Career Center


Alvah Parker
Kris Risley

Location: Chicago, IL

How will clients benefit with you as their coach?
Clients who work with me will achieve any number of the following.
  • Identify authentic, individualized, values based personal/professional goals to support their leadership development and the impact they want to make in public health.

  • Assess current and ideal level of satisfaction with their personal and professional lives.

  • Improve level of satisfaction in a minimum two life areas (professional and or personal).

  • Identify leadership strengths and practice leading from strengths.

  • Improve emotionally intelligent leadership competencies related to the awareness and management of their emotions in relation to others.

  • Identify personal and professional values through a values clarification process and learn to use the values as a road map for leadership development.

  • Create a Life Purpose statement and/or mission statement.

  • Develop a Leadership Philosophy statement/video that expresses their unique leadership views about leadership.

  • Create a 6-12 month post-coaching plan to continue to bring life to the coaching experience.

  • Identify themselves as a public health leader regardless of their role and/or position.

  • Take on a new public health (or other) role or position (if desired) or feel engaged and satisfied with current work.

What results have clients reported after working with you?
  • Program Director became Bureau Chief within three weeks of initial coaching session.

  • Professor/Principal Investigator established regional leadership network within months of coaching.

  • MD/Clinical Professor set personal boundaries to support the development of both her teaching/research/clinical responsibilities AND her faith.

  • MCH Epidemiologist secured new dream position.

What do clients say about working with you?
  • ‘Kris’ approach to personal leadership was different. She diffused my initial incredulity by showing much understanding and almost palpable care.’

  • ‘The work Dr. Risley and I did together in the Summer of 2012 was integral in helping me move my professional career forward.’

  • ‘You helped me get my groove back… My renewed confidence in my ability to affect change is a direct reflection of our regular sessions.’

  • ‘Kris is the most influential mentor I have had throughout my academic and professional career.’

  • ‘As a result of her coaching I took the bold step of applying for a job that was better aligned with my passion…even though it was a big risk.’

  • ‘Kris’ ability to disentangle the various challenges that we all face and provide simple solutions in order to find the most fulfilling path is truly remarkable.’

  • ‘My interactions with others are now much more thoughtful and I am beginning to see the benefits of emphasizing my strengths (as opposed to dwelling on my short-comings).’

  • ‘Kris helped me refocus and place the “why” front and center.’

  • ‘I benefited greatly from my coaching with Kris on a personal as well as professional level.’

  • ‘During our sessions, she provided me with very useful feedback and recommended several strategies to help me improve my personal communication skills.’

What is your coaching philosophy?
I know that each client I work with is naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. No one is broken or needs to be fixed. I believe we each have gifts we were born with and this life is our opportunity to share our gifts and make the world a better place. Therefore, my primary focus is on building strengths and then filling in gaps. I also believe that no two people are alike so my coaching is unique to match client needs. I believe in living a life full of hope, life, passion and compassion. I believe in supporting, nurturing, and loving people. I believe in total honesty and transparency. I honestly believe the truth sets us free. These beliefs fuel my coaching philosophy.
What types of people do you typically coach?

I have been coaching public health professionals for 9 years. These individuals include graduate students, emerging leaders, mid-level leaders, senior leaders, and those transitioning into some form of ‘retirement.’ I enjoy working with public health people who, I know, are driven to do good in their communities and the world.

What are 5 strengths you have as a coach?
  • I’m empathetic and non-judgmental which creates a safe space for optimal success.

  • I have extensive training in public health and am well-connected especially in maternal and child health.

  • I help each person I work with be the best most unique version of her/himself.

  • I am a lifelong learner who engages in ongoing professional development to keep my coaching skills alive and valuable.

  • I have a strong intuition and knowingness which takes the coaching to places and results that might not otherwise be achieved.

  • I have been involved in public health workforce development efforts since 2000.

  • I give honest, helpful feedback in a way that can be easily received and processed.

  • I believe that each person I work with has amazing gifts to share with the world.

What is your professional background?

I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in developmental psychology, and a DrPH in public health/maternal and child health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

I currently work as an internal coach and faculty member with the Maternal and Child Health Program, Division of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I am also a faculty member with the UIC DrPH in Leadership program. I have been at UIC since 2000. I also have a private coaching practice that I began in 2004. Beyond my formal education, I am a lifelong learner studying a range of programs that bring the human spirit alive. I am currently training to be a yoga teacher focused on eliminating chronic pain and helping people access their divine nature (if this is something they want in their lives). I believe eliminating chronic pain may be one of the most important public health foci areas of the future.

Ready To Get Started With Kris?

Order online below!
Price USD 

Three 30-Minute Coaching Sessions

The Career Coaching service matches individuals with a personal coach--a confidant, champion, and challenger who will help you:
  • Gain personalized guidance through job transitions
  • Prepare and navigate through your annual reviews
  • Leverage your behavioral and professional strengths effectively
  • Diagnose reasons for career dissatisfaction
  • Learn how to take action in networking, interviewing, and taking on new opportunities
With Career Coaching you can:
  • Learn how your behavioral style affects those you work with
  • Build a compelling value proposition for a potential employer
  • Manage change more effectively
  • Overcome hurdles that impede success
  • Sustain professional success and maintain balance
  • Get ongoing support through all phases of your career

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