Hi, and thank you for your interest in Meryl Shaw Coaching. What follows is some of my journey to becoming a coach. For more about my style of coaching, see the About My Coaching page.
All of my life, two of my great interests have been psychology and theater. I feel incredibly lucky to have forged a career in mid-life that enables me to merge the two in a way that uses my intuitive understanding of people, my formal training in coaching and psychology, and my years of experience in theater. Here's how that unique combination developed.
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 in the mid-1970's. I applied my college and professional theater experience from the D.C. area at several local theater companies, which led to a 12-year tenure as Resident Stage Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. During that time I also spent six summers as Production Stage Manager at the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival (now California Shakespeare Theater).
In 1992, I began stage managing at American Conservatory Theater and soon 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, including participating in the creation of and recruitment for the resident acting company.
I also worked closely with the graduate students in the A.C.T. Conservatory's MFA Acting program. For many years, I coached these young artists on their audition material and mentored their preparation to enter the acting profession upon graduation. During my tenure at A.C.T., I also coached and mentored other local actors who came to me for private coaching, and I conducted workshops, classes, and intensives at theaters and colleges throughout the country.
About four years ago, 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 non-actors and actors. I also developed a unique group workshop that combines life and audition coaching for actors, including workshops in Berkeley and San Francisco this fall that just concluded.