Emily Walton

Emily Walton, the Founder and Coach of Alo Coaching is a former corporate leader who has started her own leadership coaching company to support ambitious leaders who are facing challenges in their careers.

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

When I think about my early years and growing up I think about my parent’s divorce. They divorced when I was quite young and had a pretty nasty custody battle. This was so formative for me because I often found myself in between them trying to make peace, serving as their messenger, and I think that is something that really opened my eyes to the importance of communication, emotional regulation, and trying to understand versus just trying to get your point across. I found that the same challenges were so often present in work places and I’m driven to help leaders overcome them and develop healthy work environments.

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

So a little back story, I’ve been in the corporate world for 10 years in various leadership roles which I really enjoyed but I found along the way that I enjoyed helping other leaders develop their skills, solve their problems, and figure out solutions. When I was able to help other leaders have “aha” moments and figure out new ways to move forward, I knew that was what I was supposed to be doing. In fact, I knew that was what I wanted to do for about 5 years but I didn’t know if I had it in me to walk away from the relative security of a corporate job and branch out on my own as a leadership coach. 

A turning point came for me when April 28th, 2023 my big sister unexpectedly passed away. She was six years older than me, so I always saw her as a trailblazer who never let anything get in her way.  She was so bold in pursuing her goals and her dreams. I knew I wanted to be a leadership coach but didn’t know if I had it in me to go out on my own. When I lost my sister, it really shook me and it opened my eyes to the reality that we have a limited amount of time on this Earth, that I will never get that time back, and I have no guarantee on how much time I will have. I knew that I needed to be spending my time doing what I was put here to do, and I channeled her energy to make the shift to doing just that.

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

I’m fascinated by the fact that we are such different people, living different experiences, and yet there are certain things that all humans want and need.  Like being able to express ourselves, being accepted, and being respected. So my goal in starting my coaching business was to help leaders develop the skills to be able to create healthy workplace environments that drive impactful work both in themselves, because leaders are very prone to burning themselves out being high achievers, and overworking, but also for their teams modeling healthy practices, for their teams, developing their teams helping them to grow. With the ultimate hope that this creates generations of leaders with those skills, not just one individual with that capacity. 

One of the role models whose work I respect is Brené Brown. Her work in shame research and vulnerability I think is a cornerstone that is missing in a lot of approaches to leadership. Leaders are often under a lot of pressure and trying to figure out how to move forward and make progress, but in doing that sometimes they drive so hard that they lose sight of who they are in the process. In Brené Brown’s work, she stresses the importance of vulnerability where people can be real with each other and talk about what they need and what that looks like. That creates a much healthier environment especially when facing highly stressful situations.

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?

There are a lot of challenges in an entrepreneurial journey and a lot of that comes from the unknown paired with self-doubt, thoughts like, “Will I be able to figure out how to navigate all of these new challenges?” and “Will I make mistakes?” and the answer to both of those is yes.  But by being able to embrace a growth mindset and knowing that mistakes are okay, you will learn from them, they will inform you, and give yourself the grace to accept where you are and reflect on how far you’ve come and set your sights on where you want to go gives you so much capacity to achieve what you want to. 

As far as coping mechanisms, I would say that I embrace a healthy combination of eating dark chocolate and physical exercise. For me, in all seriousness, stepping away from the challenge I’m facing, going for a walk, letting my brain rest, and then coming back allows me the space and the capacity to process things and uncover solutions that had I kept grinding away I would not have come up with.  It’s also really important to check in with myself. I’ve had moments where I question if I made the right decision or if things were too difficult. But at the same time when I check in with myself, it helps me know how I am doing on a personal level not just the physical work but how am I as an individual and what I need, and then shifting to support myself.

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?

The biggest impact I’ve been able to make has been around helping others navigate doubts and lack of confidence and seeing the potential within themselves to take actions that really support the growth and direction they want to go. My goal over the next several years is to help more individuals become empowered to take charge of their lives through leadership. Not only through coaching but also through written material and courses for those who need different platforms. I hope that, no matter the medium, everyone I can interact with can have the valuable experience to dig down and believe in themselves and uncover what’s holding them back so that they can make forward progress and achieve their dreams.

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?

If given the opportunity to see my desired change in the world, it would be for every woman to know that you are already worthy of respect and you already have the capacity and the ability within yourself to do the work you want to do. There may still be work to do to build your skills or your network to make your dream a reality, but you are capable and you are worthy of respect, so don’t buy anybody’s lies if they say otherwise.

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 have a couple of thoughts on women’s leadership. First off is to celebrate our progress and let’s keep up the good work. It can be so exhausting and difficult to keep going, but we are making progress, we are having an impact, and we are cracking that glass ceiling. The second is to break down old stereotypes like women aren’t supportive and aren’t friendly in the workplace. That’s a narrative we can and are rewriting. My overwhelming experience working with other women has been one of support. When you show up to help others they show up to help you and that is incredibly powerful. Third off is that women driving this change alone are not enough. We need active allies and we need to educate the coming generations and the existing generations about the biases that are still held around women in leadership so that we can set the record straight that women are incredibly effective and impactful leaders and so that we can make more opportunities for more leaders. So great job ladies and allies and let’s keep up the good and challenging work! 

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?

I’d like to drive home that  if you are passionate about something don’t let stereotypes stand in the way. Know your own value, don’t let anyone else tell you what it is, and go for your goals.