Meet Susan Pease Gadoua, Author, Therapist and Professional Trainer at the Transition Institute of Marin in San Rafael, CA

Susan Peace Gadoua
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.

I am an author and a therapist.  I specialize in helping people – primarily  women – get on the other side of divorce by providing them with not only individual or couples therapy, but also support groups and informational workshops. More recently, I have begun training other therapists on the needs of the divorcing person starting with understanding a client contemplating divorce through to post-divorce issues.

My first book, Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go, came out in 2008 and I am currently working on my second book (due out Spring 2010) called Stronger Day by Day: Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce (both books are published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc).

What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place?

I enjoy helping people through what is perhaps the greatest transition of their lives. When I first started this work in the year 2000, there were virtually no services available for divorcing people other than legal resources, which are incredibly expensive. My groups and workshops enable people to get information, resources and knowledge at a much lower expense.

I empower women by providing them with an understanding of the entire divorce process which enables them to save time, money and energy during their divorce. I did not intend to do this work and feel that it actually found me – at the time I founded T.I.M., I had never been married, let alone divorced. I started the Transition Institute of Marin for people in various transitions but my second group was all divorcing women. It dawned on me that this population was seriously under served and I created an entire business model around the needs of the divorcing women I served.

Tell us about the organizations your company supports and why?

T.I.M. supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer fund because Marin County has one of the highest levels of breast cancer in the country; we also support two local other women-centered non profits. The first is Marin Abused Women’s Services because we sometimes have women who want to divorce but who are afraid to because they are being physically abused; and we support Marin Services for Women, a local drug rehab for women because it is another wellness organization and a great cause which also empowers women.

What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?

I left a fairly cushy job in the corporate world to start my business. It was definitely the scariest thing I have ever done but I’ve never looked back and I’ve always been taken care of. That said, there were times in the beginning that I was having trouble making ends meet. But through perseverance, the word got out that I was the person to go to for divorce support and now I have a thriving business despite a down economy.

From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

I have been blessed by having some very strong women business owners who have inspired me as well as some male mentors without whom I would never have gotten as far (in fact, it was as a result of following one mentor’s advice that not only helped me build my business, but helped me meet the man who is now my husband!). I also draw support from a spiritual group of business owners I am part of. I am constantly reminded that my work is not about what I get, rather all about what I can give and how I can be of service.

How is the current economic situation affecting your company/organization?

My business is thriving despite a down economy and despite the fact that divorce rates have declined somewhat – people can’t afford to divorce right now. It is my strong belief, however, that when the economy does begin to get strong again, we are going to see divorce numbers like we’ve never seen.  I’d like to help other therapists prepare for this trend.

What one thing would you like to learn this year?

I would like to learn how to reach therapists across the country and internationally to share with them the business model that took me close to ten years to develop. Perhaps via trainings across the country or breaking into the webinar world which feels a bit intimidating!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself working on my third book and being a professional resource to therapists throughout the world on the topic of divorce. I would like to speak at national conferences on marriage and divorce and help eliminate the stigma of divorce.

What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?

We have two dogs (my husband, Michael, and I are both dog lovers) and I spend a great deal of time with them, I love to kayak, bike, play tennis and watch movies. Spending time outdoors and traveling are also passions of mine.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Just a humorous aside: My husband and I married five years ago – a first marriage for both of us (he was 45 and I was 43) and shortly after we got married, I started writing, Contemplating Divorce. He jokes that he is the inspiration for the book, but he’s not! I was doing this work years before I met him. It does keep him on his toes, however!!

Which, if any social networking sites do you belong to ?

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook

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