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Creativity, Safety, The Dalai Lama, and Soup with Alan Heymann – Act 1

In this episode, Alan Heymann takes us on a beautiful journey, recounting the quiet Midwestern childhood that shaped his introverted personality. A child of an immigrant family with a love for travel, Alan was shaped by art, history and an exposure to ancient sites and cultures, which ultimately transformed his worldview. We discuss a lifelong thought-experiment on mortality, and how his philosophical disposition affirmed the importance of mindfulness, the beauty of history and the creative spirit of man. He ends Act 1 with sage advice: the first step in becoming good at something is accepting that we will be bad at it in the beginning.

Alan Heymann, JD, PCC (he/him) has a knack for coaching fellow introverts, helping them find their superpowers in an extroverted world. Alan also specializes in coaching through transitions — such as the transition from individual contributor to leader, the transition into a larger and more complex role, or the transition into a different career. He brings a warm, open and energetic presence to his coaching clients. To date, Alan has coached leaders who were born in 26 countries and work on 5 continents. His clients have spanned corporations (including the Fortune 50), nonprofit organizations, public utilities, federal, county and municipal governments.

Alan is the author of the book Don’t Just Have the Soup: 52 Analogies for Leadership, Coaching and Life. An expert communicator and engaging speaker, he spent more than two decades in public, government and nonprofit communications -- leading teams from 2 to more than 100 people who use words and images to inspire positive change in society. Inspired by a career transformation he brought about with the support of an executive coach, Alan decided to become a coach himself. He founded Peaceful Direction in April 2019.

From 2015-19 and 2010-13, Alan served as an executive leader at DC Water. He was most recently the founding president of the utility’s nonprofit spinoff, Blue Drop. In his first tour of duty, he was chief of external affairs, leading the effort to rebrand DC Water and reconnect with a skeptical public. Alan was previously Vice President of Communications for The Humane Society of the United States. He also held various roles in the Government of the District of Columbia, including agency public information officer, mayoral speechwriter and legislative staffer. Earlier in his career, Alan was a television reporter, producer and anchor in his native Illinois.

Alan is a member of the Barker Adoption Foundation Board of Trustees. He’s followed a plant-based diet since 2002, enjoys running half-marathons and lives with his family outside Washington, DC. He is the son and parent of immigrants to the United States.

Education: Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching (Georgetown University) Juris Doctorate (The George Washington University Law School) Bachelor of Science in Journalism (Northwestern University)

Certifications: Hogan Assessments, Leadership Circle Profile 360, Designing Your Life, Everything DiSC