing her Buddhist robe in 2003, that she aids others in sewing.
(right) Preparing sewing for students in 2018.
Supporting the sewing students developed the exact skill set needed as a coach: to hold space, to listen without judgment, to keep the faith that everything is going exactly according to plan, and that everyone is doing the best they can. Following her path, her way, has brought her to realize the importance of trusting in our hearts’ guidance for success, and involving others in the process. And that change, becoming our unique selves, has its own timetable. When readiness and circumstances meet, then the magic happens!
Grand Tetons, Wyoming (2007)
Jean chose iPEC for its exceptional learning environment and renown support during and post graduation. Their program is certified through ICF (International Coaching Federation) and Jean now has ACC accreditation with ICF. They rapidly adapted to the virtual world and continued to deliver training during the first year of the pandemic. What really excited her about the program is the focus on the energy of perceptions and emotional states as they relate to leadership. Learning how people see the world and why they see it the way they do (because of values, filters and assumptions), augments the capacity for change and promotes leadership skills.
Earners of the Certified Professional Coach (CPC) certification have satisfactorily completed the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Coach Training Program consisting of 160 instruction and practice hours and have passed the final exam in accordance with approved International Coaching Federation (ICF) requirements. Earner demonstrates knowledge and proficiency using iPEC’s proprietary method of Core Energy Coaching™ and in core competencies outlined by the ICF.
Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
Issued by ICF Credentials and Standards Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential-holders are trained (60+ hours) and experienced (100+ hours) coaches. They have demonstrated knowledge and emerging proficiency in the application of the ICF Core Competencies, Code of Ethics, and definition of coaching. Earners show a commitment to high ethical standards and have demonstrated, through rigorous assessment, professional competence in their work with clients. The ACC must be renewed every three years.
Earners of the Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) certification have completed the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) training necessary to coach and debrief clients utilizing this researched, proprietary tool. Earners are proficient in the training, experience, and skills to analyze and interpret the data from the ELI Assessment results and partner with clients to uncover opportunities for deeper awareness, optimal performance, and growth.
Recommended by Forbes Coaching Council as an assessment every executive should take.
This workshop offering continuing education credit for coaches really made the difference for Jean in understanding how to work with the material from the book, “Immunity to Change.” How she works with clients benefitted from hearing directly from the researchers and authors about their work, and receiving training from their certified coaches on the Immunity to Change exercise. What is marvelous about the exercise is how the whole client becomes involved in setting the course for maximizing potential. Particularly in the new reality of the pandemic, when people’s home and work lives have blended, change that includes the whole person matters more than ever.
Jean credits the amazing and detailed information from their assessments with realizing she had become the kind of person who could be a coach. Find out what work and career you are most qualified for, how you think and make decisions. For any business owner or manager, the results from these assessments provide crucial information to guide hiring and managing your employees and teams for the greatest results.
San Francisco State University
BS in Business
MBA in Business (concentrations in management and information)