I am a Brand Design Strategist, Identity Coach, and Community Cultivator guiding creative visionary entrepreneurs to own their Otherness so that they can share their magic fully with the world.
This space is for stories, wisdom, learnings, resources, art, conversations, announcements, and whatever else is at my table. Stay wildly curious alongside me on this journey of personal and entrepreneurial growth.
I have been an entrepreneur for 15 years, but didn’t quite fit into the pants of leadership and running my business in a healthy way until about year 12. The first several years were spent working in my business and moving along organically through referrals, while also raising two kids and taking care of my family. It was not sustainable or stable and it caused a decline in my health. I was burnt toast, feeling stuck, and overwhelmed with indecision.
At a crossroads, I had a decision to make. Close shop and return to agency work or pivot in a new direction. It took several months to get out of the fog, but I chose to look at my business with a new lens. I moved away from a one stop graphic design shop and focused on the parts that I was most impactful–foundational brand and identity strategy, building and nurturing client relationships, guiding visualization and distilling stories that are at the heart and essence of the people who make a brand shine.
I did that for a few years and while that was happening, I started giving back generously to the creative communities that supported me. I host a creative womxn’s community of The Futur ProGroup and through this experience found a natural calling to leadership and group facilitation. So I began running workshops for creative agencies to align project teams / stakeholders around a singular vision; creating safe spaces where all voices are heard and decisions can be made collaboratively together. Then I pivoted again, during the pandemic (or what I like to call Cocooning Season) to expand my offerings to include Identity Coaching for creatively minded people.
Unfolding Purpose Through Brave Action
What I’m learning is that with every brave intentional action taken, the path before you unfolds. When you stay wildly curious and present, beautiful opportunities emerge. You move intentionally towards your greater purpose and stand firmly, guided by your inner knowing. As a coach, my approach is to help you see yourself fully from a place of strength and own who you are so that you are not afraid to use your gifts. We need more creative thinkers, visionaries, weird, odd, outsiders, innovators to show up for the betterment of everyone in our communities and future generations.
I’m based in sometimes sunny, mostly rainy Portland, Oregon and partner with clients globally. As creative outlets I enjoy hip hop dance, food & travel photography, and cut paper art. I drink my coffee black. Love to cook. Mincing garlic is therapy. Yes. Don’t argue with me on this. Food is life and meant to be savored. Slow. Best when meals are shared with others.
I’ve always been empathic and highly sensitive to the energy of people and places. Am practicing meditation, learning how to find peace in stillness. Raising two creative kids that remind me how to be present and that I am resilient, capable of finding harmony, even in the midst of uncertainty.
I love having conversations and hearing your stories so if you ever feel called to share or connect, post in the comments or direct message me on media channels.
For new business / coaching inquiries go to contacts page: Say Hello.
Van Cooley // Founder of Left of Sunset
Image Credits: Cut Paper Art by Van Cooley