Wall Street’s Resident Life Coach (She’s Free!)

Nothing seems to be routine in New York. Yesterday, I was minding my business on my way to lunch with a colleague, and there, on the corner of Broad and Wall Street sat a lady with a big white sign with black writing that read, “Free Life Coach.” I did a double take. Was this another one of the many nuts that litter the financial district, walking around with odd signs and even sticking rosaries in peoples’ faces as one brave gentleman did?

Upon closer examination, I realized that the sign said, “Certified,” and well, after all she was nicely dressed.

After a few minutes of playing the “should I” or “should I not” game, I walked reluctantly toward the lady, took a seat next to her on the concrete slab, and with less effort than it would take to lift my eyebrows, we were in the midst of a deep conversation.

“Who are you?” I asked. “I am Kim Ann Curtin, certified life coach,” she replied. “Why are you here?” I asked further, still not accepting that a perfectly rational individual was sitting on the corner offering free advice to well, anyone. Curtin went on to tell her story, and by the end she had me. I was totally interested in what she was all about.

Curtin explained that she had been frequenting the area since last October when her personal coaching business that she started two and a half years ago called “The Coach Shoppe” slowed down. “I thought that this was a good avenue to keep doing something that I am really passionate about,” she said. Her rates ordinarily range from anywhere between $125 and $250 per hour. But with Americans still struggling to pay mortgages, meet credit card payments and even just cling onto their jobs, she hopes that offering free services will pay off in the future. “I hope that people will remember the sessions and return in the future,” she said.

Curtin worked as an assistant to hedge fund executives for almost a decade, and holds the financial world near to her heart. “This area is truly the heart of where a lot of the pain is coming from she said,” referring to the massive layoffs that have occurred, and in some instances are still occurring in the financial services industry.

When asked about the type of response that she has been getting from passers-by, she said, “I talk to a lot of people who have been fired, are simply unhappy with their jobs, finances and relationships. I get bicycle messengers, traders on the Stock Exchange Floor, CEO’s, Vice Presidents, and the list goes on.” Curtin even went on to share a specific case of a young man who had done years of schooling, and amassed large amounts of debt and now hates the job that he thought he had wanted to do “This is where I come in,” she said. “Coaching is very empowering.”

But by the time Curtin and I had just begun wrapping up our conversation, we were interrupted by a middle aged woman who wanted “her time” to talk. I took that to mean that my time was up, so I grabbed my stuff and left.

So for 20 minutes at the corner of Broad and Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, Kim Ann Curtin will help you start to put your life in order. Not bad.

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