Today we’d like to introduce you to Keisha Howard Gaddis.
Keisha, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Throughout my teenage years, I struggled with self-esteem and body image issues. But, no one knew. I smiled every day and acted like everything was ok, because I felt like I had no one to talk to. Today, I call it my “self-esteem secret”.
Fast forward several years when I became a Teacher and then later a School Counselor, I noticed that there were MANY girls who also had a self-esteem secret. The lack of self-esteem amongst the girls I was working with was causing them to make poor choices, play it small in the classroom, miss out great opportunities, and not show up fully in the world. That is when I decided that enough was enough. Since I know what it was like to be a teenager and not feel like I had anyone to talk to about the tough challenges that occur during the teen years, I decided that I wanted to create a program that allowed teen girls to not only discuss tough topics in a safe environment, but also provide them with tools and strategies as they are developing into young women.
I received my Master’s Degree in Counseling and became a Certified Life Coach. In 2008, I started a self-esteem organization for girls, PEARL Girls, which stands for (Poised, Elegant, and Responsible Leaders. Through PEARL Girls, I host self-esteem and empowerment workshops, and I raise funds to provide college scholarships to deserving DFW female high school graduates. To date, the PEARL Girls programs have empowered thousands of girls, and we have awarded over $38,000 worth of college scholarships.
In 2015, I decided that I wanted to spread my girl-power mission on a wider scale. I published a book, “The Inner-Beauty Secret” which is a character education book that teaches youth the importance of true beauty coming from within (kindness, compassion, honesty, etc.). The book comes complete with Lesson Plans, Activity Sheets, and a Video Game to further explore the concepts taught in the book.
I also began to work with girls on a deeper level, as I started Life Coaching and Speaking as “Coach Keisha”. Today, I life coach girls in small groups and also 1 on 1. I also travel across the country speaking at schools, conference, and churches to both girls and their moms about how to have a healthy self-esteem in today’s world, the latest trends, hot topics, and issues affecting girls, and I share solutions and strategies to both girls and moms on healthy girl development. In addition, I am the National Teen Advice Expert blogger for About.com, and I also blog for the Huffington Post. I am also a Social & Emotional Wellness Counselor at an all- girls private school in Dallas, Ursuline Academy of Dallas.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I cannot say that it’s been a smooth road. I feel like God lead me to do the work that I do. My struggles as a teenager have now turned into my passion, ministry, and my life’s work. I LOVE supporting and helping girls live their very best life and to make smart choices, but it has taken a lot of education, reading, studying, and my own life experiences to be able to connect with girls as easily as I do, and on such a deep level where they not only confide in me, but they trust me too.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Coach Keisha and PEARL Girls story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a Counselor, Life Coach, Author, and Speaker who specializes in healthy girl development. I life coach and counsel girls 1 on 1, and in small groups. I am also a support system for mothers of girls as I share tips, tools and strategies on the latest trends affecting girls today and how mothers can help their daughters grow into young women.
I am proud of the many girls and moms who I have supported over the years. I have helped hundreds of girls improve their self-esteem, raise their academic grades, learn how to advocate for themselves, overcome bullying, learn how to set boundaries, make smart choices (in real life and online), and learn how to go after their goals. I am also proud of the amount of college scholarships ($38,000) that we have awarded through PEARL Girls to high school female graduates.
What sets me apart from others is that I literally work with girls all day every day, and I was called to do this work. I struggled as a teen girl, so I do this work so that other girls don’t have to struggle in silence as I did. I have studied healthy girl development for over 15 years, have a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and I have a God given gift of being able to connect with girls at a level where they trust me and trust the advice that I give them.
I am also proud of these accolades:
In 2015 –PEARL Girls was endorsed by Beyoncé’s #Beygood movement for our good work with girls’ self-esteem
In 2015- I received the Mom’s Choice Award for my book, The Inner-Beauty Secret
In 2016 – I was one of Dallas’ Top 40 Under 40 Honorees
In 2016 – I was featured on the Harry Connick Jr. Show for the work that I have done to empower girls.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure that I believe in luck. I feel as though my business has been and still is purpose-driven. I feel lead to support girls, and I have fun doing it. I can say that I am truly blessed to do the work that I do, because it doesn’t feel like work to me.
- Website: www.CoachKeisha.com
- Email: Info@CoachKeisha.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/mycoachkeisha
- Facebook: facebook.com/coachkeisha
- Twitter: twitter.com/mycoachkeisha
- Other: www.Pearl-Girls.org
Kevin Gaddis Jr. Photography
Heidi Galloway Photography