Accidental Entrepreneur Ali Westerman Finds Her Purpose (and Can Help You Find Yours)
Spend a few minutes chatting with CSU Global alumna Ali Westerman and you’ll come away from the conversation with a sense of empowerment and encouragement – a product of her own journey of self-discovery and perseverance.
Before earning her B.S. in Healthcare Administration and Management at CSU Global, Westerman received her practice nurse certification and had earned 85 credits toward an undergraduate degree. After inquiring with other universities that wanted her to repeat multiple classes, she turned to CSU Global, where she was able to apply all of her credits.
“It was amazing,” shared Westerman. “It was very intense, but also very doable.” With three children at home, Westerman was even more motivated to finish her degree. She completed her bachelor’s degree in just over a year and quickly moved into a more administrative role at work.
However, between her career, children, buying a home, and full personal life, Westerman began to experience burnout. “I was eternally exhausted,” she recalled. She turned to a life coach who helped her realize how her socialization and perfectionism were creating roadblocks. While sharing this part of her journey, Westerman acknowledges that she sounds like many of the clients she now coaches.
Westerman began to understand the motivation behind the goals she set for herself and noticed a shift in her self-esteem. “We're not going to find validation in ourselves by buying a house, we're not going to find it in a partner, or we're not going to find it by losing the last 10 pounds. All of that is internal work.”
In a light bulb moment, she realized that she was already applying life coaching practices at work as a case manager for elderly residents . “A lot of my coaching was helping family members who were in crisis, trying to support them as they navigated end-of-life care. I realized that I could do this work on my own.” While she admitted the thought of building her own business was daunting, she recognized that this is the work she meant to do.
Westerman specializes in coaching parents and women struggling with burnout, confidence, and parenting. She helps clients understand where confidence comes from and how to manage their nervous system responses. “I coach a lot of women who are high achieving, who have children, who have gotten all of the degrees, and yet are still unhappy and experiencing burnout,” said Westerman. “We work on shifting their thinking and talk about what makes them a good parent or a good partner, and how they are worthy just because they exist.”
Westerman never thought she would own her own business, but cannot imagine not following her passion. Today, she works with clients worldwide and credits CSU Global with helping her learn to communicate well in a virtual environment. “CSU Global was so great because I was able to work on my writing skills and learn how to converse with people online. Before earning my degree, I didn’t understand the value of online communication.”
These days, Westerman practices what she preaches: “I am enjoying life right now and focusing on my work-life balance.” Her children are now nine, 13, and 16, and she prioritizes being available to them. Cycling, camping, cooking, and meditation fill her time between work and home.
A piece of advice Westerman wishes she could give herself before earning her bachelor’s degree? “You are stronger than you know and your experience matters. It’s not easy, but it will all work out – you’ll see.”