Jackie Corcoran loves her career path. Through health coaching, art instruction, public speaking and writing, she helps people transform their lives, reach their goals and strengthen their leadership and communication skills.
In 1995, after graduating from Columbia University in New York City, Jackie took a road trip bound for Big Sky, MT. She fell in love with the landscape, community and Lone Peak and took up residence. Her degree in English Literature was just barely put to use as she worked for minimum wage in a local book store. In a search for a better paying job, she started her own business and began teaching plein air oil painting lessons to guests at the ranches and resorts in Big Sky (regurgitating all of the theories that her favorite art teacher espoused.)
It was through this 17 year endeavor as a private art instructor that she mastered the ability to transform a situation that causes feeling of vulnerability and unease into a space of trust and joy. She also honed her skills of patience and learned to have faith in the creative process.
After two cold Montana winters, she gave California a try and drove to Sunnyvale where a friend worked as a senior software engineer at Apple. There she became personal trainer and worked in a high-end sports club in Santa Clara and trained and became friends with clients from Silicon Valley. She became an expert of juggling schedules, adapting to constant change and helping people tap into their innate strengths.
A failed relationship and frustration with heavy traffic nudged Jackie back to Big Sky, MT where she continued to pursue art and personal training, met her husband and raised a puppy.
While working as a personal trainer at the Ridge Athletic Club in Bozeman, it came to her attention that most people can’t out-exercise a bad diet. In order to serve her clients better, she sought out a nutrition counselor. Coming up short of finding a professional who’s values aligned with her own, she took it upon herself to get educated in the field. Through research and deliberation she realized that Holistic Health Coaching was her next calling.
The online health coaching school she attended, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition based out of New York City, requested that all students join Toastmasters and write regularly due to the nations health decline and the need to spread the word of good health. These suggestions led Jackie to writing a regular health column called “From Jackie with Love” and giving a TedX Bozeman talk on how the U.S. can become the healthiest country in the world by 2040.
In addition to Toastmasters giving her the courage and skills to give a TedX talk, it gave her hands on experience in team building and leadership. After experiencing the benefits of attending a Toastmasters group in Bozeman, she wanted to start a club for her friends, colleagues and community members in Big Sky.
Jackie Corcoran sent out a survey to over 100 residents inquiring if this was something they desired. With an 80 percent response rate, the overwhelming response was, “Yes”. She then connected with the Toastmasters Area Governor and asked his advice on how to proceed. One of his first questions was, “What’s the population?” When she told him there are approximately 2,500 year round residents he said that Toastmasters prefers not to start clubs in cities of less than ten thousand. But she was determined and believed it would get fast traction and flourish.
In June 2017, after being chartered for only one year and eight months—Big Sky’s Toastmasters club became a “Select Distinguished Club”. This means it’s viable with a growing membership who show up consistently and do the work. This yearly honor is bestowed on less than 30 percent of Toastmasters clubs around the world.
But the TedX talk wasn’t only possible because of Toastmasters. The concepts behind the speech wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for a fateful “Montana Employer Well Being Conference” Jackie attended. There she learned that toxic workplace cultures create high turnover, low moral and sicker/more often injured employees. This was an, “Aha!” moment. Up until that point, Jackie’s ‘big hairy audacious goal’ was to help end childhood obesity. She then realized that obesity is a symptom of a culture that values convenience over health. This led to a deep dive into culture—starting with the inaugural course offered by Jon Robison and Rosie Ward on becoming a “Thriving Workplace Culture Professional.”
Today, Jackie Corcoran has a deeper understanding of the profound connection between health and culture in both our professional and personal lives. As she continues to study organizational behavior, leadership, communication and health, her belief that the lessons from flourishing and/or dying companies are often applicable to individual health and well being. She’s hopeful that as companies continue to place value on employee well being in a holistic sense (including financial well being, stress management, clear communication, etc.), we will experience a shift in the health of not only America’s population but the world’s.