Client Impact Report

Kellie Northam’s Journey into Mid-Wifery

A New Beginning

In high school, students often see their dreams as their entire world, with nothing standing in the way of achieving them. Unfortunately, as time goes on, it becomes easy to lose sight of those dreams. Irrelevant opinions start to matter, the pressure to maintain a comfortable life increases, and many people become distracted from their aspirations. However, for some individuals, experiencing a mid-life crisis can serve as a catalyst to rediscover the dreams that once consumed them. As a result, many people eventually find a way to achieve their long-lost dreams.

One such person is Kellie Northam, co-owner of Boise River Birth Center. In her high school years, Kellie aspired to illustrate children’s books and pursued a Fine Arts education. However, instead of following that path, she opened a Maternity Clothing Shop in the 1980s, which unfortunately went bankrupt. This failure instilled in her a fear of not being a competent business owner (though this fear was not true). After the business setback, Kellie and her husband relocated to Nebraska, where they received news of their daughter’s pregnancy. While searching for a nurse specializing in Nurse-Midwifery in Nebraska, Kellie realized that such a profession was non-existent in the state. Faced with criticism and opposition from a gynecologist she consulted, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

However, due to strict laws regarding midwifery in Nebraska, and the fact that homebirths were considered a felony, Kellie opted to work on the labor and delivery floor of a hospital. After several years in that role, Kellie’s husband expressed a desire to find work outside of Nebraska. This presented an opportunity for Kellie to pursue her dream of becoming a Nurse-Midwife elsewhere. Upon moving to Idaho, she met her business partner, Tracy, and together they established Boise River Birth Center in July 2018. The birth center aims to be a place where women can find physical, emotional, and mental support throughout various stages of life, offering individualized and evidence-based care. Kellie and her team provide a wide range of services for women, creating a convenient one-stop-shop, including comprehensive maternity care (such as water births, childbirth education, and postpartum care), women’s primary health, and women’s mental health services (such as counseling, mental health support, and prescription medications).

Meet Kellie Northam

Kellie is filled with excitement as she enters a new season in her Birth Center’s new location, as it opens up opportunities to fully develop her practice. Unlike the previous location where the building was divided by a parking lot, the new space is consolidated into one building, allowing her to make significant changes. This means she can enhance her role as a mentor, foster a stronger team, and bring her dream to life: an obstetrical and family practice with integrated mental health services. Kellie expresses her vision for the new space, stating, “We aimed to create an environment that goes against the typical medical office setting. We wanted it to feel like stepping into our home to have a comforting discussion about your health concerns” – Kellie Northam.

With the new space available, Kellie can now hire a receptionist, an experienced nurse-midwife, and a psychiatric nurse practitioner (PNP) for Boise River Birth Center. These additions are remarkable steps for this local business, enabling them to provide comprehensive care for mothers and, soon, to support fathers who may experience the effects of postpartum depression.

Calling Deliberate Directions

In October 2018, Kellie was referred to Deliberate Directions, recognizing the need for advice and guidance from a business coach to avoid repeating the challenges she faced with her maternity shop. She engaged in one-on-one coaching with Executive Business Coach Allison Dunn for a year, but eventually found a group setting called Whetstone, facilitated by Executive Business Coach Jennifer Drean, to be more suitable for her. Kellie valued the diverse perspectives and advice provided by the group, finding the coaching dynamic to be truly beneficial. She expressed her satisfaction, saying, “I actually thought it was fantastic; I still do” – Kellie Northam.

Board of Advisors

In 2018, Kellie embarked on her journey with Deliberate Directions, initially opting for one-on-one coaching with Allison. However, when a new Whetstone group emerged in 2019, Kellie recognized her affinity for group settings and decided to make the shift. One aspect she particularly enjoys about the group is the valuable reality checks that inevitably occur. There have been numerous instances where fellow group members have offered a broader perspective and motivated her to strive for more. While Kellie tends to be conservative and frugal, she realized that to foster growth, she needed to invest more in her business.

Gain Insights

Another aspect of Whetstone that Kellie truly appreciates is the opportunity to gain insights from 4-6 different group members during a single meeting. She values the diverse perspectives and unique expertise that each member brings to the table. It’s not that Allison couldn’t provide similar value in private coaching; Kellie simply finds great satisfaction in empowering others by inviting them to be part of her journey. The more advice and different angles for improvement, the better. Moreover, these are individuals whom Kellie trusts to contribute to the growth and impact of her business. The group members possess expertise in healthcare, marketing, management, and other areas relevant to her profession.

Participation in Whetstone

Through her participation in Whetstone, Kellie was encouraged to step out of her comfort zone, develop a consistent habit of reading diverse books, embrace accountability and vulnerability (as per the group’s established values), and forge a genuine camaraderie with the team. She also learned the art of delegation, familiarized herself with the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), and managed to establish a truly integrated practice a year ahead of her original expectations and plans. In the spring of 2022, Boise River Birth Center relocated to a beautiful home in Nampa, Idaho—an accomplishment Kellie describes as a dream come true.

Why Whetstone?

Kellie enthusiastically describes Whetstone as “encouraging, challenging, and innovative.” She emphasizes the profound value that comes from participating in such a purposeful group, where members are not directly involved in each other’s businesses. The depth of insights and learning obtained through activities like the Sounding Board or more focused Deep Dives has been truly remarkable. However, the benefits extend beyond simply acquiring knowledge about systems or best practices. It also involves personal growth and the development of skills that one may not have thought possible. Whetstone is ideal for those who seek to leverage the expertise of a board of advisors. Being part of Whetstone reflects a genuine appreciation for the advice and input of other professionals, while also willingly sharing one’s own experiences and wisdom. Throughout her journey, Kellie has faced numerous challenges, overcome hardships, and celebrated significant victories over the past four years. She acknowledges the pivotal role played by Whetstone in her overall success.

Impact from Deliberate Directions

Working on SMART goals during coaching proved to be a significant breakthrough for Kellie. It was instrumental in helping her establish a clear vision and then reverse-engineer the necessary steps to achieve it. During the first year, Kellie faced the challenge of learning from Allison and effectively communicating that knowledge to Tracy. 

One of the toughest lessons Kellie learned in Whetstone was the importance of trusting her team and delegating tasks. Through the Sounding Board exercises offered by Whetstone, each member has the opportunity to seek help and guidance from the group on specific challenges. Kellie often found herself discussing her team’s failure to complete certain tasks in these sessions. Eventually, Whetstone helped her understand that it was a matter of delegation and trust, prompting her to establish boundaries and assign responsibilities accordingly. Taking accountability for these actions proved pivotal in transforming Kellie’s habits. She believes that without these challenging moments of delegation, she wouldn’t have had the capacity to purchase the property for the Nampa location.

Kellie expresses a desire to reintegrate 90-day planning sessions into her schedule. She acknowledges the undeniable success she has experienced by attending these meetings and recognizes the importance of setting a vision for the next steps of Boise River Birth Center. This time, she intends to involve Tracy and other key team members to ensure everyone is aligned regarding the practice’s evolution.

Straightforward & Objective

During the first year, Kellie faced the challenge of learning from Allison and effectively communicating that knowledge to Tracy. She recalls the frustrations and tears shed in Allison’s office during that period, recognizing the difficulties of staying aligned in a partnership. However, through attending Whetstone and engaging in compass checks, Kellie has learned to remain adaptable and open to adjusting her ideas based on reality.

If you are interested in executive coaching with Allison Dunn, schedule a complimentary session today!