Santa Fe New Mexican
THE CHILD CARE SHUFFLE
Like many during the pandemic, Katie Christianson did life on Zoom. She completed her sociology degree and stayed in touch with friends that way. So when she began building her Santa Fe–based business consulting company in the summer of 2021, the digital communications platform was a natural tool. The majority — about 99 percent — of her regular coaching clients are remote, scattered throughout New Mexico and across the U.S. and Canada. “Zoom doesn’t allow me to be 100 percent present with my clients,” she says, “but it does allow me to have those conversations where I can read body language and tone and interpret them. . . . Even over Zoom that human connection allows people to be more vulnerable and honest and to do deeper work than they would over phone calls.” “I occupy enormous positions of privilege,” she says, “and my personal mission is to use that privilege to amplify people’s voices — particularly those of women and members of marginalized communities that don’t have the stage.” Unwhelm Coaching aims to reduce business owners’ overwhelm and help them realize their ideas. The approaches are as eclectic as the founder’s background. A self-described “bossy pants,” Christianson holds a sociology degree with a minor in women’s and gender issues from New Mexico Highlands University and a certificate in diversity, equity, and inclusion from Cornell University. “I have what looks like a really wild and varied résumé,” she says. “But there are a few common threads that run through it: I’ve owned a preschool. I ran a dance company. . . . I do doggy day care and training and boarding. . . . My husband and I cofounded a public charter middle school in rural southeast Washington. The thread that runs through all of these and the training that looks a patchwork is really a matter of teaching and empowering. All of my education and life path led me here.” Unwhelm Coaching follows a primarily feminist business model that involves “reshaping the definition of success away from things like money and the time you spend on the grind and material possessions, and shifts instead to relationships,” she says. “How does it feel when you are doing your business? What other definitions of success can you find and amplify in your business and in your life?” While she does coach some men among her corporate and nonprofit clients, Christianson focuses on women because “all of the rules that govern business were made by men . . . to benefit a specific group of men . . . which means that women start out way behind the starting line, no matter what circumstances we were born into or privileges we were afforded.” Unwhelmed: Your No-Bullshit Guide to Doing Business Like a Woman, a book Christianson expects to publish this spring, delves more deeply into these issues. To make her services more accessible, Christianson offers a free Coach Yo’Self option alongside Get Coached, her customized paid service. Those who choose Coach Yo’Self get free access to “unwhelminars,” covering topics from strategic planning to nonprofit management, and “unwhelements,” downloadable tools like spreadsheets, journal prompts, and weekly planner templates. The basic Get Coached membership includes three real-time Zoom group calls, a monthly one-hour “ask me anything” call, a book club meeting call, and an “accountabilibuddy support” call, with training and information on mentorship.