Torrey Peace

Torrey is a Leadership Coach and Trainer. She became passionate about leadership after beginning to oversee a team of 20 as Head of Office in rural Timor-Leste.  

She tells us that, “I wanted to know how to inspire and motivate others to become their best.  Sadly, I never learned that in school – we focused more on managing than leading.  The quest to be a better leader allowed me to find coaching, and I was so pleased by the impact it had on my team I decided to teach it to other humanitarian and development supervisors through my own business. My mission is to democratize coaching — to make it more accessible to all in the nonprofit space.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career.

I had great parents who encouraged me to be creative and develop a passion for nature and learning.  They also took us to various places domestically and internationally, which influenced me as I became older.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

My turning point was after completing my undergraduate degree in business and deciding that the corporate world was not for me.  I didn’t want to spend my time marketing shampoo or tools.  I wanted to do more.  And so I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in rural Guatemala.  That allowed me to see a career path where I could travel and help others.  Since that time I have been working in international development (20 years), visited 64 countries and lived on five continents.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

My goal is to  offer high quality training to help supervisors in international development and the humanitarian space lead through empowering those around them, and to lead through others instead of for others.  In other words, allowing others to do their own work and solve their own problems rather than telling them what to do.  This is where coaching works well – a coach’s approach to leading.  My interests include travel, learning new cultures and having new experiences.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

I started about 4 years ago and it is a challenge going from a very structured work day and having a job description to not having that at all.  It is also the beauty of this kind of work, but at least for me I needed to create structure in my day and focus.  Also what you focus on is directly related to your results – so make sure you’re focusing on the thing that creates the results you want.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

I have trained over 200 leaders through my six week course and coached many as well in becoming more caring, empowering leaders.  I hope to continue to increase this number over the coming years.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

At the time of COVID I was in Kenya.  We weren’t sure what was happening and as I have asthma we were worried.  Kenya shut its borders to let others in the country.  The great thing about that was we were able to go and see the Great Migration (wildebeest river crossing) with almost no other spectators— a once in a lifetime experience as normally there are cars everywhere!

On a professional level, COVID really helped me in that others became way more receptive to online training and overcame many limiting beliefs about it.  It became a standard way of working, and as I was already doing it that really benefitted me.  I can now serve people globally at low cost to them and also at a greater scope.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

My students are my inspiration.  Being able to see how they change their way of leading by the end of my course is very impactful and I love checking on how they are using their skills long after the course ends to help their teams.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

I would like to see more women be given the opportunity to make an impact in the world.  I consider myself very privileged to do what I do, and I know not all women have the same ability given financial or cultural constraints. 

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

The more responsibility we take for our thoughts, feelings and actions, the more we can achieve and create what we want.  If we see ourselves as victims of our circumstances, we will remain trapped by them.  If we focus on what’s within our control, we can empower ourselves to move forward and control our destinies. 

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

I think it’s wonderful there is so much progress, and yet it is not always forward.  We need to not take for granted the progress made and know it can be taken away if we are not observant.  Also I think we need to recognize the importance of men and their roles, as sometimes we tend to think it should be one or the other (women or men’s world).  It should be shared recognizing we all make unique and valuable contributions.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

Surround yourself with people who support you and your dreams – a community is very important like what Fuzia provides.  Success in business is only as good as your network– so take the time to build a high quality one.