We had the good fortune of connecting with Alison Miller, PhD and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alison, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
The end of my career seems like it would be the end of my life. It is hard to imagine that I won’t guide and support others in some way as long as I am capable of doing so. Whenever that end is, I hope that I have successfully built communities where people feel safe and true growth, learning, and healing take place. I hope these communities flourish independent of my presence and evolve beyond what I can imagine.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Twenty-one years ago, I started a life & academic coaching company straight out graduate school. Our focus on academic coaching (supporting masters and doctoral degrees to successfully earn graduate degrees) took off quickly and evolved into The Dissertation Coach. We have a team of remarkable academic mentors who provide coaching and consulting services. Running our business is demanding, intense, at times very stressful, and fortunately enormously rewarding. I believe much of our success resulted from our innate understanding that we are relational business. Many companies that provide similar services operate in a more transactional manner. We recognize that it is impossible to build a positive culture for staff or clients if great care and attention isn’t paid to the relational aspects of the work we do. Central to our success is that we prioritize forming safe relationships that facilitate learning and growth. We also stubbornly refuse to do any kind of original writing for our clients even though this type of “ghost writing” service has proliferated online. I am the most proud of leading in a heart-centered way and learning to “soften” how I lead so I am less driven by pressure, fear, and stress. The process of growth never ends and my work can be humbling. I have made many mistakes including not asking for help or allowing others to contribute even to my own peril. I had to learn to collaborate more effectively and trust others to get the job done (still learning both!). I am confident that we have helped thousands of people and I am most grateful to our amazing team who regularly go above and beyond on behalf of others. There are so many lessons I have learned. No doubt, the most important is to connect with the inner guidance that more naturally emerges when I slow down and settle my nervous system allowing me to respond in a kinder, more thoughtful, and humane way instead of reacting to whatever is arising. This slowing and settling is a daily, hourly, and moment-to-moment practice for me. What I most want to the world to know is that we are evolving and in the fall of 2021 are opening a new business called The Academic Writers’ Space that is a virtual co-working community facilitated by experienced writing coaches. We are a community that emphasizes developing a sound writing practice that is effective by virtue of being deeply self-honoring. We maintain a full calendar of writing retreats and planning sessions where we support one another to consistently take important action. Leading these retreats is one of the most joyful experiences of my life. It truly feels like my calling.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am all about vegan restaurants. I think we would end up centering our time around eating at places like Crossroads (walking up and down Melrose too), Sugar Taco, Nics on Beverly, and Pura Vida. I would want to walk up and down Venice Beach and take in the incredible diversity we have in Los Angeles, hopefully see some great dancing on roller skates and spontaneous street performances that are surprisingly entertaining. From there, we would head over to Malibu for a predinner beach walk and then to the Inn at the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon for a dinner that feels like you are in a romantic fairy garden. I am slightly obsessed with Craftsmen style homes so we would enjoy a tour of the incredible homes showcased by Pasadena Heritage followed by a drive through the spectacular (and very expensive) San Marino I know this isn’t in LA but I would very tempted to take my friend up to Ojai for the weekend and stay at the Emerald Iguana, have dinner at Osteria Monte Grappa and spend Sunday at Bart’s Book (an amazing outdoor bookstore), the local Farmer’s Market and lunch at Hip Vegan! Ojai is where I go when I need to rest and regroup – it is my happy place and my time there has really supported my career.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband – he is my partner in what we have created over the last 21 years.

Website: www.thedissertationcoach.com

Instagram: @thedissertationcoach

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedissertationcoach

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqaXA-G1b_vWGBz8eyCdGlA

Other: www.theacademicwritersspace.com

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