VIM Executive Coaching and Mentoring reflects the lifelong journey, dream, and natural evolution of VIM principal and founder, Russell Owens.
Russell OwensA mentor to mentors and a well-respected business leader with over 35 years of experience in both large and small corporate and entrepreneurial environments, Russell brings a unique blend of practical, real-world experience rooted in eastern philosophy and Jungian psychology to help clients develop a strong and insightful foundation for personal and professional growth.
Over 35 Years of Profitable Business Experience
My path in business ownership and as an entrepreneur began in college, where I built and ran two highly successful businesses while I was a full-time student. I later joined what was at the time, the oldest privately owned company in America and the reference standard of the world, Encyclopedia Britannica. I invested everything I owned for a proprietorship in New Mexico and over time built, controlled and lead a significant sales organization with offices that covered the West and Midwest portions of the U.S.
Since then, I have been an independent business owner and entrepreneur of three ventures, two of which I still own – a company that facilitates the buying and selling of companies and a negotiation firm that specializes in intellectual property mediation, due diligence, and assessments. Over the years, I have built countless leadership teams, created substantial profits, solved innumerable problems, and created abundant opportunities….and from all of this, I have gained strong self-knowledge and pragmatic experience from my career path and I now believe it is time to share, teach, mentor and help others on theirs.
Over 20 Years of Successful Mentoring and Coaching
I was given the gift of a guide and mentor when I was in my early 30’s. My mentor, Dr. Joseph Schwitter, was a successful business man and educator from Switzerland and a former student of Carl Jung. For over 20 years, Dr. Schwitter shared with me the great teachers and their wisdom that had guided him. I learned from his teachings as well as my own pragmatic experiences on how to confront and overcome the hindrances of fear, anger, self-doubt and negativity and transform them into positive, healthy energy. I learned how to gain clarity in times of chaos, turmoil as well as in times of abundance. I experienced and continue to experience balance, inner peace, happiness and abundance. As a result, I have a passion for sharing my experiences and guiding select individuals.
I have an experiential understanding of your challenges.
I have been where you are. I have mentored numerous others where you are as well. As a business owner, I have been presented with external challenges and obstacles that at the time seemed insurmountable or even hopeless. I have lost the key manager or sales person at the worst possible time. I have seen lending dry up and deals go south just when I needed them most. I have had challenges with business partners that almost destroyed the business. I know the darkness of telling loyal, trusted employees that I had to let them go. I know the feeling of possibly not meeting payroll at the end of the month. I have laid at night, unable to sleep as I continually played a video in my mind of the future and what would or could happen “if” or what I could have or should have done with a decision in the past. I have simply run out of energy and enough hours in the day to get it all done and witnessed how the stress of it all was being manifested in my personal relationships, as well as my family.
Most importantly I know that there are solutions to every challenge and that is where abundance is found. The ability to persevere and learn is what makes us successful business owners and entrepreneurs.
I have mentored and coached many individuals through challenges similar to yours and I am ready to help you through and beyond those challenges with power and grace.
Arris MoonThe holistic and heart-centered approach to coaching that Arris offers her clients is the result of years of deep, delving studies in personal development, as well as her constant pursuit of optimal mind-body health and well-being. Her path began at the University of New Mexico, where she studied a wide array of subjects, focusing on building an understanding of reality and humanity through studies in psychology, neurology, philosophy, art, yoga and nutrition.
During her studies, she joined Biotech Cyclotron of Arizona, where she helped produce radioactive, intravenous drugs for cancer imaging and diagnostics. She soon became the Quality Assurance Officer and obtained many professional certifications, in addition to authoring technical documents and publications for the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Arris later became Senior Officer of Quality Document Systems Management, where she was responsible for authoring the technical documents necessary for submission to the FDA for approval, as well as leading the company-wide technology transfer project. Arris began to feel that many aspects of her career were out of alignment with her life purpose. In order to reconnect with that purpose, she decided to initiate a major life change.
She spent the next five months backpacking and volunteering along the Eastern coast of Australia, where she learned and gathered experiences, observations and relationships that would leave her forever altered and in awe of the magic and mystery of this Universe. It was during this revelatory period that she learned many useful skills pertaining to the care of animals and wildlife, travel abroad, financial management, sustainable living, people and connectedness.
Upon her return to the States, Arris decided to follow the life-long beckoning of her heart to colorful Colorado, where she began creating a life and a family as she completed her life coaching education through the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Her children have inspired her to further study neurology and brain development as it pertains to early childhood, helping her to cultivate a deeper bond with and understanding of her children and their experience of reality. Arris feels that our children are the key to altering the course of humanity; that, if we are brave enough to peer into the mirrors which they hold up for us, they will teach us far more than we will ever teach them, including how to become the best version of ourselves. Seeing her children in this way and pursuing the education and information necessary to facilitate their neurological development, has enabled her to profoundly improve her parenting practices. As a working mother, she knows the struggles of parenthood, which have instilled in her a heart for teaching others the ultimate lesson: love. She is strong in her conviction that learning to love ourselves opens us to a more fully-encompassing love for others. She also finds that the methods she employs in parenting cross seamlessly into leadership of all kinds.
Sinking roots in the beautiful Denver Foothills, she has laid the foundation for the fulfillment of her purpose, to help individuals discover their authentic self and create positive and fulfilling change in their lives.
Denise M. Kay, Esq., SPHRFrom the very beginning of her professional career, both she and others knew she had a gift and passion for helping people solve problems, both large and small. She began her career as a human resource associate in a “big 6” public accounting firm and became a Human Advisory Consultant and Regional HR Manager.
Denise then decided to seek an even more challenging and fulfilling path, law school. After graduation, she like many, got caught up in the instinct to be a litigator. Because the adversarial nature of sensitive employment matters went against her grain, she decided to practice preventative human resource consulting. This practice encompasses coaching, education, consulting and environmental assessments. Subsequently, she became the president of her national employment consulting firm. Denise continues to practice her passion of preventative human resource consulting. The combination of her innate problem solving skills, her desire to help others solve problems, her business experience and life-long career in business leadership, form the basis of her coaching path.
Denise’s success as an executive and career coach can be attributed to her empathy. She has “been in your shoes”. She created a thriving business against significant odds. She has personally managed difficult business changes, economic uncertainty, and has faced Board conflicts, disagreement and tension. Furthermore, she made the choice to move from her role as president to a client service role, to return to a client-centric focus while better managing her work-life balance.
Denise has been conducting workshops, training programs and speaking at conferences for nearly two decades. She is a nationally recognized speaker through the Society for Human Resource Management. Her workshops are designed to be engaging and enlightening. Participants in her workshops leave with new knowledge, awareness and insight. Her philosophy in workshops mirrors her approach to working one-on-one with individuals: Every person wants and deserves to be heard. She believes the role of the coach is to be an objective, non-critical listener who helps the client see the patterns of their business and personal lives. As a result, the client gains a heightened level of self-awareness, develops greater clarity in problem solving and attains a newfound balance in their life.
Denise understands the fear a client feels, knows that it is real and believes it is manageable – “there are always solutions”. The anxiety must be managed for the client to work effectively, efficiently and confidently. She believes that is what the coach is there for, and what can be most helpful to the executive. Anyone can provide answers to business problems, but only a few can offer a shoulder, advice, empathy and tools, to achieve a positive outcome to a challenging situation.
Denise’s passion for coaching stems from her inherent temperament as a sensitive, thinking individual – one who is most concerned about getting to the root of issues, versus finding a quick fix. Her personal preferences are to work in a collaborative concert to better the individual – personally, professionally and socially and therefore, better the situation. The objectives should be focused, yet liberating, and the outcomes are often unanticipated, illuminating and inspirational.
Jannette ScarpinoThroughout her career in finance, Jannette was involved in coaching in one way or another, as a mentor, university instructor, and manager. Her interest in executive coaching blossomed in working first-hand with Russell at VIM Executive Coaching, where she realized the deep connection between meditation, actualization, and business.
Jannette has a broad background in financial management, planning, corporate finance, banking, treasury, accounting, and leadership development. She has held many senior financial roles in the forprofit, non-profit, and public sectors.
Jannette understands the opportunities and challenges of making career shifts. After spending more than 20 years in corporate banking, she left that industry to become a CPA in mid-career. Subsequently, she spent time in public accounting, became treasurer of a public company, and currently manages the financial planning and analysis for the Regional Transportation District, where she leads a team responsible for the organization’s $2.5 billion budget.
In addition to holding an active CPA license, Jannette has an MBA in finance from the University of Denver and holds a BA in political science. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has served as Board Member/Treasurer of Smart Girl, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower young girls, and taught Accounting at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Jannette is an ethical and multi-faceted manager, a strategic thinker, and a champion of best practices. She has expertise in financial strategies and in bringing financial perspectives to business decisions.
She is passionate about servant leadership, which focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. She views leadership as an act of service and a conscious choice to better serve others. Her leadership objective is to assist people to develop and perform as highly as possible in organizational settings. She advocates the importance of awareness, emotional intelligence, foresight, listening, and truthfulness.
In her spare time, Jannette loves cooking and is trying to become more proficient in Spanish.
Jennifer BarnesA natural mediator, Jennifer is passionate about helping others navigate their professional and personal lives, with an emphasis on finding balance. Jennifer’s down-to-earth, kind and caring style allows her to be adept at holding space for her clients as they move along on their desired paths to their goals.
Jennifer adopts an integral approach to her work which brings head (clarity and focus), heart (joy and compassion) and body (calm and centeredness) together in an approach that is sustainable and provides a pathway for personal growth and development. In so doing, engaged clients can expect long-term excellence, with an ability to identify self-correcting and self-generating behaviors.
Jennifer has also been successful in bridging the gap of understanding in her work in conflict. Certainly integral to success, Jennifer’s approach to conflict resolution honors openness, honesty and health. She likes to remind her clients, “Although the direction of our paths may not always be clear and we may lose our focus, there is comfort in knowing you can always find your way”.
Jennifer has served in People and Culture roles for the past 20 years and enjoys interacting with individuals and Teams in ways that ultimately impact their own well-being as well as, where applicable, their organizations. Her experience as a Human Resources Director, Conflict Mediator and Coach have allowed for depth and breadth of experience in working through organizational change and/or conflict. It is important in her work to “meet people where they are” in their development as individuals and professionals, it is only then that the work can effectively begin.
Jennifer holds a BSBA in Management, is a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), a Conflict Mediator, a Certified Organizational Development Professional and a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Practitioner. She is involved in Integral Coaching work and is currently working toward certification through New Ventures West in San Francisco.
Leah BrashAs a proven business leader, Leah has seen first-hand how the VIM Coaching approach helps business leaders achieve their goals and grow both personally and professionally. Leah’s practical experience and passion for guiding others provide a distinctive foundation in her ability help clients on their journey of self-discovery and growth.
Leah received an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s in accounting, both from the University of Colorado. She quickly passed the CPA exam and began working in the industry. Leah rose through the ranks from Accounting Clerk to Accountant to Controller. At the pinnacle of her finance and accounting career, she served as the Chief Financial Officer for Medical Group Management Association, a national healthcare association with over 33,000 members. The Association’s focus is to provide healthcare executives the insights and resources they need to most efficiently and effectively run their organizations and provide outstanding patient care.
After her many years in accounting and several years heading up a finance function, Leah began to seek something more. She stepped off the traditional finance path and took on the newly emerging role of Chief Innovation Officer. Leah assembled a rather unique team and created an environment which enhanced collaboration, drove innovation and ultimately increased sales. The team merged the disciplines of market research, product development, business development and customer service to create an end-to-end view of the product with a constant focus on product improvement and customer satisfaction.
After her stint in the corporate world, Leah went entrepreneurial- in a couple of ways. First, as a Principal with FireStone CFO, Leah provided outsourced CFO services to startups from general financial oversight to help raising capital with financial modeling. Second, she started her own digital health company, Helix-IC, a software company providing automated billing coding tools.
Currently, Leah keeps her experience fresh by offering general business consulting services to various companies with the most prevalent being Prime Health. Leah is helping build their business using the “lean” approach focused on customer discovery and product iteration.
Across all of her experience, Leah helped companies succeed through: 1) strategic financial management: creating new revenue streams, controlling costs and driving sound financial management practices; 2) operations optimization: introducing lean techniques and measurement systems such as the balanced scorecard; 3) strategic planning: leading the development and implementation of strategies such as innovation and product development; and 4) collaboration: creating mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations such as the AMA.
Nikki PatterickNikki has an authentic, passionate desire to understand people’s life journeys and help them live a life of meaning. As a coach, she provides thoughtful, individualized advice by combining her innate ability to relate to other people with her own professional and life experiences.
Over 13 years of practicing law has helped Nikki develop her strength as a coach. She has experience in diverse practice areas including business law and fertility law. She has also worked as a lawyer in a broad range of contexts. Nikki worked as a State employee as a judicial clerk for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, Jr. She also has experience in law firms of almost every size as well as working as part of in-house corporate legal teams. This unique array of experiences provides a rich foundation for Nikki to mentor fellow attorneys and law students seeking satisfaction in their professional and personal lives. Through her work as a fertility lawyer and her personal challenges becoming a mother, Nikki also has valuable perspectives to help guide and support couples and individuals struggling with infertility.
Grieving and healing from the sudden and tragic death of Nikki’s husband several years ago expanded the breadth of Nikki’s capacity to coach others. She learned first-hand that although change can be challenging or even traumatic, it can also be a platform for personal growth and meaning. Not all change is as traumatic as death. However, many life changes can be difficult to navigate alone. Changing careers, having a new baby, relocating to a new city or country, or ending a significant relationship are all examples of life transitions where having the support and guidance of the right coach can help you respond to the change in a way that best supports and enriches your life path. Nikki’s approach to supporting others through life change is compassionate and informed by deep personal understanding.
As a professional and a full-time single mother, Nikki also deeply understands the challenges of finding balance. Years of yoga practice have taught Nikki that each moment of each day presents itself differently and that no single moment or experience defines who we are. Some days, we can stand on one leg without wobbling or contort ourselves with ease, but on other days we can feel as though even with two feet firmly on the ground each movement of the earth can shake us. Balance in life is not a destination it is a journey. Nikki has a wealth of insight and knowledge to share with those seeking support finding terra firma.
Being a coach is a privilege to Nikki. Her philosophy is to meet her clients exactly where they are and provide the support they want and need with wholehearted acceptance. She provides guidance that is nourishing and pragmatic, informed by personal and professional experience and infused with knowledge from decades of philosophical inquiry. Whether you are a corporate executive, a full-time single parent or both, Nikki can relate to your life journey and would be honored to help you to be your best version of yourself.
Steve Shoemaker MDAs far back as Steve can remember, he has always possessed a burning desire to learn about the deepest mysteries of life and science, especially people and chemistry.Becoming an MD was a natural path to his dreams.
After studying chemistry at Stanford University, he attended the UCLA School of Medicine. He trained first in Internal Medicine and later specialized in Pulmonary Disease. He later joined the medical school faculty. As he immersed himself in teaching, he became deeply aware of the amount of discipline that is required to gain new knowledge and skills. His position provided him with many opportunities to mentor others, as well as access to physicians who had been where he wanted to be.
While still in academia, he was part of a small, select group of top students who caught the attention of one of his professors-who was not only an MD, but also an entrepreneur. After Steve’s residency and initial practice as a pulmonary physician, he was approached to join his professor and the others in a biopharmaceutical venture. Steve chose to take the huge step and leave the world of healing, where he loved listening, healing patients, guiding family members through life-threatening medical problems and mentoring young students awakening to the wonders of modern science. He entered the entrepreneurial world of medicine and immediately experienced the complex problems that leaders and executives constantly face. Subsequently, he has participated in the launch and growth of multiple biopharmaceutical start-up companies. It is these very challenges that continue to make his journey meaningful and exciting.
In the past 25 years, Steve has worked with start-up companies including biopharmaceuticals, medical communications and health information technology. As part of the senior management team, he helped two biopharmaceutical companies go public. He also helped develop, commercialize and navigate several novel therapeutic products through complex regulatory approval processes in the US and Europe. The most successful of which generated over $600 million per year in revenue before its patent expired.
Steve has learned many lessons from the start-up companies he’s worked with. He has worked in companies that started with 5 employees and grew to over 250, before difficult times required cuts of nearly one third; he has faced tough decisions over using personal finances to cover company payrolls; and has guided companies to manage “growing pains”, while ensuring that missions and core values are well defined and followed.
Steve feels, “One key to success in business, is the ability to solve complex problems, and a key step in this process is to keep an open mind. This involves becoming a good watcher, focusing on listening, seeing and being aware of our emotions. We need to accept what is without judgments and be willing to consider new solutions”.
Steve’s vision is to share his experience and skills with others so that they may use them on their own path to achieve both inner and outer abundance. Steve’s passion with VIM is based on a very simple premise – what you give, you grow from. He feels that working with leaders in the States and around the globe, will provide him with a great opportunity to be creative and learn new things.
Theresa Brown, Esq.Theresa has over 25 years experience in coaching people through a vast range of circumstances from individual problem solving to mediation in the work place and civil litigation disputes. In addition, she is recognized as an expert in complex issues and conflicts within intellectual property law.
As in-house counsel and part of upper management for numerous entities as well as outside counsel working with law firms and her own practice, she has worked extensively with executives of corporations and counseled them in various legal matters. As a woman working with male and female executives, she has experienced and dealt with many of the issues faced by women in similar situations.
Prior to going to law school, she worked in cancer research at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. Theresa practiced law for over 25 years primarily in the healthcare field (from large pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly to small start up biotechnology companies). It was through training young lawyers in patent law, she found a great sense of purpose when coaching and mentoring key individuals in various aspects of the practice of law and in managing a law department. Many of them have gone on to very successful careers. In recent years, Theresa has significantly expanded her coaching skills to address the needs and challenges of entrepreneurs and executives throughout the broad spectrum of the business world. This includes her successes in mediation in the work place and civil litigation disputes.
Theresa has worked extensively as an associate with Russell and VIM for several years. She has a passion for helping executives solve problems by examining the big picture, and creating processes to drive objectives and key results. One of the most meaningful aspects of guiding individuals in advancing their leadership skills, is based on self discovery and self actualization. The more you know about yourself, she will guide you in building your leadership style around your authentic self, rather than a “one size fits all” template of leadership.
Alex KronmanAn investor once told Alex, “to be a great entrepreneur you need to have the heart of a pirate and the execution of a marine. You’ve got the heart and damn do you work hard to improve your execution.”
It may not have been the best compliment Alex ever received, but it’s emblematic of the power of The Journey. The gift of opportunities to improve, grow, and learn are so easy to take for granted – but therein lie fulfillment, exhilaration, and joy.
As with many young entrepreneurs, Alex’s path was shaped from his youth. His parents – both successful business people in New York City advertising – were amazing models of work ethic, integrity, and perseverance. Their success never came at the compromise of family. It was through that privilege that Alex learned that true abundance could be achieved by following one’s skills, passions, and without compromising one’s “self”.
At no point has it been easy but Alex has toiled in the startup laboratory for three years – developing his ability to solve complex problems, attract key individuals to accomplish next right action, and achieving product/market fit – to find the success he’s had with flytedesk. His learning curve was ignited when he earned to opportunity to participate in Boomtown Boulder, a passionate, cutting-edge business accelerator. Subsequently, Alex and his team were selected to participate in the world-renowned startup program, Techstars.
Alex is adept at building process, uncovering the kernel of market opportunity, working with technology, growing teams, and, of course, at finding the resources to actualize dreams.
He works well with entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes and believes that the same core tenants are the tools with which to tackle the challenges of any stage: authenticity, gratitude, grace, integrity, patience, persistence, timing, and perseverance.
Guiding an individual who is on a path of starting a new endeavor or helping an existing business get unstuck is a passion much aligned to the thrill and challenge of his humble business beginnings. A significant lesson he has learned is to listen to his gut, his intuition. Yes, there are some incredible programs and entrepreneurs that are willing to share their success stories and models of success – there were and remain significant gifts on his path. But it is equally important to understand that they seldom escape the trappings of “traditional, one size fits all” models.
Fundamentally, Alex wants to share the gift of what select teachers and experiences have given him. His work with Russell have sharpened his reflexes in the boardroom and helped him place mile-markers on what can be a grueling entrepreneurial trek. This gift is the knowledge to accept the “rules and absolutes” given to us that we need for our vision and leave the rest behind.
At first blush, learning to experience self-awareness and trust in ourselves seems simple, but in reality is no easy feat. However, it’s there that we might begin to weave our own, unique, authentic path. It’s there that might be able to build our foundation on our greatest strengths, selecting what we’ll need from a world of advice and anecdotes and gently leaving the rest behind.
The startup world is laced with the traps of ego and esoteric gimmickry, with the “field of dreams”, when we identify them we build our own path. And hey, isn’t that what it’s all about at the end of the day?
Alex is the CEO of flytedesk ~a Boulder based media startup. He believes that over the course of the entrepreneurial journey, authenticity is your best asset – just not in a quixotic sort of way.
"Working with Russell helped me immediately identify where I was directing time and energy to activities that were not the "next best action" to take, and to find strategic ways to redirect that effort. ...
~D.B. | Corporate Analytics Leader | Silicon Valley