Marketing Leader

Nearly ten years ago, life happened while I was making other plans. I left work at the Starbucks Global Creative Studio to head to the ER, where I discovered the cause of the numbness that crept from my toes to my trunk: a tumor had crushed two vertebrae and was compressing my spinal column.
I'll fast forward through the out-of-body experience, surreal trauma, spinal surgeries, and chemotherapy that ensued (and still does), which could fill an entire novel and get to the facts.

The first very raw and honest fact, like many who inexplicably find themselves peering over the edge of mortality and avoiding the fall: I had NO IDEA what the F*CK to do next.

Stay on the same career path? The idea of mentally and emotionally stepping back into my job's pressure, stress, and intensity was untenable. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed turned to paralysis. 

Fortunately for me, my leadership and teams were incredibly supportive. I explored other areas and corners of the studio, where I could speak transparently about what had happened and why a change was mandatory. A month of kind, sympathetic, yet relatively passive conversations passed until the wake-up call: I was the only person who could make change happen.

I took a deep breath, went to HR, and spilled my guts: As a survivor, I could not step back into the high-stress-high-pressure role I previously had. My health had to come first, but I knew I could still provide value. I had no idea where, but I stuck to my conviction and put my work destiny into her hands.