To Top

Meet Kayla Cartwright

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Cartwright.

Kayla, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Of course! My life path has been a bit windy; however, my range of experiences has allowed me to make meaning and find interconnections between each stage of my life, a skill that ultimately benefits my clients.

I grew up in Rhode Island and quickly traded snow for sunshine to study at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. I studied management and anthropology and had big plans to work in professional sports; I was even interning with an MLB team. Then I got the phone call that changed my entire path.

A recruiter with Teach for America (TFA) called me and explained the organization’s mission to close what is now referred to as the Opportunity Gap. Her explanation of the disparity of expectations and resources between low-income and wealthier schools had been exactly what I had experienced before & after moving from one city to another in tenth grade. I was called to act. I had to lead and serve students who were facing the same limited opportunities that I just nearly escaped thanks to a move one zip code away.

I ended up teaching science in rural Eastern North Carolina. Right out of college, I was charged with ensuring the academic success of ~100 students each year. Having learned so much from my students, their families, and my colleagues about education and leadership, I wanted to scale my impact so joined the staff of TFA in Miami. I was responsible for helping my teams of teachers set path-changing goals for their students and for coaching them as leaders to reach those goals. My work both as a teacher and manager with TFA served as the foundation for my career and impacts my thinking every single day.

After a bit of time in the education field, I decided to pursue an MBA to be able to make an impact on society with an expanded skill set. Once immersed in the b-school environment, I decided that I would allow myself to explore the opportunity to be the “business woman” that, as a child, I had always imagined myself as, but didn’t really know how to become. Since earning my MBA, I have forged an exciting international career focused on client experience and organizational transformation; I have lived and worked abroad in Mexico City and in Montevideo and now reside in Los Angeles. I’m grateful for a role that affords such opportunities.

If you are anything like me, you want to do things that allow you live your passions and make an impact (all at the same time). I was missing flexing my leadership development and coaching muscles in my corporate role, so became a certified digital coach in 2017. Since then, I have grown my client roster exponentially; to date I have coached over 160 paid clients (on over six continents) to reach their productivity, leadership and career goals! The windy path my career has taken has indeed allowed me to pull from a wide range of experiences to support my clients across industries and stages of their lives.

Has it been a smooth road?
In terms of building my coaching clientele, yes, luckily, that has been smooth, especially when my clients refer me to their networks! Regarding my broader life journey, I have faced many challenges and experienced failure time and time again. As a first-generation college graduate, I faced the challenges that many first-generation students experience—being unclear on available options, working nearly 40 hours a week in part-time jobs throughout college, and taking on student loan debt. In education, my first year as a manager leading a team was incredibly challenging—I had many tough moments where I needed to pause and reflect on how my own mindsets and actions were limiting the success of those I was charged with leading. Managers coached me to help me dramatically improve, and I became a strong advocate and student of coaching as a practice (which brings us here today!).

As many who have faced such challenges can attest, these experiences have allowed me to cultivate strengths in resilience and tenacity that serve me well. My grit and drive are also rooted in a sense of gratitude; I deliberately take steps to express my appreciation for my experiences and for others each day. Making the most of any circumstance—and finding the humor in any situation—is what allows me to keep pushing.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’ve been coaching informally for years, and two years ago finally incorporated myself and earned my coaching certification. I focus on Productivity and Leadership and work with my clients through online/text coaching, phone sessions, and in-person sessions. A few clients also have me on retainer—so essentially, I am on speed dial for them when they need a sounding board or advice on a real-time scenario.

Many coaches refer to themselves as life coaches. I prefer to name my work more specifically—I specialize in helping clients improve their Productivity and Leadership habits; however, my clients’ goals take the form of personal, relational, career and other professional aspirations—so I end up doing “life” coach work quite often.

My clients generally fall into three buckets:

a. LOOKING FOR A SOUNDING BOARD: Clients who have a lot of their mind and want a thought partner to help them sort it all out and take action—a decluttering of the mind if you will (these clients mainly leverage phone and in-person sessions)

b. LOOKING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY: Clients who have several specific goals in their life (personal and/or professional) and want someone to hold them accountable to take daily action toward those goals (these clients often sign up my online coaching programs, particularly around Setting Daily Priorities)

c. LOOKING FOR EXPERT TACTICAL ADVICE: clients who have specific career development goals who want more consultative support and tactical guidance around career goals, resume and LinkedIn development, interviewing, becoming a manager, leadership development, and enhancing organizational culture (these clients generally leverage phone sessions, team training, and monthly retainer packages for real-time feedback)

When asked what I am most proud of with my coaching business, I point to the success stories of helping my clients earn promotions, launch businesses, write screenplays, improve relationships, and start community initiatives. Having coached over 160 clients from all walks of life, there are many successes from which to choose!

There are many coaches on the market even as coaching, as an industry, is in a somewhat nascent stage. The skills that set me apart from others as a coach include (a) my ability to help others cut through the distractions with whatever it is they want to accomplish and help them prioritize and make a plan of action, and (b) my wide range of experiences in terms of careers and working across cultures that allows me to truly listen, empathize, give tangible advice and hold my clients accountable, no matter their aspirations.

I truly believe anyone can benefit from having a personal coach; I hope that you will trust me to serve you and hold you accountable to working toward your goals! Also, know that I offer Gift Certificates (a great gift for the person who has everything), and now being based in Los Angeles, am happy to host more in-person sessions with my local clients. I am looking forward to supporting my next 200 clients in the coming years!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
So many people deserve credit! I’ll try to be specific since otherwise my effusive gratitude could take FOR-EV-ER. I’m grateful to my sister Jill and my friends Dana, Michelle and Jolie for each serving as my required guinea pig clients when I was going through my coaching certification—I certainly wouldn’t be at this stage without your tangible support from the start! My friends and family scattered across the country have been supportive throughout—know that every time you ask how coaching is going, or share my website, business card or Instagram with a friend, you are helping a female-owned business! Keep it up 😉

There are also hundreds (not an exaggeration) of students, teachers, leaders, classmates, mentors, professors and colleagues who have taught me, shared feedback (even when it was tough), supported me and raised the bar—and for you each, I am thankful. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have found a sanctuary of woman wonder at The Jane Club and have been grateful for the supportive environment I have found working in that space. A fellow Jane Club member, Liz Femi, founder of Inkwell Coach (a college essay writing business) has been a wonderful client and partner—and I appreciate you spreading the good word about my work (leading me to be here with Voyage LA today). Finally, I am grateful for my partner, Chris, for supporting and motivating me to push my coaching business even further, and for my Mom for being my constant ear and role model. Love to you all!


  • Online Coaching Packages start at $25/week (use code KAYLAWEEK for your first week free with any online Coach)
  • Phone Sessions start at $75 (and are available anywhere in the world)
  • In-Person Sessions start at $125 (sessions are held in DTLA or Larchmont VIllage; elsewhere by request)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Haley S Porter

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Kelly

    August 13, 2019 at 10:32

    Fantastic story! So excited to see you doing this Kayla!

Leave a Reply

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in