A Belly-dancing Coach – an interview with Sandra Schrift (14 August 2005)

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Introduction

Sandra Schrift’s story is an inspiring one – she is a person who, I think, has learned to live ‘in balance’.To tell you more now would spoil the story. So, without further ado, please let me introduce to you Sandra …


Aneeta: Thank you for agreeing to this interview Sandra.

Sandra: A pleasure to respond.

Aneeta: Before we go into your work and website proper, please tell me something about you.

Sandra: I was born and raised in NYC – eventually became a high school teacher in NYC and Baltimore, Maryland. Married a physician and became a mother of five children (in less than 6 years – whew!) I am also a proud grandmother of 7 children.

I am a member of a San Diego Rotary Club, The University Club, National Speakers Association and the International Coach Federation. I enjoy mentoring high school students and being a volunteer for community projects. I also have a strong meditation practice.

Aneeta: I note that you are now a vegetarian. Is this correct? I am interested particularly in one aspect this – the transition from eating meat to not eating meat. You see, I am in that phase and personally, I think it’s others who have more problem with me being vegetarian. Did you face any problems when you made the transition and if you did, how did you overcome this?

Sandra: Actually, it was easy for me to stop eating meat, etc. After eliminating dairy from my diet, I lost 10 pounds in one month and no longer needed to clear my throat so often. I also felt more in sync with my environment and the earth. Today, I no longer eat cooked foods – I eat only plant based foods. (veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds). Benefits for me – more energy, no bloat or gas, more weight loss and need less sleep. I started eating this way over a year ago. It is challenging to eat in restaurants that don’t serve a “raw” menu. So I usually order a salad with uncooked veggies. We have a few restaurants that serve a “raw” menu in San Diego and a strong, growing support community.

Aneeta: Let’s get to the work you do. You are, I understand, a personal coach. Please explain this in a little more detail.

Sandra: Formerly a 13 year owner of a professional speakers bureau, and now a career coach to emerging and veteran professional speakers who not only want great presentations but also want to grow a profitable speaking business. I also work with execs, business professionals and coaches who want masterful presentations at the platform to enroll clients to their services and products and within companies who are looking to improve communication skills.

Typically, I do in house training for companies for their executives or employees for half or full days. I will travel to other locations to provide this service.

However, most of my coaching is by telephone and email – world wide- (as long as my clients speak English). I also offer small group coaching to those who want to know how to use speaking and writing to market their business. www.schrift.com/group_coaching.htm

Ongoing teleclasses are listed at: www.speakersuniversity.com and products (tapes, CDrom, streaming audio, e-book) can be purchased at: www.schrift.com/success_resources.htm There is a summer sale going on right now! http://www.schrift.com/products.htm

Aneeta: What is this Coach University?

Sandra: Speakers University is a series of teleclasses to prepare the attendee for a paid speaking career. I also offer other types of classes and programs under the heading of Speakers U. For details and updated information: www.speakersuniversity.com

Aneeta: Now, I know on your website you say that you’ve worked with many, many people. Please, share with us the three fascinating people you have coached.

Sandra: Well this is a hard one to answer. I find all my clients fascinating. I am coaching a doctor and lawyer team who have a very passionate message about the healthcare system in the U.S. and how we have the right to take control of our lives in every area. Another client was a member of Al Gore’s staff and worked closely with President Clinton and had some fascinating stories about life on “the hill.” A third client is a Reverend and a trainer/speaker who has a powerful message about “building men out of boys.” I think of all of my clients who are ordinary people, like most of us, who do extraordinary things.

Aneeta: I read a really interesting story about you – you belly dance. Tell me, how did you get into this and why?

Sandra: A friend told me about a belly dance class that was available at the adult education program. It sounded like fun and good exercise. I joined the class in November of 1989 and have been dancing ever since. It is great fun to dress up in costumes, good exercise, and a way to be in touch with my female self. I have taught women who are chronologically gifted (age 50 plus) I tell them to love their bellies and just enjoy the dance and movement. At first they are hesitant, but soon learn it is OK not to have a figure that would qualify for a Vogue magazine cover.

My oldest student was 83 years young! We often performed in nursing homes around San Diego County. I am 68 years old and still perform. Movement is good for all of us – it gets us in touch with ourselves and others. I always urge my clients to move – exercise of any type.


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