I’m a professional and executive coach, wife, mother, jogger, and writer. Not always necessarily in that order.Photo of Andrea James

In my executive/professional coaching business, I work with clients in transition or leaders who want to hone their leadership styles. This is new as of 2016.

My previous careers — computer science, financial journalism, and Wall Street stock analysis — give me a unique perspective as a coach. Most recently, I worked full time researching emerging technologies for the equity capital markets group of a Midwest investment bank. My title was vice president and senior research analyst and my focus was on game-changing technology in the aerospace & defense, clean tech / automotive and industrial markets. I’ve developed expertise in defense and intelligence contracting, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), commercial satellite imagery and Earth observation through remote sensing, precision agriculture technology, 3-D printing, firearms sales, and electric vehicles & batteries. Yes, I analyzed satellites, guns, drones, and electric cars — because, why not?

As seen on:

I have appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg News, CNN, Fox Business and Canada’s Business News Network as a Wall Street expert. I’ve been profiled by CBS MarketWatch, the Philadelphia Inquirer and National Public Radio. My research and interviews frequently appear in media outlets including Barron’s, Investor’s Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and the MIT Technology Review.

Prior to joining my firm in 2009, I worked as a financial journalist for several news outlets, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Bloomberg News London. My work as a journalist has appeared globally, including in the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Business Journal.

Vocation & education:

My career has been varied and adventurous. I’ve survived two live hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and interviewed survivors whose homes were destroyed. I’ve flown in a restored World War II bomber. I’ve learned countless facts about aerospace, coffee and software (thank you, Seattle.) And I’ve dived deep on high tech niche industries, including the U.S. geospatial intelligence and satellite community.

I’ve tracked Tesla’s rise from its initial public offering to the leading luxury sedan maker in its category, which included a lot of travel and talking to many of the players in the Tesla ecosystem — from suppliers to customers to competitors to battery experts to the company’s leadership itself. I’ve written volumes of research on corporations, including Tesla, for Wall Street investor clients, and that research generated close to $2 million in annual revenue for my firm.

And I’ve sat with billionaires (as my paid clients and interviewees) and beggars and a lot of people in between.

I started my career as a data analyst for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in computer information systems from American University in Washington, D.C., where I also minored in physics. I loved studying computer science and physics and those subjects provided the foundation upon which I view the world. How can you not love the stars?

I also hold a masters in journalism from Northwestern University, near Chicago.

Why coaching?

Observing and listening bring me joy, and even more so if the person I’m with gains new clarity or insight. I coach because I’m good at it, because it’s fun, and because it is the place where my strengths and ability meet what other people desire or need. People, and our universal grappling with the finitude nature of life, interest me.

Over the course of my stock analysis career, I began to notice a pattern with my human interactions. When someone and I were alone, our conversation often strayed away from the stock market and entered sacred ground.

For example, I traveled regularly with corporate executives, taking them from one investor meeting to another in a major city. These were grueling trips, where a CEO or CFO got grilled by one investor after another. And in the quiet of the taxi cab between meetings, often a CEO would ask me, “How did I do? How could that have been better?” This is sacred ground and I honored it as such.

Many times on the phone, hedge fund managers would wonder aloud if maybe it was time to try something different. And we’d spend some time talking about leaving versus staying. Once, a conversation got so intense that one of my Wall Street clients said he needed to go take a walk in Central Park, just to think it all over!

I had fund analysts who would call me for empathy when their portfolio manager (boss) was being difficult. And, I often spoke with folks who were completely on top of their game work-wise, but I found myself encouraging them on lifestyle changes that would surely boost energy levels.

These conversations were always productive and engaging. And I knew that these conversations didn’t happen with other stock analysts. Though my investment research gave me a seat at the table in the male-dominated, high-testosterone Wall Street world, I had other strengths besides Excel modeling that were going unused.

Enter coaching. In early 2016, I enrolled in a coaching course through SeattleCoach, which is certified by the International Coach Federation. There, I began learning about the coaching profession, systems theory, and the neuroscience around strengths-based / somatic intelligence. I also started a course with a local naturopath PhD to learn about how to optimize brain and mind performance. I am working toward certification and am taking clients at a student rate.

Here’s what I know to be true and where I believe I can add the most value as a coach:

1) Everyone benefits from talking things out in confidence.
2) Finding trusted relationships is difficult, especially for leaders. It’s lonely at the top.
3) For whatever reason, my mind can connect dots and see patterns better than average. I’m good at not only asking questions, but at knowing which questions to ask that can add value to another person’s life.

A bit deeper:

Along the way, I have seen and heard and learned so much. But my story begins long before that. For the three souls who happen to still be reading this ridiculously long bio, I will share a bit of my personal story. As a baby, I was adopted by an elderly couple — a retired World War II Navy veteran and his wife, and they raised me as my mom and dad. I grew up in a working class New Jersey neighborhood, where family, loyalty and love reigned. Sadly, both of my parents died about a year apart, leaving me orphaned at age 13. My personal history means that I know what it means to struggle and work hard, to feel like one is living on the edge, and to overcome adversity.

I hold a deep affection for and belief in the human spirit and I can see love, ingenuity, creativity, and intelligence in most people I meet.

I lived my first 18 years  in New Jersey. Then, I moved to Washington, D.C. to attend college. In my 20’s, I’d moved from the Washington, D.C. area, to Chicago, to London, back to D.C., to Mobile, Ala., on the Gulf Coast, to Seattle, to Minneapolis and back to Seattle. Whew!

Today, I’ve chosen Seattle as home because it mixes city with nature, commerce with creation, the energy of skyscrapers with the peace of evergreens, water and mountains. I enjoy hiking and skiing and exploring new places, trying new foods and clumsily attempting new endeavors, the most recent of which is parenthood.

In sum:

If there’s any theme to my life, career and education, it’s exploration, curiosity and learning.

Oh. One more thing. In 2001, I appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” and won an all-expenses-paid trip to Antigua, which I still claim is one of my biggest achievements.

Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Some of my “expert” television appearances are on YouTube.

As my stock analyst career took off and I got more followers (and haters!), I had to take down my blog for several years. It was a blog for the intellectually curious, for star gazers, for anyone who wants to live a considered life. It was a privilege and a pleasure to connect with people via my public writing. I have resurrected the blog, here.