What happens when you Invest In Yourself?  It’s different for everyone, but I guarantee you, you will be surprised.  You may find yourself faced with an opportunity for growth that will scare the wits out of you; you may wonder if the new adventure is the right path or not; and you may find that you are being tested to take a leap of faith and just believe in yourself.

I had been striving for three years to complete my GreenMBA and finally carve out some precious time for myself to do what I loved:  Art and Writing.  I was still struggling with my higher purpose — when was I going to figure that out.  At the age of 57, I had seven years of college under my belt, plenty of corporate and entrepreneural experience, a whopping school loan coming up in six months, and I STILL didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up!

I rarely went to seminars and talks at the college.  Who has time when you are in your third year of an MBA program, have a family, and running a business.  I saw the flyer for the upcoming talk in October and felt if this person was coming all the way from England to do a presentation at Dominican, the least I can do is show up and learn what he had to say.

The only man who could uproot me from my Marin lifestyle is Aonghus Gordon.  He captured the audience with his charming English accent sharing story after story of the work they were doing at Ruskin Mill Trust in England with Special Needs children, single women with children, soldiers returning from Afghanistan, and more.

Founder of Ruskin Mill Trust, Nailsworth, UK

Gordon had me  literally sitting on the edge of my seat.  I was shaking at my very core!  All my schooling, my eight years working in Special Education for the San Francisco Unified School District, and my husband’s and my current work with TOPSoccer (a soccer program dedicated to children with special needs) all came to a pinnacle revealing my higher purpose.

I knew it was going to be hard to be away from my tight-knit family for four months; I knew there would be sacrafices; but I knew I had to go — my whole family knew this was my calling.  I accepted the four-month assignment in England working with the Management Team at Ruskin Mill Trust in Nailsworth to learn, develop strategies to expand globally, and help with fundraising.

I had the privilege of traveling and working with another GreenMBA colleague, whose name is also Barbara, so we are known as the Barbara’s or Barbara & Barbara.  The British find it amusingly funny, and we are having a good time introducing ourselves to others. Definitely, we are making an unforgetable impression. (Photo: Ruskin Mill Trust Corporate Offices, Nailsworth, UK – 2012)

This amazing opportunity and adventure of a lifetime was captured in my blog:  BB in England from January to May, 2012.  If you have the opportunity to travel and work abroad, I highly recommend keeping a personal journal and blogging for others that will be following in your footsteps.

Barbara Bonardi  (written February 2012/published May 2013)

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Filed under Working Abroad - UK

Invest In Yourself!

In the Spring of 2005 at the age of 50, I went back to school.  It was something I wanted to do as soon as my three children were old enough.  I remember my youngest was 14 years of age at the time, and my oldest was in college in Boston.  In May, 2008, I received my BA in Strategic Management with a Minor in Art and Writing through Dominican University’s Pathways Program, an amazing program which caters to adults who have work/family commitments but want to go back to school to earn their degree.

I had a huge decision to make at that time.  Should I continue my heart’s desire, writing and art, or should I go with my intuition, the GreenMBA program being offered at Dominican University?  I chose the GreenMBA program and entered into Cohort Q not quite realizing what I was getting myself into ~ a journey that would open my world beyond the doors of Marin County.

The class assignments started with understanding oneself on a core level, leaving no stone unturned, then launching into our global community seeking our higher purpose.  It has been three years of personal growth and achievement that has continued to mold and shape me into the person I am today.  The GreenMBA program at Dominican University of California in San Rafael has lived up to the university’s motto:  This Place Changes People.

Three years later, on May 13, 2011, I participated in the Spring Graduation Commencement at Dominican University in my cap and gown.  This Fall, nearly 20 of us are preparing for our Capstone projects ~ our business plan presentations ~ where we have the opportunity to bring everything we learned about Sustainable Enterprise (GreenMBA) into a viable business plan.  This Fall, surrounded by family, friends, professors, staff, and investors, we get to share our visions and new business ideas for the first time.

Invest in yourself: I cannot express enough how important it is to keep learning.  An education is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself, your children, or your students.  I have played all three roles as a student, a parent, and as a teacher.

As a teacher, I still have parents come up to me years later to tell me how much I impacted their child’s life and career choices.  As a parent, my main goal was to give my three children the opportunity of higher education.  All three have graduated from fabulous colleges – Berkelee College of Music, Cal Maritime Academy, and Dominican University’s Nursing Program.  And as a student, the opportunity to learn more about myself and my global community these past few years has been life changing.  I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, but I’m getting close and having fun along the way.

How much does it cost?  About the same as a high-end Mercedes: I was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle after completing my BA in Strategic Management in May, 2008, as a non-traditional student (someone who returns to school after a number of years).  At that time, I had decided to enter into the GreenMBA program at Dominican University, and the interviewer asked me how much THAT was going to cost me? I felt that he did not value an education as much as I did, and it wasn’t any of his business at that point, and so I answered, “About the same as a high-end Mercedes.”

START with one class, if you are a little nervous, but just START.  My journey began at College of Marin in Kentfield, CA.  I did not decide on going back to college until the day classes began, so I had to walk into each class with an Add/Drop card, which the teachers signed to officially enroll me in their class.  My first classes included a refresher class in Math, Child Psychology, and Spanish (which I already knew but was an excellent refresher …. and an easy “A”).

Wherever your passion for learning may take you, invest in yourself, believe in yourself, and never stop learning.  It is something that can never be lost or taken away; it is your right as a human being.

Barbara Bonardi


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Welcome Home

I struggled with my website, because I did not want to give a corporate facade that people associated with a “real business;” yet, I wanted my clients, business associates, and guests to take me seriously.   I am an Executive Support and Strategist;  I help others live their lives on purpose; I help people come back home to themselves to where they are most powerful.   Most of all, because the work I do with my clients, or maybe even with you, is so personal, I wanted to create a comfortable and welcoming place to work together.

When you visit me at my home website to be inspired or to connect and make an appointment for a personal session with me, you may see the images change from time to time.  It is because I am inviting you into my daily environment, which revolves around my office or art studio, the University I attend, my favorite cafes, the City museums and other quaint spots, and even my cottage-like home.

Personalized Sessions:  Living Life On Purpose

There is no real mystery to how I help others make their dreams comes true; mostly, we pick a comfortable place to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea, and then I just listen and take notes.  Sometimes I need to prompt my clients with a question or two to release their imagination, but after their hopes, dreams, and desires are shared, we get to work and capture those ideas in a journal and on a Personalized Mind Map.  The Personalized Mind Map serves as a bird’s eye view of their ideas and helps to recognize broken links that need mending and bridges to opportunities they need to start living life on purpose. With the help of color pens and images, individuals are able to not only see connections within themselves to manifest their desires into reality, they retain a visual interpretation to help solidify their life projects.

Teaching By Example

Another key feature in how I help others to live life on purpose is that I teach by example.  Are you dreaming of going back to school?  At the age of 50, I enrolled in college for the first time in my life and received my BA in Strategic Management, and Fall 2011 I earned my MBA in Sustainable Enterprise.  Do you want to write and be published?  I am a published writer and own my own publishing company.  Do you want to live in Italy or Paris and not sure how to do that?  I lived in Italy in the Summer of 2007, which changed my life forever!  Do you want to find the artist in you?  I have explored several mediums including oil, watercolor, pencil drawings, pen & ink, and oil pastels.  In sharing my own personal life strategies, I help to develop trust and build confidence in your own ability to create the life you are meant to live.

I invite you to get comfortable and get to know me.  Explore my other links to blogs I am currently writing and visit and view the books I have published ~ feel free to download a free introductory sample of Simple Awareness: A Self-Discovery in Quantum Healing through Art or HCG Diet: A Shot At Weight Loss – A Personal Journey of Transformation.  Perhaps visiting my site for a moment is just what you need to be inspired to start your own blog, publish your own book, go back to school, lose those stubborn pounds, get healthy, or travel to another country.  If so, send me a quick note and tell me what you are doing.  I want to be further inspired by you and your accomplishments.  Oh, and, welcome home!

Barbara Bonardi


Filed under Executive Support & Strategies