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Community Highlights: Meet Paula McMillan-Perez of Personalize Your Coaching

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula McMillan-Perez.

Hi Paula, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
It’s actually still a bit funny to me that for as long as I remember, I knew I wanted to work with people. From the days of working in afterschool programs and summer camps with youth, it has always been a passion for me to work with those in my community and create safe spaces.

I am an Afro-Caribbean licensed social worker, relationship coach, and framework mentor who was raised and resides in the Bronx, NY. A graduate of Mt. Saint Mary College as a dual Psychology and Human Service major as well as a graduate of Adelphi University earning a Master of Social Work degree, I also obtained a certification as a Professional Coach from the Life Coach Institute. I have over a decade of experience serving all age groups involving but not limited to child welfare, forensic social work, substance abuse, and trauma support.

In my work in many of the communities in New York City, I saw a need to create more accessible services for people of color, women, and children which is how Personalize Your Coaching, LLC was born. I partner with educators, individuals, and organizations to enhance confidence and build better relationships so you move from surviving to thriving! Through 1:1 coaching, therapy, courses, group coaching, workshop facilitation and development, I support my client’s holistic growth through a mental wellness lens ensuring the capability to reach their goals.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The road has been bumpy. It has had potholes of various sizes and shapes. Black ice and all kinds of “road conditions” to name a few. When I was in graduate school, I was laid off which was really challenging because I had to find a way to sustain myself while finishing my last year of school. I did do many odd jobs from cleaning houses to giving driving lessons (in my own car!) to make sure that I was able to get by. Thanks to the support of friends and family, I was able to persevere which is not always easy for a highly independent person. Sometimes when you are the person that people turn to for support it can be so hard to reach out to the hand that is extending you some. That was one of the most important lessons I have learned in life and I try my best to keep it at the forefront of my mind as I engage in working with clients.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The most important thing to know is that Personalize Your Coaching (PYC) is about creating community and the safe space that it entails. We provide therapy, coaching, group coaching, workshops and support to individuals, educators and organizations to uplift our communities. It can be extremely difficult in communities of color to access these services, especially on an affordable scale so we strive to do that just that! I would say that I am known for my welcoming smile and outgoing personality.

I love a good “knock knock” joke and will often use them as a transition from one task to the other in an effort to break the ice. The thing that sets me apart from others is true transparency as what you see is what you get. Being my authentic self has allowed me to commune and collaborate with many wonderful people, providers and educators. Your network will always improve your net worth and I’m not just speaking about the financial aspects.

I am most proud of Support and Style which is a line of clothing I created to support and uplift our helping professionals while creating awareness to minimize the stigma associated with mental health. All proceeds from clothing purchases go toward sliding scale payments for individuals in underserved areas who would like coaching or therapy.

The thing I want readers to know that is PYC is international and we work with clients and service communities in several states and countries. We consult on a variety of themes and strive to craft the most personalized experience to ensure your needs are met.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important lesson I have learned is that anxiety is a liar. It will convince you that those feelings are real because they feel so much so, but we all can benefit from learning tools and strategies that help propel us through those feelings so we can manage them and achieve our intended goals.

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