Denver Bar Association
May 2006
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Q&A: Bonnie Starr Mandell-Rice

Bonnie Starr Mandell-Rice practiced law from 1976 to 1989, when she resigned to stay at home with her young daughters. In the meantime, she studied vibrational (energy) healing and began a new career as a vibrational healing facilitator. In 1998, she returned part time to law and continued her healing practice, until balancing both became too much and she closed the healing practice. Now, in an effort to combine her left-brain, analytical lawyer, with her right-brain, intuitive healer, she has given up law to be a Transformative Coach.

• What is Transformative Coaching?

Transformative Coaching is a process used to help people get in touch with their deepest desires and their inner wisdom and to live a more joyful and fulfilling life. The two primary areas are relationship counseling and career coaching. My focus is helping people get in touch with who they really are and in being the greatest version of the grandest vision they’ve ever held of themselves. I love Ghandi; he said that "you must be the change you wish to see in the world." I work with people on how they can take that and apply it to their own lives.

• How did you get into Transformative Coaching?

I was seeking a way to blend the two sides of myself in a more meaningful way, and to allow a greater expression of who I really am. Last fall, I hit a crisis point where I had to leap or not and I decided to leap. I got a fabulous project, but the deadlines were so short and the project was so big. Everyone else in oil and gas was swamped so I could get only a little help, but it had to get done. I didn’t work harder or longer than a lot of people do, but it was just too much for me. I was pushed to the edge. Something was telling me to leap now. I worked with a woman who helped me decide what I wanted out of my life. I love public speaking and helping to empower people. I was dreaming about doing something like this where I could really have a positive impact on the world.

• What kind of training did you need?

I did a program with the Recreation Foundation in Ashland, Ore. It was an 18-month program, but I did the fast track option, which shortened it to four months and I spent four weeks on site in Ashland.

• What kinds of people do you help?

It’s for anyone who wants to live more of their dreams, live more fully, and improve their relationships. It’s for anyone seeking to get more in touch with their inner wisdom. For some people it’s just like a little tune up. Sometimes you want someone who can listen to you and help you access your own wisdom about a matter, instead of spinning wheels in your head. There are times when people want concrete suggestions and advice, but the main focus is helping my clients find their own answers. There are times when advice or homework/ action steps are appropriate to move you forward to what you want to explore.

• Any interesting success stories?

I coach a woman in Germany over the phone. She’s been putting together a new career path with her sister and brother. She’s working on the dynamic of how to work with your sister and brother. She wants help determining who she wants to be in relationship to the business they’re developing and how to put herself out there in a way that lets her be who she is. People come to you because of who you are.

• Can you tell me about the book you’re writing?

I started a while ago on Memoirs and Musing of a Mystic. The memoir part is about triumphing over loss and shame through love, forgiveness and understanding. The memoirs are deeply personal. The musings part seems to be changing, to being entirely about being the change. What is being and how do you be that? It’s not about doing — it’s about being. I’m hoping to have Memoirs and Musings of a Mystic completed and published in the next six months.

• What do you enjoy about this new path?

I’m, finally, authentically living who I am. I’m in a place where I can give what, I think, at this moment is my gift and express that and give that gift.

• How does your family feel about your work?

My family is terrific. One of my old partners, Steve Collins, calls my husband Brian "Mr. Wonderful" because he’s always been consistently wonderful. One of the reasons I made this jump was to show my daughters that it’s OK to leap and follow your heart and dreams.

• What are your goals for your business?

I don’t have goals like, "I’ll have x number of clients by this day." I have an intention to draw to myself the people I can best serve, and when I do, I’ll be abundantly provided for. In addition to coaching people one-on-one, I also will be reaching people through my writing, public speaking and workshops.

What does the story of The Ugly Duckling have to do with Transformative Coaching? Find out at

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