Rachel Gorman

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My undergraduate academic advisor, George Yonemura, said in his calm, thoughtful voice, “Rachel, you don’t need to know what you want to be when you grow up (or graduate). Immerse yourself in classes that excite you and light you up and from there the road will open up to you.”

With this advice I went on to study counseling, psychology, education, sociology, wellness and bereavement, earning a BS in Human Services & Counseling and an MA in Social Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and Parent Education. Upon graduation I was hired by the local hospital to teach “Parenting Your Newborn,” the course I created for my Masters Thesis.

After graduate school, I had two experiences with death in my family. Two of my grandparents died, one very suddenly and unexpectedly and one in the care of Hospice, surrounded by family. I was inspired by the intensity of death, dying and bereavement and soon began to search for a way for this to be my career. At a cocktail party at my father’s lake house in Silver Lake, PA, I had a life-changing conversation with a nurse June Wooten. She said, “Have you ever heard of Child Life?” No. June set me up to spend the day at a St. Christopher Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. I shadowed a Child Life Specialist and realized this is what I wanted to do. For the next 14 years, I worked in hospitals as a Child Life Specialist and then Child Life Director.

Unless you have had a child in the hospital, you have probably never heard of Child Life. Child Life Specialists are part of the pediatric team, working with children and families in the hospital providing psychosocial and emotional support, helping ease the stress and anxiety of diagnosis, medical procedures and hospitalization. As a Child Life Specialist, I taught coping techniques to parents, children, nursing and medical staff to help ease the stress and anxiety that accompanies hospitalization. The work was intense and filled with meaning.

In 2004, my son West was born. In 2008, I took a conscious break from the hospital to work in education with healthy children. From there I went on to work for a non-profit as the Director of Hospital Outreach and Wellness Education. This job pulled together many pieces from my past — education, research, psychology, engagement, teaching and training, and introduced me to the corporate world. We ran hands-on, service-learning and team building initiatives bringing together corporate employees, school children and hospitalized children and families. In this role I worked with Accenture, BNY Mellon, Cigna, Deloitte, Facebook, Horizon Media, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, New York Life and Zumba.

During this time, I attended a 2-day intensive training, “The Corporate Athlete” at the Human Performance Institute in Florida. This intensive focused on managing our energy to enjoy peak performance and full engagement (physical, emotional, mental and spirit / core energy). I returned to my office in NYC extremely excited about the experience. My colleague Greta said, “Rachel, I could see you being one of those trainers.” I replied, “I could too!” With that, I started networking and moving in that direction. Soon I was recruited by the Mind Gym and became a Certified Mind Gym Coach and Trainer. Mind Gym brings psychology and social science to the workplace. Participants transform how they work and live by slightly tweaking how they think, feel and behave. In the first six months working with the Mind Gym, I delivered 80 trainings to over 30 different companies, including: Ann Inc., CBS, Gap, Hearst, Hershey, Madison Square Garden, MasterCard, MetLife, Penguin Random House, Prudential, Publicis, Suffolk Construction Company, Thomson Reuters and WWE.

As they say, the rest is history. I now have numerous subcontracting relationships and have grown my own business with clients including Bellevue Hospital Center, Edelman, GoPro, Hauser & Wirth, Lineate, NYCDOE, Sotheby’s, Taboola, UN Consulate of Denmark and WWE.

I am often reminded of my advisor, George Yonemura’s advice — to immerse yourself in things that have meaning and purpose, things that energize and excite you. I continue to take (and pass on) this advice as it has served me well.

I live in Manhattan with my husband, Peter, and son, West. When not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends — running, rock climbing, watching movies, meditating and taking in the sites and scenes of New York City.