About Meryl

Why do you do what you do?

“The world will be saved by the western woman.” This quote has been attributed to the Dalai Lama, from the Vancouver World Peace Summit. So, if we’re going to save the world, we’re going to have to become more visible. And we’re going to have to deliver our messages powerfully. I’m determined to put everything I’ve ever learned at the service of women who want to step onto bigger stages and lead the way!

Why do you coach professionals, other speakers, and actors? Don’t they have very different needs and skills?

I know it may seem like these groups are different, but they share some common strengths and challenges:

  • They all have to be visible in public – live and in person.

  • They all have to deal with the stress and nerves of being on stage.

  • They all have a story to tell.

I love using my theater background to help actors and professionals craft their story for maximum impact and relatability. By grounding their story in their real life experience, performers of all kinds drop the sense of “faking it” and connect with the material and their audience. Everyone who appears in public could use some powerful tools for mastering nerves and transforming fear to confidence.

What brought you to this calling?

I feel incredibly lucky to have forged a career in mid-life that enables me to use my intuitive understanding of people, my formal training in coaching and psychology, and my years of experience in theater. After earning a B.A. in Psychology at American University and spending a year in graduate school in Washington, D.C., I moved to the Bay Area and fell into theater, stage managing in many theaters. After stage managing at American Conservatory Theater, I was asked to become the Casting Director there, a position I held for 17 years. My role at A.C.T. was wide-ranging, including not only casting but season planning, new work development, and artist cultivation.

For many years, I coached young artists on their audition material and mentored their preparation to enter the acting profession upon graduation, as well as coaching and mentoring other local actors who came to me for private coaching. I conducted workshops, classes, and intensives at theaters and colleges throughout the country. 

About 15 years into my tenure at A.C.T. I discovered the field of coaching, which I immediately sensed was a perfect fit for me. It was an opportunity to return to my love of psychology and combine it with my experience coaching actors. I completed the Core Strengths Coaching program at San Francisco State University's Center for Extended Learning in April 2010. During my studies and experience in that program, I realized that this was what I had been preparing for all my life! I'm a member of the International Positive Psychology Association, as well as the International Coach Federation.

Since leaving A.C.T. in 2010, I have focused on coaching actors for auditions and providing life coaching for artists and professionals. As I developed professional colleagues in and out of the coaching world, I was recruited more and more frequently to coach them on their speeches and presentations.

As I’ve witnessed professionals and actors step into their power and voices, I’ve become passionate about helping successful leaders, especially women, take their place in making the world a better place.

Who are your ideal clients?

My ideal clients are already established, and most of them are already doing some speaking. But they yearn to be more powerful and confident in their presentations. They want to up their game so they can make more impact and more income, and they’re ready to grow into their best selves.

I’m interested! What are my options for working with you?

Let’s begin by having a no-strings conversation. We can explore where you are now, where you’d like to go with your presentation skills, and if it seems right, how we might work together.

Meryl Shaw

Let’s schedule a free consultation.

If you have questions, contact me!