I’m often asked how I decided to become a joy coach. It’s been an absolute labor of love and the culmination of a very winding path over the years. Life isn’t ever a straight trajectory, is it?
In 1985, I graduated with a B.S. in Health Ed and Biology from Auburn University - yes, I went to school with Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley and might have even crossed paths with Tim Cook…I mean we were there at the same time! (To this day, my claim to fame is dancing with Bo and having a class with Sir Charles!)
Upon graduating, I realized that teaching wasn’t for me - at least not then. I had decided to volunteer with the Children’s Hospital of Alabama working with the Miracle Network Telethon. I fell in love with the atmosphere but had no idea what I could do. When I stumbled upon Medical Social Work as a job, I jumped into the next steps immediately. Now, I knew I needed a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) … what I hadn’t quite realized is that the University of Alabama was the ONLY school in the state with that program. Any southerner will know why that was a BIG deal!! But, I sucked it up and made my way, working every weekend for a year in the local level one trauma center while taking full time classes. I was honored to receive an appointment as the social work intern with the Pulmonary Department at UAB pediatrics. This was one of nine such positions across the country!
Denise Archilla, MSW
Founder & Chronic Illness Life Coach
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