Irene Salter, PhD -- Encouraging the light within rising leaders to shine brighter
Who I was
I was the perfect eldest daughter. A hyper-achiever. An inquisitive problem solver. A perfectionist. The geekiest kid in the room with her hand in the air and the right answer on her tongue. I graduated from Stanford University in four years with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. With Honors. With a 3.7 GPA. Then, I earned a PhD in Neuroscience investigating how the brain learns and stays motivated.
But achievement wasn’t enough.
So I became a leader. As an award-winning teacher, I lit the fires of curiosity in my students. As a ropes course leader, I helped people find the courage to fly. I designed curriculum at the Lawrence Hall of Science, developed exhibitions at the Exploratorium, published articles, and authored books. I was a founding member of a new department at Cal State University, Chico. I was awarded over $2.25 million in grants. I presided over departments, committees, and nonprofits. I won accolades in leadership as a school superintendent by nurturing a powerfully collaborative team, ballooning our enrollment, and tripling our reserves.
But leadership wasn’t enough.
What I discovered
I never felt good enough. I never felt valued for who I was because I was the daughter of immigrants. Because my skin looked different. Because I was bullied as a kid and sexually assaulted as a woman. So I strived and sought accolades, honors, and appreciation. I sought my value from others because I didn’t believe that I was enough just as I was. I was a human giver: if someone said, “Would you?” then I said, “Of course.” I buried my identity and tried to be like all the white men around me. I struggled with imposter syndrome. I got so busy and overwhelmed that I barely saw my family, and when I did, I was distracted or exhausted -- often both.
I discovered that I am enough, just as I am -- the light and the dark.
My value isn’t determined by others, but by me. I reconnected with my identity as an adventurer, science geek, mom, wife, and friend. I embraced my imperfect Asian female body with crooked teeth and squishy mom belly. I learned mindfulness and mind-body medicine to heal my spirit. I created work-life synergy. Most importantly, I reconnected with my calling, that thread of purpose and meaning that winds through one's entire life.
Enter my world
Enter my Universe and you’ll embark on an adventure of personal and professional growth with me as a Jedi master by your side. In the safety of the temple we build together, you’ll be seen and valued for who you truly are -- the light and the dark. I’ll speak the hard truths to help you reach aha moments. You’ll confront the hyper-achiever, perfectionist, imposter syndrome, human giver, overwhelm, and not-good-enough monsters that stand in your way. I’ll guide you through the wilderness until you rediscover your identity, passion, strengths, mission, and joy. You’ll create a work-life synergy that allows you to thrive, not just survive. You’ll rise into leadership as never before so that you and your team may build shining communities and achieve seemingly impossible things. You’ll craft a lightsaber and pack your starship with all the skills and strategies you need. Then, journey forward as a Jedi in your own right, knowing that nothing can stand in your way.
You’ll discover, you are more than enough.