Interview by: Kim Green
Christina Rampersad, the coach behind, Success Beyond the Brink says, “I used to say the worst thing is not knowing what your purpose is. But even worse than that, I realized, is knowing what your purpose is and not fulfilling it.”
The warm yet straightforward coach knows a lot about being on the brink. She has dangled over them in her own life and reached the conclusion that what lies on the other side is either catastrophe or success. She chose success. With an impressive history of helping others overcome obstacles, Christina was a champion coach before she even knew it.
Born and raised in Harlem and Long Island, New York, she attended Pace University and soon after moved to Frankfurt, Germany. While in Germany, she met a program director for Prison Fellowship International Ministry. After forming a synergistic relationship, he hired her to be the Assistant Director of the program. Upon returning to the United States, Christina completed her degree at Fayetteville State University and worked with domestic violence victims. Upon graduation, she returned to New York where she served on the New York Task Force against Domestic Violence, continued graduate courses at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and designed a program that would serve as a model for international replication.
Answering the call to open a center for victims, Rampersad moved to Orlando, Florida to launch the organization she founded called V.O.I.C.E, an acronym for Victims Offenders Intervention Counseling and Education. As the founder, Christina developed and grew the organization by partnering with key governmental, penal, ecclesiastical and community based organizations for the purpose of serving victimized offenders. The program reached inmates of all ages and at-risk youth in schools. V.O.I.C.E. was chosen by the Orange County Commissioners to serve on the Orange County Convention Center expansion project utilizing ex-offenders to help with construction and providing holistic services. The program participants received mental health counseling, coaching, vocational rehabilitation and paid victim reparations, housing and court fees, while providing income to support their often-displaced families.
Without previously hearing the term coach associated with her work, Christina explains, “We were coaching the participants through past issues.” With gratitude, she shares, “It was the most successful program of its kind in central Florida.” In addition to working with ex-offenders and human trafficking victims, she was also working with entrepreneurs and leaders to have a further impact on those they touched. “We were helping people gain clarity of their vision and build their desired outcomes. Most of the people I served were people of faith. I wanted to help them gain the momentum to keep going forward.”
KG: What were you doing in Germany?
CR: I worked on my career, travelled in Europe, where I want to go back again. I worked as the Assistant Director of Prison Fellowship International where I helped to establish the international headquarters and offices throughout Europe. From Germany, I travelled to West Africa, Malta, Italy, Czechoslovakia and many other fascinating places throughout Europe with incredible people. Upon moving back to the States, my international travels continued and included but not limited to South Africa, the Caribbean, St. Croix, and Curacao. My purpose and focus has always been to impact the lives of other and serve people of all cultures.
KG: What was your favorite place that you visited?
CR: I love Europe…London…South Africa...Hawaii and the beach… I guess my true favorite was Europe. But, my favorite place to be is wherever my family is.
KG: What did you find was the most distinct difference when you encountered people from other cultures?
CR: They are more grateful for less. Their lives are less complicated. Americans have more pressure to do more to get more. Non-Americans understand joy and the real value of life and the simplistic ways of living. Also, I think that for other cultures, materialism is not the foundation for self-development. Americans have been pushing for so long that it has complicated life more, creating more pressure internally, with negative consequences surrounding health, marriage and relationships.
KG: How did you find yourself studying at ILCT?
CR: During 2005, my church leader, a former ILCT master coach graduate, put me in contact with the school. Because of my respect and trust for him, I just signed up blindly. Once, I had gone through the foundations component. I received my Board Certified Coach (B.C.C.) designation because they took into consideration, all the coaching work that I had already accomplished.
KG: What was your greatest takeaway from studying at ILCT?
CR: Seeing it as a business and understanding the process of the coach is to draw the answers out of people. That was the A-ha! for me. The Foundations Course was very educational and allowed me to learn structure and the systems for developing a coaching system. A coach doesn’t tell you what to do; they draw it out of you. It is very different than the work of a counselor or minister.
KG: Your business is called “Success Beyond the Brink.” I love this idea of the brink. Talk about this idea of “The Brink.”
CR: My Company’s focus is on women and leaders of faith. We lead them beyond the brink, which is the place where either catastrophe or success occurs, whether by choice or life’s unexpected and often unwanted invitation. Our clients have either experienced overwhelming life circumstances or reached a certain level of success, yet don’t know how to get to the next level. I empower them to identify what the brink is, the barrier keeping them back, and create a success plan to break through and gain momentum. In addition, I also equip them to give back to others.
KG: Why focus on people on “The Brink”?
CR: Personally, it resonates with me and my life purpose. It is about setting people free and helping them break free. I have been at many brinks in my life; unexpected deaths, my own unexpected health brinks; my mother had a stroke, she is paralyzed on one side and now I care for her full-time in addition to my business and home-schooling. There have been so many different brinks in my life; I know what it is to feel like there’s no one around you who can help. I have been able to pull out of these life experiences, but I understand what it is to be in that place. I understand all the more how necessary it is to articulate and make success actionable. This is what makes the difference. It is my privilege to be that for other people. It is my joy is to see other people succeed…how blessed I am to witness that. It actually hurts me when others do not thrive and do what they are created to do.
KG: I know that your faith is a big part of your coaching. If it is true in Coaching that the answers lie within, how does Faith in a Higher Being fit in with Coaching?
CR: I look at it differently. God is the one who makes it all possible but I never push my beliefs on others. I don’t push or Bible-bash them with scriptures! I don’t use the scriptures to manipulate people to get results I think are necessary. With my clients, I remain true to the coaching model where the client’s needs are the lead. It is my understanding that God give us a purpose. He knew us before he formed us. I think that “Christian coaching” is helping to identify the God-given purposes in our lives and circumstances for the purpose of navigating our journey of life, as well as to please God. God is accomplishing His purpose and plan through each of us. God promises an abundant life to us. However, we must tap in and know what he wants us to do.
KG: Do you coach those who don’t believe?
CR: All the time.
KG: Can you give me an example of people you have pushed beyond the brink?
CR: There is one in particular client who is unforgettable. She was in dire straits when I met her. She is a single mother of 5 children. She never got to finish her education and she wanted to be a poet but was overwhelmed. Her kids were not “Leave it to Beaver” kids. They lived in Georgia, experiencing mental health and behavioral issues. Through coaching, we were able to put together a system for her to decrease stress. We put together meals services for the kids and built in time for her to write poetry, design the poems and market them. Now, she is an entrepreneur, has reengaged with acting and music, and re-enrolled in school. The children are better and she is about to move into her own home!
KG: When did you realize that working with people who were “On the brink” was your calling?
CR: The joy comes every time you see someone reach success that is defined by them. It’s all about breaking free from fear. After you see the light in their faces when they are no longer bound by emotional, financial, physical and relational shackles and they are happy and confident, I just knew this is why I live. I’ve always had a love for people and thought of them before myself.
KG: How would you describe yourself as a Coach?
CR: Transparent, authentic and compassionate. I have no problem sharing my brinks. I hurt for people.
KG: From where you stand, what does the world need now?
CR: People underestimate the value of coaching. I think the world needs more awareness of what coaching is. Coaching would really help people progress faster and further. It adds so much more freedom. I also think the market is being flooded with so many coaches. A lot of people picked up the title and it makes it harder for those who want to do sincere and pure work. Heart centered coaches are after the transformation.
KG: Any advice for perspective coaches?
CR: Anybody can have a coaching school but the difference is the quality and I believe in the ILCT coaches and leaders. Ellen Ritter is a phenomenal leader. It is her heart to see others succeed and her commitment is evident. The instructors at ILCT are awesome. If you are considering it, don’t make the decision based on others, but make sure it is in alignment with what you are trying to achieve and accomplish. When you connect with like-minded people and are able to be true to who you are and what you are called to do, you will know it.