Abby Saloma: Director of Talent & Leadership, the Schusterman Family Foundation & Yoga Instructor

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Bio:

Abby Saloma’s mission in life is to bring out the best in people. As the Director of Talent and Leadership for the Schusterman Family Foundation, she develops high potential leaders to taken on senior roles in the non-profit sector through an “inside out” approach to leadership; as a yoga teacher with YogaWorks, she helps students find alignment between their true selves and who they want to be, both on and off the yoga mat; and as a leadership coach, she works with leaders to maximize their leadership potential.

Abby has a breadth and depth of experience from the for-profit, non-profit, Jewish and secular sectors, including as the Executive Director role at Street Sense, a DC-based non-profit organization which works to empower the homeless through a newspaper that educates the public about issues of homelessness and poverty. Abby holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in Media and Public Affairs from The George Washington University and a Leadership Coaching certificate from Georgetown University's Institute for Transformational Leadership. Abby completed her yoga teacher certification at Tranquil Space and feels deeply connected to her work around yoga as a practice to move through grief. Abby lives in Takoma Park, MD with her husband and their two sons.

What do I do best?

My life’s work is to bring out the best in people. In my day job, I am the Director of Talent and Leadership, and my work focuses on helping leaders to see and then reach their fullest potential. I am also a Leadership Coach on the side, and through my coaching practice, I help clients be the best versions of themselves. And, in my yoga teaching, I aim to help students find a connection between their true self and who they want to be in the world – both on and off the yoga mat.

What makes me the best version of myself?

My ability to listen deeply. When I was growing up, my parents used my grandmother’s address as my own so I could attend an inner-city public school (when many parents were doing the opposite – lying about their child’s address to get them out of the inner-city school). My parents felt – and I now agree – that my best education would come from being surrounded from people who looked different than me and came from a different background than I did. This created in me a deep sense of curiosity, ability to listen as well as a sense of interconnectedness with the “other.”

What are my aspirations?

In my 20’s and 30’s, I had aspirations – to land a job that aligns with my values, find a partner who brings out the best in me and eventually have a family. I now have a job that I love and feels aligned with my values, a partner who makes me want to be a better person and two amazing (and wild!) boys. That journey was not easy – in fact, it included deep grief. I lost my mother to cancer. I had a job that nearly broke me. I went on some horrific dates. And, I experienced loss when I tried to start a family. My only aspiration at this moment in my life is to more fully live in and be grateful for what I have.

My Biggest Success?

Bringing my boys into this world. Even though women have been having children since the beginning of time, carrying, delivering and raising my children (even though I screw up every day!) feels like my greatest accomplishment.

My Most Challenging Moment?

The loss of my mother was my most challenging moment. There were times in the months and years that followed that I did not think I could move beyond the deep grief. I have learned that grief is not linear, and there is no end. It just becomes part of who you are. And, grief and joy can be held simultaneously.

My Motto?

Every year, instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution, I pick a word or words that I want to serve as my guide for the year. My words this year are “power” and “warmth.” During this #metoo reckoning especially, I want to step into my power as a woman leader, and I want to stay true to my authentic self and do so with a sense of warmth.

Other mottos:

Ban the “B” word (busy, that is)

Life is not short, it’s precious

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My mom is my greatest role model. She was a kindergarten teacher in an inner-city public school for 35 years. She taught me to do work I believe in. She also taught me to laugh, not gossip, not be judgmental, love myself and appreciate life.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

For beaches and beauty, go to Kauai. For silence and solitude, go to Glacier National Park. For spirituality and complexity, go to Jerusalem. For a kick-ass yoga retreat, go to Tulum, Mexico.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Jade yoga mat, Vitamix, Peace & Calming essential oil and a few podcasts: Super Soul Conversations with Oprah and OnBeing to name just two.

My Current Passions?

Keeping a fiction book and a leadership book going at all times, listening to Super Soul Conversations, finding new recipes that are easy to make with healthy, whole foods and finding new shows that I can watch in under 30 minutes.