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  • Writer's pictureDave Veale

'Is the work I am doing making a difference?'

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Danae Johnson was running hard as an HR executive in a company with a workforce of more than 15,000 when a session with a leadership coach changed her life.

It was a moment of revelation.

“I was being coached on the challenges of the day and then the coach asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks: ‘If you could do anything you wanted today what would it be?’ ... I remember letting that question in, and I remember where I was sitting, in an office on the 14th floor, and asking myself ‘How did I get here?’” she recalls.

“Within a year, I made a change and had started at Royal Roads studying executive coaching. I had loved working at Intrawest and the incredible people I had met but I wanted to learn more about coaching and conversations that could have such a profound impact.”

Today, Danae is among our top-flight leadership coaches on the Vision Coaching roster, having the same kind of profound conversations with clients.

I first met Danae in 2005. She was one of my classmates at Royal Roads, where we were both intent on becoming leadership coaches. She is both a long-time colleague and a friend.

Power for change

She recalls how the revelation came amid a successful career with Intrawest Corp., both with its ski resorts and in its real estate arm. As a vice-president of people development, she led the human resources function for the real estate division of the company.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she was involved in a pilot for leadership coaching at Intrawest. As part of that, she was coached and found those sessions transformational.

“I would come out of these sessions feeling reenergized, better equipped, more courageous, clearer. I was coming out of them feeling more capable. I always felt I was in over my head to some extent, and these sessions reduced that feeling. I knew I wanted to find out more about executive coaching and its power for change.”

After completing Royal Roads in 2005 and securing her accreditation as a leadership coach, she has gone on to coach more than 400 professionals in both the public and private sectors. She has created customized workshops that produce quantifiable results for organizations to improve performance and grow leadership capacity.

Search for meaningful connections

”My work focuses on one-on-one leadership development through coaching and whole system culture change work, helping organizations navigate culture by learning how to measure and ultimately transform it.”

As part of her own climb down from the hectic and high-flying corporate life, Danae went on a pilgrimage of sorts, a journey that included a 10-day silent retreat and a stint building homes for Habitat for Humanity in Paraguay.

Like all of us, she is searching for the key to meaningful connections in our rapidly changing work environment. She believes the world needs coaching now more than ever.

“We are all evolving, changing and trying to navigate these complex times. Leadership coaching is one of the best resources available to us.”

Danae says she has really enjoyed coaching people in health care in particular over this last year along with professionals who are increasingly seeking out leadership training. And she finds that, more than ever, people are seeking deeper meaning from work.

“They are asking, ‘Is the work I’m doing making a difference?’ People are looking for that and questioning and challenging it at the same time.”

To learn more about Danae and Vision Coaching, visit

1 Comment

Dec 01, 2021

I first met Danae where she was coaching alongside Ian Chisholm of the Roy Group. This was about 2009 and my boss had sent me to a weekend workshop in Whistler to be "fixed" (which was fine by me). In mirroring Danae's story, this coaching weekend changed my life and perspective, and ultimately led to me leaving the accounting profession to seek more meaning and purpose in my career - I found that through learning and teaching Emotional Intelligence and the value of understanding Jungian psychological preference, which I immersed myself in for the next 8 years. Danae has been a part of my network ever since and I have the utmost respect for her coaching, her intuition and wis…

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