Dee Relyea


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I love photography and most of the pictures you see on this website were taken by me.   I’m a student of Eastern wisdom traditions and that perspective is reflected in my work.  I practice meditation and yoga, head to Colorado for downhill skiing every spring, and have recently embraced golfing (which can be very Zen).  I enjoy facilitating workshops, public speaking, meeting new people, gourmet cooking and spending time with my adult kids (pictured below).

My Story:

I went to American University in Wash. DC, got a Masters in Counseling and hoped I’d make a difference in people’s lives.  After working in a community crisis center, then in a runaway house for troubled teens, I decided to move into a less stressful area of counseling.  At the time I lived in McLean, VA and decided I wanted a change of scene.  Despite the concerns of friends and family I decided to relocate and drove myself and my cat to Denver, CO in a ‘65 Mustang pulling a U-Haul.  Although I had to stop a lot to pour water into the radiator and calm the cat, the trip was liberating for me to head west on my own.

Dee Relyea with a helicopter on vacationAt first I had to work two jobs to pay the rent, doing temp clerical jobs by day and waiting tables at night. Within six months I improved my income (and got more sleep) by taking a regular 8-5 job for Arapaho County.  I spent three and a half years there as a Job Developer, helping economically disadvantaged people transition from welfare recipients to workers through government funded employment and training programs.  Although it was rewarding to see some clients become gainfully employed, many others had such trauma and dysfunction in their personal lives that maintaining a job was impossible.  I found that work experience somewhat disheartening and moved on.

For my next adventure in employment, I conducted research to update the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for the Dept. of Labor.  During that 18 month project, I identified the typical tasks, functions, and requirements for 100’s of different occupations. I loved learning about unusual and little known occupations like “cow washer, debubblizer, and tunnel mucker”.

When that project was completed, I went to work in a non-profit ; Colorado Alliance of Business.  That organization was committed to public/private sector partnerships to help teens make successful school to work transitions. I wrote a grant proposal, obtained 250K in funding and managed a program to help kids stay in school and develop a positive work ethic.  I had a blast one summer flying around the state in the governor’s four seater airplane facilitating workshops for Job Service staff and social workers on administering a Summer Jobs Program for youth.

Children, Challenges and Becoming an Entrepreneur

I might have been content in that organization for years but life gave me another challenge.  In 1984, my second child arrived with some major health issues and I became a stay at home mother for a few years during which time, I sold 10K in Discovery Toys as an independent “Educational Consultant”.  Although I wasn’t wild about direct sales I found I really liked being my own boss.  (I still do!)  Due to changes in my husband’s employment, we moved from Denver to Madison, WI in the mid-90’s.

I was working in an employment agency in 1999 when I had an epiphany:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help people find work fulfillment beyond just a job to pay the bills?  What if I championed individuals, instead client companies, to follow their passions, pursue work that they’d love, and be able to do what they are naturally talented at?”

Dee Relyea and her daughterStaffing agencies derive income from placements.  Companies pay them to find candidates for their hard to fill positions. In essence, the recruiter is searching for people to plug into companies, not the other way around.  Something about that process just didn’t feel right to me and it certainly didn’t fit with my vision of the work I wanted to do.

After being downsized from my second staffing agency, I decided it was time to respond to that epiphany and become a Career Consultant and “do it my way.”  I did some research, identified a local career consultant and offered my services, joining the firm as an associate.  While employed at Career Momentum Inc., I gained skills in resume writing, administering and interpreting assessments, and how to coach people through career transitions.

Life Coaching

When the events of 9/11 happened, I felt an inner prompting to follow my dream and start my own career consulting /counseling business.  I looked into the emerging field of Life Coaching and liked the model.  I enrolled in Coachville, attended teleclasses, seminars, and weekend training intensives.  (I still take classes, I like adding tools and techniques to my bag of resources).

In 2003, I launched Career Life Coaching and decided I needed to learn how to run a business.

What better way to get educated on entrepreneurism than to work for the UW-Madison Small Business Development Center where I could sit in on their classes?  As a part time Business Answerline Counselor for the past seven years, I assisted callers in brainstorming their ideas, finding information and resources, and enjoyed being able to help people  “turn ideas into enterprises”.   Although I’m no longer on the Answerline, I continue to teach the First Steps for starting a business seminar for the UW Small Business Development Center and encourage others to consider creative self employment as a vehicle to share their gifts with the world.

I believe that my own calling is to assist others to discover theirs.

Live the work you love!


Contact me here.