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About Barbara -
The Serious Stuff

Barbara L. Wrigley is a life coach specializing in guiding people through life transitions.  She graduated from the Coach Certification Program of the Gestalt International Study Center in South Wellfleet, MA in April 2017, was granted her Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credentials from the International Coach Federation in August 2017, and her Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credentials in September, 2019. She has been coaching for over 7 years and has over 1400 hours of experience.


Barbara received her Master’s degree in Human Resource Development/Organization Development with honors at American University in Washington, DC, in 1985, and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English/Social Studies from Hope College in Holland, MI in 1976. She has been doing personal growth work for over four decades, primarily through NTL Institute for the Applied Behavioral Sciences and at Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center in Livingston Manor, NY.


Barbara was the Founding and Executive Director of the highly-respected Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia which provided training and assistance to minority and socially disadvantaged women seeking to start and grow their own businesses.  During her 11 year tenure, the Center trained over 22,000 women, and helped launch thousands of small businesses.  Additionally, she served as Vice President of Public Relations for the Center’s parent company, the Community Business Partnership, and was also instrumental in the establishment of its Business Incubation Center in 2004 and Financial Education Center for Women Entrepreneurs in 2006.


Barbara has more than thirty years’ experience as a manager and advisor and over twenty years’ experience as an organization development consultant and adult educator. She is a gifted leader with proven administrative, inspirational, marketing and platform skills, has won numerous awards for her advocacy work and has twice provided expert testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.


She is deeply committed to human empowerment and has provided leadership within the LGBTQ+ community for the past twenty five years as a speaker, board member, mentor and retreat leader.


Barbara has two sons and two grandchildren, and has experienced both divorce and being widowed.  Although she has lived on both coasts, she spent much of her life in the Washington DC area and now resides in Durham, NC with her partner, Sherrill, and their new puppy, Graham, a Miniature Goldendoodle. 

(Click here to see Barbara's resume)

Coaching Certificate Barbara Wrigley
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"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is." - Mary Anne Radmacher

About Barbara - 

The Rest of the Story

  1. I am the oldest of five kids, the first grandchild on both sides, a natural redhead, and was conceived in the woods outside Zanesville, Ohio on a warm December day back in ’53.

  2. I started swimming competitively at 4 and swam several hours daily for 14 more years.  The smell of chlorine totally chills me out.

  3. At 18, I was honored as the local DAR Good Citizen of the Year.  I was also a Jesus freak.  It made for an interesting senior year.

  4. Four years later, I lived for a year in a geodesic domed commune on the shores of Lake Michigan with a dozen other hippies. We heated with wood, made our own bread and stained glass windows, and ate with chopsticks and spoons.

  5. To help out a theater friend, I once had 10 days to learn and play the role of Bobbie Michelle in Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.”

  6. I love hot tubs and snow angels. Especially at the same time.

  7. I learned how to can pickles, applesauce, tomatoes, jellies, peaches, etc. from a woman who I helped get her GED in a week so she could get a job as a forklift driver.

  8. I love throwing dinner parties. My favorite things to make include Paella, Chicken Canzanese, Thai food, Corned Beef and Cabbage, flank steak and homemade applesauce.

  9. I taught ninth grade grammar and coached girls’ swimming, diving and synchronized swimming in Hudsonville, Michigan, the salad bar capital of the world.

  10. I was married for ten years to a Pentagon bureaucrat, and had two incredible sons, but never felt right in my skin as a good suburban housewife.  Fortunately, I still have my two sons.

  11. I was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and gave a sermon on my 37th birthday entitled, “Speaking of God.”

  12. I am a second generation Organization Development Consultant.  My parents sent me on my first personal growth retreat when I graduated from college with the admonition that if four years of college hadn’t gotten my act together then perhaps two weeks of a Human Interaction Laboratory would.  It did.  And, I found my life’s work.

  13. When I came out at 40, my mom just said, “Oh, thank God it’s just a woman.  I thought you were having an affair with your minister.”

  14. One of my most exotic (that’s with an X not an R) experiences was floating down the underground river at Xcaret Park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

  15. I visited Kilbirnie, Scotland, from where my Great Great Grandparents emigrated, and walked down the aisle in the church in which they were married.  Coincidentally or not, I love to drink Scotch whiskey.

  16. My favorite place in the world is Shalom Mountain in the Catskills and my favorite peeps in the world are the ones from all around that world that I met there.

  17. I absolutely hate clothes shopping. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

  18. I was the coach of the International Youth Whistling Champion for five years.  (Can you whistle Mozart’s Symphony #25 in G Minor?  My oldest can.)

  19. I love being outdoors and skinny dipping in the summer.  Love it. Love it. Love it.

  20. I am a total Scrabble fanatic with a high game score of 479, and high word score of 131. I always have several online games going.

  21. I quit my job as a bank branch manager in Holland, Michigan when I was told I “wasn’t keeping my nose clean enough” (which meant I was seen dancing at the Holiday Inn on Sunday nights instead of being at Sunday night church services.)  Among other things, they lost their best repossessed car salesperson.

  22. At the age of 50 I seriously told my financial adviser that my only real financial goal in life was to try and avoid homelessness.

  23. I’m super proud of having started the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia where, over an 11 year period we taught over 22,000 women how to start and grow their own businesses.

  24. I once fell in love on a Mexican Riviera cruise and left everything I knew and loved on the east coast to go be with her in Berkeley, California. I retired and we traveled the world and lived an outrageously delightful life for two years until she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.  I kept her alive for sixteen more months, and also took care of her sweet 90 year old diabetic mom who lived with us.

  25. I love my sister, Jenn and when we are old we are going to wear purple, play Scrabble, do crossword puzzles and go down really tall water slides screaming hysterically.  Then we will sip something fine and reminisce about all our great sex partners.

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