From the outside looking in, Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill seemed to have it all. After graduating from the UCLA School of Law, she was offered a great job at a well respected Los Angeles Law Firm. “I was really thrilled to start my career…to start my life.” Bentsi-Enchill was married to Kofi, a wonderful man who she met in law school. The couple had just purchased their first home. Life was good.
So why was Bentsi-Enchill feeling so dissatisfied? For Bentsi-Enchill the practice of law didn’t provide her with the personal and professional fulfillment she yearned “I really felt like I was wearing platinum hand-cuffs and no matter how you slice it, if you’re wearing handcuffs…you’re not free.” From Bentsi-Enchill’s observations, firm life was particularly tough on the female associates. Because of the burden of billable hours, family responsibilities, client demands and the overall stress of practicing law, there were many stress-related illnesses and miscarriages among many of her female colleagues. Bentsi-Enchill knew it was time for a change. “This realization was terrifying because although I knew that the practice of law wasn’t the right fit for me…I had not idea what to do instead. I remember asking myself: ‘What would people think if I just walked away? What else was I qualified to do?’ I was really stuck.”
Bentsi-Enchill eventually walked away from her career and she credits the birth of her first daughter with providing her the strength to make the move. “Becoming a parent really helped put things into perspective for me. What kind of role model was I going to be for my daughter by staying in a career where I was just going through the motions? “How could I tell her she had options, that she’s got to go out and find what’s going to work best for her, when I was in a career that didn’t work for me?”
While sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, Bentsi-Enchill came across an article in a woman’s magazine about Executive and Personal Coaching. She was intrigued and with her husband’s, support she soon found a training program and set off for a new career. “Once I discovered that there were ways I could redefine my life and my career — that I could have a positive impact in the lives of people, control over my schedule, less stress, more balance and greater fulfillment — I went with it,” she says.
Bentsi-Enchill is now the CEO of InSite Corporate Coaching & Training. InSite helps organizations create effective and productive work environments through customized training and coaching programs focusing on leadership development, communication, cultural competence and team development. Bentsi-Enchill also coaches individuals who are looking to restructure their lives personally and professionally. “I’ve noticed that more and more people are looking for a better quality of life. It’s not all about work anymore. Yet making the necessary changes on your own can be overwhelming so that’s when they call me.”
Bentsi-Enchill coaches many dynamic career women who are success driven and often perfectionists. “A lot of times, they’ve achieved success at a huge cost to themselves,” she explains. How do they break the pattern? “At that point, it’s about stepping back and saying, ‘OK, where can I focus less on doing everything for my career and everyone else and getting everything perfect because it’s impossible to get there. How can I create more balance and more fulfillment in other areas of my life? How can I live in alignment with my values?’”
After hearing complaints from many unhappy lawyers, Bentsi-Enchill created the Esq. Development Institute, a division of InSite that specializes in addressing the professional and personal challenges faced by attorneys and law firms. “It’s really gratifying to help lawyers deal with work-life balance issues, career transition and several other challenges that lawyers face on a day to day basis.”
Bentsi-Enchill has now achieved the professional and personal fulfillment that once eluded her. She makes time to spend with her husband and with their daughters Nailah, 12 and Aziza 10. “Although I’m involved in a lot of activities, I chose things that I really enjoy and that energize me. I’m also very committed to taking time out for myself. For me, yoga helps me keep things in perspective and helps me stay in shape too!”
In addition to running her business, Bentsi-Enchill also coaches MBA candidates in the Leadership Initiative Program for the McColl School of Business and has provided training to students in the Duke University Certificate Program in Non-Profit Management (a division of Duke Continuing Studies).
Bentsi-Enchill is also a member of the Diversity Council of the Carolinas and the National Association of Women Lawyers, North Carolina Association of Women Lawyers and is a Premier Coach and active member of eWomen Network. She has served on the Entrepreneurial Aspirations Committee of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and is a founding member of the Charlotte chapter of the International Coaching Federation. Bentsi-Enchill also is a graduate of Leadership Charlotte (Class XXII), the Children’s Defense Fund Emerging Leaders program and the 2003 Impact Fund, where she is now a member of the steering committee.
According to Bentsi-Enchill: Here are some signs that it may be time to make a life change:
“Women frequently feel that something needs to change but aren’t sure what it is they want to be different. It takes courage to make life changes. It can be a scary process. You have to be committed and internally motivated.” Her advice, “Get support, stick with the process and trust that you’ll be able to create a more fulfilling quality of life.”
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