Meet Your Coaches

Katie Kovaleski & Elli Richter
Deep Dive on KatieDeep Dive on Elli

Clients Turned Friends Turned Business Partners

When we met in 2005, we had no clue we’d start a business together 15 years later. That’s the beauty of divine timing … and the beauty of our journey.

We’re clients, turned friends, turned business partners, and we thought you’d enjoy this interview about how we met, how we found ourselves, and how we started CEO Wisdom.

 

Interviewer: When did you first meet and what was your first impression of each other?

Katie: I was 21 and in my junior year of college and one of my best friends told me “Lady, you MUST go to Eco fitness and take this new class, it’s ahhmazzzing!” I’m not a big group fitness person but did like having a trainer, so I decided to check out what all the buzz was about and signed up for a session. I remember that first day really well; Elli came prancing into the lobby, her energy larger than life and was “heyyyy, girl! OMG we are going to do amazing work together” and then went on to describe my future self and body in a way that made me totally buy into it. Then she put me on the treadmill to warm up, and I admitted that I hadn’t eaten all day and her “oh HELL no” face came on full swing – “BUNNY! It’s SO important to feed your body, you will eat now.” She handed me a protein bar and had me eat it on the treadmill. At that point I knew I was in for it 🙂 

Elli: What sticks out the most is Katie’s laugh and her often saying, “I would never do that” with a lot of sass, us laughing, and her curiosity and intelligence. I had just begun transitioning into life coaching and shared a lot of what I was learning with her. She would immediately soak it up and organize the concepts brilliantly.

 

Interviewer: Did you guys always know you would end up as business partners?

Katie: No.

Elli: Haha, no

Interviewer: What was the progression of your relationship?

Katie: I was 21 when we met and we became close while she was my trainer and then two years later I moved back to Orlando when I was 23. We kept in touch when I would go back occasionally to Charleston to visit but had zero idea we could or would start a business together. I remember her saying, “Bunny, I taught you everything I know, go see my mentor.”

So I did, and did two sessions. It was so intense that I left and didn’t circle back to that shadow work until 10 years later.

Elli:  I loved our sessions and how they always evolved into walking conversations around Charleston. We caught up whenever she was in town, and I always cared deeply for her. 

 

Interviewer: What were those 10 years apart like for both of you?

Katie: Pretty impactful; I returned to Orlando to go to grad school. I would say the primary parts of my life during that time were career based: I finished grad school while working as a nanny (which kept me super busy), started a life coaching practice, worked at a psych-med baker act unit for two years, and became a group therapist at a charter school for kids with significant mental health issues.

I burned out quickly when I saw how broken our mental health care system really is, which was about 5 years into this 10 year journey. I switched focuses and went back to school to study pediatric sleep coaching and then started a practice in 2013.

Aside from that I was mostly focused on “adulting” – buying my first house, adopting my first puppy and attempting to create meaningful relationships.

The funny part is, once I finished all the degrees and got settled on a career path I actually enjoyed, my anxiety really started to set in. I had slowed down enough for my codependent patterns and unprocessed trauma to really take hold, and I spent a lot of time in my personal life trying to rescue, save and fix people. In hindsight, those patterns and choices are what ultimately brought Elli and I back into each other’s lives.

Elli: I finished my second college degree at College of Charleston in Health Education with a dash of Psychology, got certified in Yoga, and Ayurveda, transitioned into full time holistic life coaching, started to work virtually with clients, and taught classes & sound bath events on the side.

On a personal level, I experienced a second ‘awakening:’ divorce and my father’s passing. A few years of experiencing and learning more about grief and loss. I was looking for deeper-level healing and growth for myself and my clients, and was ultimately led to Human Design and subconscious work.

Interviewer: What brought you back into each other’s life 5 years ago?

Katie: PANIC – Seriously though: in November/December of 2015, I had a series of  panic attacks. One that landed me in the hospital and another that required me to be driven home from New York because I had become so claustrophobic that I couldn’t board an airplane. I was terrified and even as a therapist had no idea why it was all happening. But I knew I needed some help.

I texted Elli from the car and basically said “HELP,” and we scheduled a session for the next day. I remember laying on the floor, talking to her on the phone during the session and saying what the actual F*ck is happening to me?? And her replying, “Bunny, you’re waking up.” I remember feeling so out of sorts and thinking, well if that’s the case, I want to go back to sleep!!! I had no clue what that meant at the time and basically spent the next solid 8-months working with her while I figured it out.

Elli: Katie called me one day wanting an alternative approach to panic attacks she was experiencing. We started to work together via phone. At the time, I didn’t know about Human Design or PSYCH-K® yet, so we used conscious tools, and what I called CEO perspective: compassionate, and empowered (self/life) observation. We agreed to be curious about what her body was trying to tell her. We decided to drop all labels and just notice what is going on in her mind, emotions, relationships, work, and life, and how her body is responding.

We used mindfulness, meditation, and energy medicine to help her nervous system.

Her body was giving her such beautiful clues about her life, what a YES and NO feels like, and she soaked up every tool and practice and healed herself. Shortly after, Human Design and PSYCH-K found me, and Katie reached out for sessions. We both geeked out and it clicked everything we worked with before into place for both of us.

 

Interviewer: How did CEO Wisdom come about?

Katie: Soul path. It chose us for sure. We were mid-pandemic (or mid 2020, I should say). And like a lot of other people, were both wanting to mix things up in our lives. Elli reached out and mentioned that she wanted to start traveling, and we made plans for her to pop into Florida that following month. While she was visiting we discovered I was clairvoyant, spent some time experimenting with that, and Elli suggested it might be fun to combine that with PSYCH-K in a group workshop. So we did. And we had a lot of fun doing it, so we thought, “Okay, let’s do that again.” So we did. And on and on it went where we basically developed an entire virtual business together based on what was fun and felt right. 

Elli: 2020 brought a lot of change to my work life, including switching to coaching clients 100% virtually, and letting go of wellness collaborations I had been passionately committed to for the past few years. In September 2020, I got the ping to call Katie about possibly collaborating as PSYCH-K® facilitators. I don’t exactly remember how we chose ‘CEO Wisdom,’ but it only makes sense. 

 

Interviewer: What is the one thing you are most proud of; what makes this special?

Katie: I think what I’m the most proud of is that we live the work; we took all of our personal and professional experience, decades upon decades combined and figured out how to boil it down into 4 simple pillars that have the ability to transform a life. And we use those pillars ourselves every day and provide each other with a mirror and reminders of those things when we forget. We continue to marvel at how well the pillars work, every time we need them, and I’m so proud that we are able to apply all of that in a way that really helps other people. 

Elli: Absolutely. It is such a dream to have this simple, profound, scientifically and spiritually solid approach to healing and growth, and I am so proud and grateful. Katie is a dreamboat of a partner, and my best friend. We each add different skills and gifts to the processes. 

 

Interviewer: What is your ultimate vision for this work?

Katie: To continue to have fun while helping those who are ready to walk through their own awakenings. We now have incredible subconscious tools (PSYCH-K®)  that can drastically cut down the learning curve for people who are ready to work through their trauma and all the “muck” in their lives. Making this work accessible and honestly, a relatively joyful process of self-discovery is definitely an ultimate vision. 

Elli: Definitely continue to have fun holding space and witnessing miracles. We also like to train other coaches and therapists in the 4 pillar process, so more people can have access to this process. 

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