Rebel Your Way Towards Your Authentic Self And Success With Shelley Paxton

Graphics - Episode Art - Banner - VCP 166 Shelley Paxton

Rebellion means going against the flow. To rebel is to be authentic and true to yourself, and it is in this we find success on our own terms. Tony Martignetti sits down to interview corporate rebel Shelley Paxton on what it means to go against the flow. Shelley shares her journey from teenage hell-raiser to corporate superstar and her true, authentic self. Insightful and joyful, let Shelley's message inspire you on your own path.


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Rebel Your Way Towards Your Authentic Self And Success With Shelley Paxton

It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Shelley Paxton. Think of Brené Brown meets Biker Babe, with a dash of Liz Gilbert. That's what you have. Shelley is a former Chief Marketing Officer of Harley-Davidson. She found herself at the top of the proverbial mountain, feeling success-empty instead of success-full. That awakening led her on a profound soulbbatical journey that it became her mission, business and bestselling book, Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel's Guide To Finding Your Best Life.

She's leading a REBELution to rewrite the script of success and liberate a billion souls. Shelley brings that passion into podcasting with her Rebel Souls Podcast. Go check it out. It's amazing. If you're ready to flip the middle finger to the status quo in life and business, welcome home. Rebel Souls explores what it means to rebel for who you are, what you want, and the impact you want to have in the world. Buckle up for some serious badassery and a whole lot of inspiration. She lives in Chicago when she's not indulging her wanderlust as she moves around the world. She is obsessed with the color orange. I am so thrilled to welcome you to the show, Shelley.

I'm so honored to be here, soul brother.

It's funny you mentioned this because we share the same birthday, which I love. Every time I remember that, I'm like, "I got to reach out to Shelley on her birthday."

We have had a special connection since we first met. This is an honor. Thank you. I love what you're doing.

I'm looking forward to digging into your story to uncover what has brought you to this place where you're making such a big impact as in billions of souls. I want to be part of this mission to make sure we're driving you towards that big goal.

I'm grateful. You know me. The juicier, the better. Let's dig in.

Why don't we rebel for versus rebel against?  At the end of the day, if we're being true to ourselves, we are rebels. 

One of the things that we do in this show is create a space for people to share these moments that have ignited their gifts into the world, these flashpoints. As you're sharing your story, we'll pause on the way and see what's showing up, what are the themes that have created who you are in the world. Along the way, we'll stop and see what appears. With that, I'm going to turn it over to you and have you take it away.

You did a beautiful intro with my bio. I can give a bit of my history and then pause on my experience at Harley, which was the gateway to everything. It has shaped who I am in this crazy big-ass mission that I'm on. How does that sound?

It sounds fantastic. I like the fact that you're going to go a little bit back because there are a lot of nuggets of truth that come from those early days.

There's a reason why you read things like "REBELution, rebelling for," and all that language in my bio. From the early days, I would argue that I was a rebel in training. I'm sure my parents would too, from the second I popped out of the womb. I had a wild childhood from my formative years when you're going through puberty. I was a competitive swimmer when I was young. My energy was focused and channeled into these competitions and being a great swimmer. I was more disciplined because I was showing up for practice and had something to focus on.

As I started to develop, given my body shape and my talent, it was very clear that I was not going to be an Olympic swimmer. I pivoted into embracing my rebel. That is the politest way to tell my story. At about the age of 14 and 15, I went from competitive swimmer into sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I decided that I was going to rebel against it. I grew up rebelling against young parents who were very strict, who brought us up in a Catholic household, who had us going to church and what was known in those days as CCD or your Bible classes.

I was like, "This doesn't fit. This doesn't feel good." I'm the annoying one who's asking a lot of questions in these classes, and the church was like, "You're out of here." I was not loved in those classes. I was not welcome and was not invited back. Now that I look in the rear-view mirror, I understand I was rebelling against my parents, authority and upbringing because I always felt like, "This isn't me." I'm being asked to conform and do life on someone else's terms. I realized that I started to get good at playing other people's games. It's like, "To succeed, it needs to look like this thing."

In the background, I was becoming a little hellion driving cars in lakes, and all the other kinds of stuff that I talk about in the book, just to give a flavor for what I was experiencing. I can think back to my sixteen-year-old self whose ne'er-do-well boyfriend drove a car into a lake and say, "I get it now." Rebelling against is fighting against these terms that someone else is defining. You're banging your head against that brick wall. That's exhausting. It's constricting. It's not energizing at all. That's when I had this epiphany around this idea of, "Why don't we rebel for versus rebel against?"

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At the end of the day, if all of us we're being true to ourselves, we are rebels. We're all rebel souls. I know not everybody identifies with the term rebel or the verb rebel. Part of what I have realized and invited everyone to do is authenticity is the truest form of rebellion. We're all rebels if we're doing it on our terms and we’re courageous enough to live our truth in all facets of our lives. That's such a beautiful thing. It began early and it was not constructive. Many decades later, I'm seeing how this pivot to rebelling for can be the most empowering, expansive, and energizing concept ever.

I love the way you take rebel and bring it into a powerful and creative force. I've been talking about the Leadership Circle, which is a program I was certified in. They talk about reactive versus creative and how those two forces are yin and yangs. If you think about what rebelling is, instead of a reactive force and rebelling to a negative, it's using rebel as a creative force. You've already harnessed that. It doesn't have to feel like it's setting you back or you're fighting against. It feels as though you're creating to rebel.

It is forward momentum. It is creative energy because we are all creative forces. It was Viktor Frankl who initially talked about your choice to react or respond. You made me think about that. Rebelling against is a reaction to. Rebelling for is a creative force that is a response to. That is carrying you forward. I think about that in the context of our lives, leadership and culture. I want to see us create both in companies and outside of companies. I don't think there has ever been a more appropriate or pivotal moment for us to be having this conversation than now as we're emerging from this pandemic and as we're in the midst of the Great Resignation.

I talk about my work as an urgent invitation to be the change we want to see. Rebelling for is only one piece of that. I went through years where I’m acting out and rebelling against. I understand now that I was always in search of where I belonged. I certainly didn't understand the Brené Brown like, “You do belong.” The search isn't to fit in. It's to belong. What does true belonging look like? I wasn't going to learn that one for decades. When I graduated, I went to school at Boston College.

I left there and started a sexy job in advertising at a big global advertising agency. I spent the rest of my 26-year career in high flying roles in advertising and marketing, on the agency and the client side, for some incredible brands. I lived and worked around the world, serving McDonald's, Visa, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, AOL, and the cherry on top was Harley-Davidson. We'll talk about that because that was what I thought was the mountain top. The reason I bring up this part of the story is because I was in search of.

I know that so many people can relate to that part of the story where it's like, "Where are my people? Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?" I'm trying on these different cultures, landscapes and brands. I got comfortable in this very shiny, polished, sexy career that was a ticket to travel around the world in style and to live in fabulous places like Istanbul, Turkey, Shanghai, China, New York City and Chicago. Through that, I fell in love with the world. I started to learn a lot more about myself and that home isn't necessarily one place.

Now I understand that home is us. It is what we create from the inside out. I certainly didn't understand that or have the language around that at the time. I called it rebel hide and seek. I was bouncing around the world like, "Try to find and catch me. I'm living this cool, sexy, shiny life," but I was trying to outrun myself and not sit there. That was rebel phase two.

Authenticity is the truest form of rebellion.

Oftentimes there are parts of you that you don't want to face, so you keep on running from it until it starts to come to this place of like, "I'm still here."

It's like, "These things followed me around the world. It doesn't matter how sexy the location is." I write about that in the book. The power place can feed your soul but it can't fix it. That is a big lesson.

A lot of that show up in the world and these high-flying jobs that you talk about. There’s a lot of that image we carry where it looks good on the outside, but we haven't really fixed a lot of that stuff on the inside yet. We're going to get deeper into that. There's something that I feel very viscerally around the experiences the other people and I have had where you think that being happy is about having these things.

I organized the book around some of this. When I looked back at these chapters of my life, I realized that they were being driven by my shoulds, "I've invested all this time and energy, so I should stay on the corporate track. I do not want to disappoint my dad because this is my dad's dream." We'll get into this where I realized I was living my dad's dream, and it took me a long time to understand that. I call these the shackles of should.

In my book and the reflection on my own journey, there are many and they still are. I'm human, and you're human. We catch ourselves in the shoulds all the time. The important thing is the awareness of like, "I said that, so what's behind it? Am I doing this out of guilt or obligation or people-pleasing? What is it?" We can get curious and investigate it. Fast forward a bit in the story, I married a wonderful man who I met in Turkey. He became my husband. We traveled the world together. We moved from Istanbul to New York City to Chicago and then briefly over to Shanghai.

The reason we went to Shanghai was with the global media agency I was working for at the time working on big global iconic clients. I was asked by the client and the company to work with a very senior-level executive in the McDonald's business on revamping and building up McDonald's in China. The truth is it was not the right time in my life to take that opportunity. I didn't want to go. My now ex-husband and I were trying to have children. I should-ed all over myself. I was like, "I should go because if I don't go and do this thing, they're not going to see my value. They're not going to promote me." There were all these stories that we tell ourselves.

I created an entire narrative that was based on no reality and no fact at all. As a high potential who was being sent to leadership programs with Harvard Business school professors, I still convinced myself that I was going to be fired if I didn't say yes to this opportunity. I dragged my husband and me to Shanghai. We were both world travelers and adventurers. It was exciting, no doubt about it. It was not the right opportunity, nor was it the right time. Had I sat still, checked in with myself, and had a deeper conversation with my then-husband, I would have gone back and said, "No."

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What's interesting is we went. It was a short assignment, and I got incredibly ill. My whole digestive system quit. We didn't know what was wrong with me. Northwestern in Chicago couldn't treat me, and they are an incredible hospital. I had to go and get the treatments at the Mayo Clinic for about a year. It ended up being a bacterial infection that took so long to diagnose. It tore a lot of my digestive system from top to bottom. That was a wake-up call that I didn't listen to.

When we should on ourselves and make those choices that are not an aligned yes, that are out of alignment with our truth, that we're doing because we’re pleasing somebody else, or doing it out of obligation, that's when we feel it. We check in. My body was like, "We're going to wake you up because you made yet another decision that was completely out of alignment." When I came out of that, I thought very differently about my life.

It was the beginning of the end of my marriage. I fast-forwarded through a lot of years because I was with him for a sum total of 11 or 12 years. Most of them were very good years, but as I emerged from that, I started to realize, "I don't know that we're aligned. I want to think deeply about what I want in my own life and journey." It was at the beginning of us growing apart. We went into full divorce, and on the heels of that divorce, I got a knock on my proverbial door. That was Harley-Davidson calling.

Imagine that you're sitting in my shoes. You're now recovered from this crazy illness. You've got your life back. You've turned 40. You're fresh off the divorce. I wanted something to remind me that I'm a badass rebel. I wanted something to grab a hold of, and then Harley-Davidson came knocking and said, "Will you come?" At the time, it was to be their VP of Global Marketing because they were trying to create a much more impactful and connected visionary global marketing organization. It was disparate at the time. Ultimately, I did go. I became the Chief Marketing Officer of Harley-Davidson. How sexy is that?

I spent six and a half years in total at Harley. I don't regret a minute of my 26-year career or any of it at Harley. I got to ride motorcycles around the world. People would give appendages for a role like that. This speaks to a lot of the work that you do. I was like, "I've worked decades to get to what I thought was the mountain peak. I'm fighting and climbing, and now I'm in this rarefied air. I need the oxygen." I felt so empty inside. I kept wondering and felt guilty for wondering, "Is this all there is? Have I worked this hard and didn't feel fulfilled? How do you get to that point?" That's why I created that language, "You feel success-empty, not success-full." There was no part of me that felt full from the inside out.

I was like, "What's going on here?" My book starts with the nightmare that started to rip me out of my sleep five nights a week. That was the universe and my soul conspiring to go, "We're going to whisper, shout, and whack you with a 2x4 so you listen to what's going on here." That was years ago when I left Harley. That was the beginning of me starting to get quiet and meditate. For anybody who's reading who's like, "I don't know that meditation thing." I wasn't introduced to it until I was 45 years old. It's never too late to get still, slow down and listen deeply. It is astonishing what you hear. That was the beginning of Soulbbatical for me.

I love that you brought up this element of slowing down and listening in the silence. There's so much that gets heard in the silence. It's coming from inside. You're listening to yourself and what's wanting to come up. One of the things that I'm leaning into around your story is this element of hearing that your intuition is starting to get a louder voice through your experiences.

Home is what we create from the inside out.

Your experiences are starting to tell you like, "Shelley, wake up. We are trying to tell you to start doing things differently and start leading in a different way." It got so loud and that's where the rebel came to the front. It was in the back, and now it's in the front because it's telling you, "We're rebelling for your ability to be the person who you're meant to be, not for you to be this other person you think you are."

That's why I say rebel for who you are, which is your authenticity, what you want, which is the courage to create what you want in a way that is aligned with your truth and your authenticity, and the impact you want to have in the world or in your life. The world sometimes sounds too grand, and that's okay. Rebel for what you want in your life, your work and your business. If you're a leader in an organization or your own organization, rebel for environmental sustainability in the world, whatever it is. For me, it's liberating a billion souls. I am one of those souls, so it starts here at home. I'm never going to do this and have no intention of doing it on my own.

It's about introducing concepts into the world so more and more of us can live like this and be soul models, which is my version of being a role model. Let's live our truth, show people it's possible, and create cultures that support this possibility. I love that you called that out because I was somebody who wore busyness as a badge of honor for the majority of my life. This will resonate with your readers and our collective people. I'll catch myself still doing it like, "That's my value. My calendar is booked from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. I must be doing my job." We all know it's bullshit. We all know that's not where the real value is.

When we're doing that, we're not creating any space for play, creativity, inspiration, and self-care or what I call radical self-commitment. There's no white space for the magic to happen and that's sad. It took me that long to realize and it took me leaving Harley. People would say, "Were you afraid to write this book because you want to piss off Harley-Davidson?" It's not about Harley-Davidson. It was about me and my journey as a human and leader. That's why it resonates because it's a deeply personal journey that has a universal theme. This isn't about leaving your job. It's about finding yourself.

There's this element of so many people out there thinking, "Does that mean I have to leave my job and go on a sabbatical?"

It's such a yummy time in my journey. I claimed this phrase Soulbbatical. Let me explain Soulbbatical and Chief Soul Officer. I got quiet, listened deeply, and tried to make sense of this nightmare that I was having. I finally make sense of the nightmare. I realized that what I see in the nightmare is a proxy for my soul and it's dying. It's like, "Love me, feed me, nourish me, acknowledge me." It's sending me all these messages. I realized I have a choice. I can keep living this way, make good money, have all the sexy trappings, and continue to feel empty inside.

I was like, "Do you want to wake up when you're 50 years old and feel this way, or do you want to leave and explore what does it look like to reconnect with your soul? What are the messages that you have not been listening to? What are your essence and your truth?" It was all of that questioning combined with a shit ton of fear. None of this was easy. I don't have a trust fund. I am not independently wealthy. I am very fortunate and privileged. I've worked in great roles. I had a financial hit from getting divorced, but I worked hard to create a little cushion for myself. I said, "What's the maximum amount of time I could take off?" I created this little fuck you fund.

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It was like fuck you to my ex-husband for how the divorce settlement worked out. I still had a little anger back in those days. It was fuck you to living a life that was anything less than fulfilling. I was like, "That's the reason I need to use this." I created this little fund and said, "What if I gave myself twelve months to explore and connect deeply?" I didn't know how to explain it to anybody. Everybody in my world, including my family, thought I was crazy. They're like, "Nobody does this. Who does this? You don't leave a job like that. If you do, you leave it because you're going to an even better job. You don't just say, 'I'm walking away.'"

I was honest. I was like, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." To date, it is the most courageous thing I've ever done. The book is probably second. I was yearning for a creative handle to tell people what I was doing because I'm a language and marketing person. I coined this phrase Soulbbatical as a way to say, "I'm taking some time off to reconnect with my soul. I don't know what that means or where it's going." Fast forward, having lived this journey of Soulbbatical for years now, I wrote a definition because people were talking about Soulbbatical in the same way they talk about a traditional sabbatical. I was like, "I want to correct people."

I sat with my words around me and wrote, "Soulbbatical is a way of being in full alignment with one's soul. It's a conscious choice to live and lead with greater authenticity, courage and purpose in order to experience true fulfillment." It took me many years to understand that. To go back to your question, I thought Soulbbatical very well could mean you're taking a unique break from your work to connect with your soul. There's part of it that's there. I have old coaching clients who were like, "I'm on Soulbbatical." I always say, "That's awesome. I invite you to say, 'I'm living Soulbbatical.'"

Whether you are in your job or not in your job, it's a conscious choice about a way to be in the world. That's an important evolution for me. If you run a major Fortune 100 company or your own company, you're an artist, you're in transition, whatever it is, it is a conscious choice of a way to be, a way to live and lead in the world. That's what's so powerful. It often gets mixed up because especially now, there's a lot of talk around sabbaticals and wanting breaks. I don't get bummed out when it gets mixed up that way, but I invite anyone for whom this conversation is resonating. That's the invitation.

I've taken the evolution a step further to bring us to where I am in this moment in my story. I realized for the past few months that I was looking at my whole life, my business and everything through the lens of Soulbbatical. I was like, "Soulbbatical was the first step that got me to where I am here in this journey now." Now it's time to step into Shelley Paxton. You couldn't find me before. You had to go through the Soulbbatical door or the Rebel Souls door. I wasn't proclaiming that Shelley Paxton is out in the world ready to liberate a billion souls. That's going to happen in a variety of beautiful, different ways. A podcast, show or more books for sure are coming.

It's an invitation for a way of being. I'm stepping into this idea and it's the nugget for book number two. It's this idea of what does it look like to choose to live success-full? I'm interviewing people who are at different stages of that journey in different walks of life who are making that choice. What does it look like? How did they get there? Where are they on the journey? The most important thing for every one of us to understand is how do I define success? You and I may have some overlap in our definitions. I realized that for the majority of my life, I was doing success on someone else's terms.

How could I possibly expect to feel full based on that? Soulbbatical also stands for living a life that is success-full where you're defining success on your terms from the inside out. My favorite way of thinking about it that is counter to how culture and society teach us is that success is a feeling. It's not a checklist. We're taught for so long that it's a checklist.

Success isn't about the money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives.

When people look at that vision of success, it has these things that a person is driving a nice car and having nice suits. It should be something that has you feeling this element of wholeness.

You're looking at me on Zoom and you know I live in a gorgeous loft in Chicago. I live a very nice life. I'm not a monk. I have not sold off all of my worldly goods to live on a mountain top in a robe. It's not going to happen. It's a beautiful blend of these things. I'm not saying, "It can't be these things." Often those things are not the answer we're looking for.

It goes back to getting clear, quiet and listening deeply like, "What does fill me up? What does success feel like for me when I check in at the end of every day?" I want to write a post on this. I was reading something and saw this quote from Michelle Obama. She says, "Success isn't about the money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives." That's how I think about it. Not everybody has to think about it that way, but that is the feeling.

I started living my life in a way to say, "Did I impact one soul today? Did I make a difference or shine some light or inspire one person today with my work?" I know from getting love notes from people and feedback and being in conversation that I am doing that. Oftentimes, it's more than one soul. That feels amazing. Clearly, I still need to make some money because I got a roof to keep over my head. These things are not mutually exclusive. I erred so extremely on one side versus the other for so long. Success-full can be this beautiful knitting together of what brings that feeling for you. It is a feeling from the inside out. I truly believe that.

There are so many things I want to react to this. I feel so in congruence with what you're saying. There's this element of we need to keep those moments when someone says, "I appreciate you. The things you're saying and the things you're doing for me are having an impact on me." It's worth a lot more than the dollar bill coming in your paycheck. Remember those moments because we need them as fuel to keep the fire burning as we move forward. I know that's important in my life. We should all be seeing those as moments to keep going. That's impact in its raw form.

If I can make an ask of everyone reading, I've been trying to do this more in my life too. The message I got back blew me away. The thing I'm doing is once a day as somebody's work, maybe it's something I read, a friend writes a blog post, or somebody's newsletter comes through where I see a post or read about something. I try to leave a voice memo or a text for that person. If I can, I'll call them to say, "Thank you for creating what you're creating. Thank you for putting what you're putting out in the world." If you're like me, you sometimes wake up and go, "Is anyone listening? Am I making a difference?" I want you to know that you are. I invite everyone that when something lands with you, tell them that it lands with you.

We have to move on to our last question. What are 1 or 2 books that have impacted you and why? If you want to break the rules, you can go ahead and do that.

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I have a little room that has shelves chock-full of all the books. I wish I could credit every single one of them. I talk about a lot of the most influential books on this journey. Brené Brown anything. I know that's cheating. I am including Atlas of the Heart, but starting back to The Gifts of Imperfection. She carried me along a good part of the early stages of this journey of me exploring, questioning, and understanding. I'm going to cheat and say that. Pick what resonates with you.

I love the way she writes, and so many of her concepts are simple yet profound. I find her work accessible. I needed somebody who speaks in my language to stand beside me on this journey. It's the reason I wrote my book. I say in the intro, "I wish I would have had this book." It's like, "My arm is around you. I got you." I felt like that's what Brené did for me and still does for me on this journey of deep self-awareness, but staying real and humble in the midst of all of it.

The second one, if I have to choose only one other, I would say The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment both rocked my world, but The Surrender Experiment even more so. The lesson I have to learn again and again is to let go. I am in a season of surrender in my life. It is incredible what starts to show up. In the past months, it was this pivotal moment where I was like, "It isn't about Soulbbatical anymore. That's an entry point. Now it's about Shelley Paxton and all the things I am going to create." It feels expansive.

I've read the book so many times. The reminder was like, "Stop white-knuckling the wheel of life. You don't have control of it anyway. Let go." That's the big lesson of that book. You read his story and it's like, "How does this even happen?" I'm starting to realize as I let go, it is creating the space. The universe is in motion. It's been beautiful to witness. If you haven't read that one, I would recommend it.

It's such an interesting book because it has been mentioned many times. It's one of those things where this letting go and experiencing the white-knuckling moment is something that each person has to go through on their own. You could say it a million times until someone realizes, "I'm holding onto something that I need to let go." That's going to be their own realization.

Cheryl Strayed wrote the book Wild, which was turned into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. She has a little green book. It's a bunch of quotes about being brave and crazy. It is one of those things that everyone should have on their desk because you get to those moments in life where you're like, "I know what I need to do. I know what I want to do. I'm scared shitless." It's called Brave Enough. I gift it to people all the time. That's another one to have on your desk and gift to everyone and love because it's a reminder. I will flip to a page, and there's always something there that resonates. It's these little quotes from her writing. It's pretty badass.

I don't even know where to begin. This has been such a great conversation. I'm so thrilled that you shared all your insights. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and your stories are amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

I am honored to sit around this warm campfire with you. Thank you for creating the container.

Before I let you go, I want to make sure that I give you a chance to share where people can find you. What's the best place to get started?

Everything still is under Soulbbatical. It's You can buy the book, Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel's Guide To Finding Your Best Life anywhere where you buy your book, in your independent bookstores, all the way to Amazon, all of the above. Rebel Souls, you can find on your favorite pod platform if you want to dive into the podcast. Instagram is my playground. @Soulbattical on Instagram and Shelley Paxton on LinkedIn. Those are all the yummy places. Please reach out. I love to have conversations and meet new people, especially if any of this land with you.

Thank you to the readers for coming on the journey, and that's a wrap.

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About Shelley Paxton

scrnli_2_23_2022_4-31-57 PMShelley Paxton spent 26 years as a highly regarded marketing and advertising executive stewarding some of the world’s most iconic brands like Harley-Davidson, Visa, McDonald’s, and AOL. In 2016 she walked away from the corporate world to nurture her soul and discover her purpose. She christened herself Chief Soul Officer and called the journey her Soulbbatical. It did more than change her life, it became her calling. 

In 2018, Shelley opened the doors of her own company with the mission to liberate the souls of leaders and organizations, by inspiring them to realize their greatest purpose and potential. Shelley’s intention is to help her clients discover, as she did, a way of being that is aligned with their authentic self (soul) and deeply rooted in a commitment to living and leading courageously. As a certified professional coach, she works with individuals, entrepreneurs, and executives at Fortune 100 companies like Lowe’s, Inc. and Mars, Inc. 

Prior to becoming a proud corporate refugee, Shelley was Vice President, Global Marketing + Brand, at Harley-Davidson. She was essentially the Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for leading all brand and marketing activity around the world. In her 6+ year tenure, she led significant growth and transformation with her signature authenticity and courage. And she did it rocking leather, jeans, and boots in the Boardroom. 

Shelley has always been a rebel soul with a nomadic spirit. She’s a self-proclaimed Global Citizen having lived in places as diverse as Istanbul, Shanghai, and New York City, and she has traveled to 66 countries and counting, quite a few of them on a motorcycle. (Oh, and she pierced her nose at age 42.)


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