We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Pollack and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
This is a great question! I was a stay at home mom of 5 children for about 20 years, very content and busy with my roles as wife, mother, daughter and friend. My husband, on the other hand plays hard and likes the adrenaline rush that comes with taking risks. One day, I got a call that the motorcycle he was riding much too fast on a curvy, dirt mountain road got run over by a truck. Thankfully, he is a quick thinker and knew to drop and roll in the opposite direction. After that incident, I started thinking seriously of how would I raise these children on my own if he were to become permanently injured. I’m not an 8-5pm kind of girl. I knew if I were going to start working outside the home, it would need to be something I loved and felt passionate about…. childbirth! I birthed most of my children at home, so I reached out to my midwife for guidance. After spending a fair amount of time on the phone, I realized I didn’t have the time to pursue midwifery just yet, so she suggested I become a doula! What’s a doula? I asked. It turns out I had “doulas’ at my births and I was a ‘doula’ for several friends, but we didn’t have a name for it back then. I was excited! I immediately took a birth doula workshop, started on my certification requirements, networked with other birth professionals and my new career took off. I have been a birth doula now for 20 years, and a Birth Doula Trainer for 9 years. I’ve served on the Board of Directors of my organization and I continue to serve on some committees. I have sense added other certifications to my skill set, CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) & LCCE (Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator). I have been blessed to meet some incredible people and am having amazing adventures. I couldn’t ask for a better career!
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?
I am primarily a birth doula and birth doula trainer. For those who are not familiar with this term, a doula is a person who provides continuous emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labor, birth and immediate postpartum. This personal attention has been shown to improve the overall satisfaction of the birth experience, helping families feel involved and empowered during the vulnerable time of childbirth, what a beautiful way to start parenthood! I would say what sets me apart is I genuinely care about every single participant that comes through my trainings and it shows. I listen to them, I validate their experiences, I believe in them, I’m their number one cheerleader! My passion for this work is obvious and infectious. I put a lot of effort into my workshops to ensure they are up-to-date, evidence based, and fun. It’s my goal to engage all my participants with my interactive curriculum, doing my best to appeal to all learning styles. I’m happy to say I get a lot of positive feedback. I’m extremely proud of the doulas that leave my trainings. They come in with a strong passion to serve others, and leave confident and well prepared to offer unconditional support to birthing families. I’m excited to meet each group of doulas and hear their stories, experiences, dreams, this is what makes each training unique. It was a process to get to where I am today, both professionally and personally. There are always challenges, yet my confidence grows each time I conquer one. I sincerely believe in the enormous benefits doulas provide and feel this has helped me to persevere with determination, especially when things are tough. At times I have had to forge a new path that was a bit scary at the moment, but has brought me greater joy and success. I’ve learned you cannot remain stagnant, you have to continue your own education in order to grow and remain relevant. I’ve also learned the importance of being true to yourself and your values, never sacrifice who you are it doesn’t work and it won’t bring you happiness. On a personal note, I have 5 grown children and 5 grandchildren. My own births led me to this incredible profession of being a birth doula, a birth doula trainer, a certified lactation counselor and a Lamaze certified childbirth educator. I’m a giver by nature and an attentive listener, which fits beautifully into these fields. I continue to make myself available to my students before, during and after trainings to answer their questions, brainstorm ideas, process experiences, provide resources as necessary and ultimately cheer them on. They are a gift and truly inspiring!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would probably start their visit with a big family dinner, including my children and grandchildren. Whenever someone comes to Colorado I have to take them to visit Red Rocks Park. It has beautiful scenery, great trails, and a nice restaurant. I would definitely want to take them to see a show at the Buell Theater in Denver and enjoy a nice dinner in the city. Creekside Cellars in Evergreen would be a wonderful place to enjoy an antipasto platter with a glass of wine on the patio overlooking the creek. On a warm, sunny day I would love to take them paddle boarding at Chatfield Reservoir and maybe check out some other beautiful lakes that have been recommended. In the morning we could grab a coffee or chai at Atlas Coffee and walk around Old Town Littleton enjoying samples at the Chocolate Therapist and pick up some local seasonings as well as oils & vinegars along Main Street. When we’re not out seeing the sights we would make time to walk my dog, Ari along many of the greenbelts in my Littleton neighborhood and finish the day by enjoying a glass of wine on my back deck, chatting about life, family and whatever else comes up.
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?
I owe much of my success to my certifying organization, my fellow trainers and of course my students and doula clients. My organization, DONA International is the oldest and largest doula certifying organization. Due to their long-lasting reputation, they are my main source of advertisement for my workshops, as well as some of my doula clients. They offer continuing education by way of conferences, trainer retreats and more. I can’t say enough good things about my fellow trainers! Through the years they have been, and continue to be extremely generous in sharing their favorite teaching techniques, videos, and business tips. I couldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and support. I’m forever grateful to them. I learn so much from my students! Thanks to their honest feedback I have a clear picture of what is working and what could be tweaked. They are the reason I am committed to broadening my own education, so I can continually improve on my skills as a trainer. I’m thankful for the trust my clients have granted me. I learn so much from each birth and every family I serve. It is an honor and a privilege to be included into the sacred space of birth and something I will never take for granted. Each birthing person is a Rockstar! Their words and gestures of appreciation keep me motivated and excited to keep advancing in this work.
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