Coach Spotlight: Ashunda Thomas

Life-long learner, life-long coach

From an outsider’s perspective, Ashunda Thomas’s career had everything in place: annual raises, job security, great colleagues. She was working for her local state government in the human resources department. Yet despite all those positive attributes, “I didn’t feel fulfilled,” Ashunda shares. “I just felt like I needed to do more.” So she did some serious self-discovery and dug deep to find work that really resonated with her.

She found herself pulled to the field of psychology. Ashunda knew there would be a lot of school involved but she didn’t let that stop her. Sure enough, Ashunda is on track to graduate with her PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology in the 2024 Spring Term — if not sooner. “I don’t think it’ll take the entire year because I truly enjoy what I do,” she said with a smile. 

While she was doing her research on psychology programs, she discovered that coaching was a related field, something she could jump into as she pursued her PhD. Her experience confirms that she is in the right place. “I transform when I’m talking to students,” she says. “I don’t care if I’m not feeling well, or if I have stress or anxieties that are happening around me. When I connect with that student, their story is all that I hear. I get to see the student as their whole self and hear them completely, including the emotions they’re expressing through their words or their body language.” She describes it as a “presence beyond measure.”

“When I coach, it never feels like work. It just feels good.” Ashunda especially loves the career coaching aspects of her job. “I really wanted to understand where I can make the greatest impact. And that’s when I realized that it was in one’s work experience.” Because she sees psychology in the workplace aligned with societal behaviors that frequently change, Ashunda knows she will always be studying her craft. “I consider myself a lifelong learner.” When she thinks about where her career is going, it makes an investment like that rewarding. “Excitement just comes off of me because it’s been a journey, and it’s been great.”

“I enjoy coaching people to spaces that align with what they have in mind as their success, and being an advocate of their success. That’s kind of my slogan, actually — being an advocate of another’s success.”

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