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Meet Clarissa Castillo-Ramsey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clarissa Castillo-Ramsey.

Clarissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
There are two threads that have been constants in my life: art and helping others.

I went to Boston College and studied Marketing (art-related) and Human Resource Management (people-related). I started my professional career in retail. It didn’t last long! I moved from Boston to California and decided to try a more creative career – graphic design. I thought that would be in more alignment with me. I thought that would be a career most related to art. Something reputable, creative and would pay the bills.

I was a graphic designer for about 7-8 years. I enjoyed it, and then I got the itch to change. I wanted to explore the human side of business. I went back to school and received a PsyD in Organizational Development. I was interested in coaching. I landed a job as an internal coach in a healthcare organization and have gotten promoted a few times, now overseeing recruiting and talent management.

I’ve always had my own personal projects while working a full-time job. This is where I am at today.

Has it been a smooth road?
The path of life is a bumpy one, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is how we grow, through the struggles. My first bump in the road was when I was five. I told me mom I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. My mother told me I’d never make any money as an artist. I’d be poor until I died. The message I got from that was – you don’t make good decisions. Might sound dramatic, but that is how I felt as a little kid, and at a young age, I was very timid and shy. I didn’t want to do the “wrong” thing.

My family moved from Michigan to Texas when I was 5 or 6. I loved living in Michigan. Moving to the south was as shock. I had to make new friends, go to a new school and I remember being worried about that. The weather was horrible, and no snow in the winter! How boring. I also noticed there were not very many people like me, Filipino. I dealt with racial situations. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I was into new wave music, making my own fashion statement, and I was definitely not part of the “in” crowd! Looking back, maybe all kids went through this phase but I remember feeling extra sensitive.

When I turned 18 and graduated from high school, I was so ready to move. I went to Boston. I had lots of fun in college but still grappled with identity. I was caught up in making good impressions; people pleasing; doing what I thought others wanted me to do versus listening to myself. It was so easy for me to be a chameleon.

Post-graduation, I took an art class because I wanted to get back to creative expression. I took a 2D class at U Mass. I thought it would be a good foundational class for me if I wanted to get into graphic design. My art teacher gave me pretty consistent feedback that I just didn’t get it and encouraged me to do something else. I have a tendency to want to prove people wrong, and eventually I had a career in graphic design and I am creating and selling art just fine.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m letting go of those old habits and patterns. Working through the recovering people pleaser mindset and putting other people’s time ahead of making time for myself. Getting better and better with age.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a multi-passionate person. My “why” is really to help people, women in particular, to create new possibilities in life. I love helping people get clear on what it is they want to do in life. It could be a project, learning something new. It doesn’t always have to be about finding your life’s purpose. How can you be happy now? I host vision board classes to help people get excited about creating new possibilities in life as well as develop a plan an action plan. I also lead a mastermind group with one of my colleagues. The group is Self-Care Leadership with Patrishia & Clarissa on Facebook. I also offer 1:1 and group coaching.

Most recently, I self-published a book called Painting Your Path. It’s a book of 21 interviews with amazing women who have made shifts and pivots in life. If you’re a woman in mid-life, wondering what is next for me, can I do it, am I too old, is it too late? This book was created with you in mind! I was having a mid-life quandary in 2018 and decided to write about it.

In addition, I enjoy exhibiting my art and creating pop up shows with other females entrepreneurs. I am part of a group called La Femme Artistes. I’m also going to be the opening artist for the Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel, CA which is slated to open in the fall 2020.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Absolutely! I feel that Los Angeles is a very diverse area. You can meet so many people.

For anyone just starting out, I would join the local chamber of commerce. That is an easy way to meet business owners in your community. You can also sign up for Next Door and see who’s in your community. Look for area Facebook groups.

With the pandemic at the time of this writing, it has become easier to connect with just about anyone! You can connect with people on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn.

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Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Horizontal Image, Podcast “Power of Visualization” photo: Heidi Garcia; Last picture and picture of me making vision board: Brian Kutza

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