How Many People Can One Person Feed?

Past Articles:
ONE ON ONE WITH ALICE CHERA

By: Ellen Geller Kamaras

As a mind and life stylist, I bring awareness to the thoughts, beliefs, and habits we unconsciously carry that get in the way of enjoying our lives. Coaching isn’t about changing who you are; it’s about releasing what’s not working so the best of you can come forward every day.”  Alice Chera

I am thrilled to introduce you to Alice Chera, a certified life coach and life stylist.  Interviewing Alice was especially joyful for me, as we speak the same language as life coaches.

In the last decade Alice’s coaching skills, her positive energy, and authenticity have helped women and teens to gain clarity as to what they want to create in their lives, and to take steps toward positive change.  Alice empowers her clients to discover solutions to their problems and develop a mindset that will enable them to achieve their goals.

Let’s start from the very beginning, “a very good place to start!”  Alice, the daughter of Esther and Sam Beyda, was born, bred, and educated in Flatbush.  She attended Magen David Yeshiva (MDY) elementary school and Yeshiva of Flatbush (YOF) high school.  Alice’s family is from the U.S. with the exception of her paternal grandparents who were born in Aleppo, Syria.  She has one brother, Raymond, two years her junior, who she adores.

Alice’s parents had what she describes as “varied interests.”  “My parents’ love of art and culture inspired me to see the world as larger than what I knew it to be.”  A financial advisor by profession, Sam Beyda is also a classical music enthusiast. Alice’s parents divorced when she was young and her mother, who she now calls a self-made woman, went out and became an extremely successful saleswoman, who is passionate about people and culture.

Aliceconfided that as a child, although her mother did work, Alice always assumed she would adopt the traditional woman’s role as a stay at home mother and wife, which was prevalent then.  One day, while in high school, an Ashkenazi friend asked, “What profession are you going to go into when you get older?”  That question struck her, as it was not the norm for community women to pursue a profession at the time. That question motivated Alice to enroll in FIT when she graduated. That summer, Alice met her naseeb, Abe Chera. Today they have four grown children (two of whom are married) and four beautiful grandchildren.  Abie, who for over 30 years worked with his family in a retail children’s wear business, reinvented himself in 2012 by going back to school and becoming a licensed substance abuse counselor. He is currently the intake coordinator at The Safe Foundation. Alice is in awe of Abie’s transformation and his dedication to helping others.

What Defines Alice?

Alice’s friends and family offered a wide range of adjectives to describe her, including warm, thoughtful, honest, insightful, strong, approachable, and a leader.  After enjoying Alice’s company for three hours, I would also add modest!

Alicesays she feels her essence as a coach is “spaciousness,” and hopes this is evident in her sessions with clients.  Creating a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their goals, get into action, and draw effective solutions to problems, are key components to Alice’s style of coaching. “My idea of coaching is giving people a space to breathe, to take a look at where they are in their lives, to where they want to go, and how best to get them there.”

One of the first things Alice said to me was that she has an incredible appreciation for the women in the community and in the Jewish world.   “Our women do so much - taking care of family, keeping a beautiful home, raising children, getting ready for holidays, and helping the community via charity events and hesed. Yet, our women seem to minimize their accomplishments!”

The women in Alice’s life have been, and continue to be, an immense inspiration to her.  Alice elegantly articulated that her mother and mother-in-law, both named Esther, reflect the two different sides of who she is as a woman, with her mom stressing the importance of being a financial contributor to the household, and her mother-in-law Esther Chera’s unwavering devotion to her home and to every member of her family.

Another strong woman in Alice’s life is her maternal grandmother, Nettie Rishty (Granny), whom she calls her best friend.  “She is an extraordinary cook, housewife, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”

When Alice’s children were all in grade school, she went back to college.  She started with one class and slowly worked her way through without any particular plan of what to do with her education. Over the years she warned each professor that since it had been so long since she had done schoolwork, she was probably going to fail. She moved through slowly, taking eight and a half years to graduate, while also planning bar mitzvahs, moving into a new home, and going to open school nights. “Aside from being a mother and a wife, one of my greatest accomplishments was going back to school and building my life coaching practice. Work-life balance is huge to me.  I didn’t want to miss important moments with my children.”

Well, guess what? She graduated with honors, Phi Betta Kappa!   Alice has shared that every step of the way has been a surprise to her. She did not think she was capable of any of it.

The Road to Coaching

Although Alice was an English major, one of her professorss encouraged her to take an internship with Metropolitan Jewish Hospice. The patients she visited would ask about her major and upon hearing ‘English” would say: “You should be working with people!”  When Alice graduated, she explored the idea of working with others even doing substitute teaching for a bit. Preferring a more one-on-one connection to others, when Alice heard about life coaching it resonated with her. Curious as to how life coaching differed from being a therapist, Alice hired a life coach and enrolled in the introductory course with CTI, Coaches Training Institute. It was then that she fell in love with the process of coaching. She discovered so much about herself. Coaching offered a “fun and creative way to initiate change.” One of Alice’s proudest moments was passing her certification when she became a Certified Professional Life Coach. Again, she was surprised. But her thought was if she could be so mistaken about her capabilities, how many other individuals were shortchanging themselves as well?  She had to give this gift to others.

The How of Coaching

Alicelearned from her own explorations as being one who was coached just how important it is to have an accountability partner, one who ensures you take steps to implement your goals. It’s about walking the walk rather than talking the talk. “That is how I built my business.”

As described above, Alice’s coaching approach is about taking slow steady steps, as she doesn’t believe in quick fixes. She knows that lasting change comes from practicing new ways of being and thinking. Coaching is about having someone in your corner, educating you and cheering you on. “We all have what we need to build a successful and satisfying life. We simply need someone who can teach us how to access it more readily. That’s the purpose of a coach.”

Change Can Be Fun

One of her Alice’s favorite coaching tools is the Vision Board, which is a collage that individuals make that reflects their life goals.  Alice says growth doesn’t only have to come as a byproduct of pain.  “Vision boarding allows us to define and create the lives we want to have in a fun, creative way.  It is a tool for self-discovery as well as to help attain life goals.”

Aliceteaches various personal growth workshops, moderates a women’s book club at the Sephardic Center, and does Vision Mapping workshops with YOF high school students to uncover career potential.   “I never imagined I would be teaching classes, working with fantastic people, and inspiring people to value themselves and stretch into their potential.” 

Alice says that her secret to success is in trusting her instincts and most especially Hashem. “If Hashem wants you to do something, he will definitely make it happen.” I never thought I could do anything I am doing today. But I followed the advice of people and mentors who could see my potential better than I ever could. I just had to be willing to listen and trust they were Hashem’s messengers. “Every step of the way, I’ve accomplished things by asking for help, knowing my limits and listening to my intuition.”

Alice says “I educate people on how to use their thinking and talents to their advantage, the goal being to empower people from the inside out.”

What’s Next?

Alice plans on doing more distance coaching and offering classes via Zoom.  She also plans to writing a blog and possibly a book.

Alice considers herself a fellow student of life along with everyone she gets to coach. “Life,” she says, “is always encouraging us to be more.”  Alice knows when we do it together there is nothing we can’t do.

 “Remember, you are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think,” Alice concludes. 

You can connect with Alice at alicechera44@gmail.com, call 917-692-4409 or DM her on Instagram @alicecheralifecoaching.  Stayed tuned for the launch of Alice’s updated website, www.alicechera.com.

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach.  Her coaching specialties include life, career and dating coaching.  Ellen helps people find their passion, purpose, and positivity in life and relationships and conducts personal growth workshops throughout the year.   Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com(www.lifecoachellen.com).