Leaving for Atlanta: ACO 2013


It’s almost here –
will I see you there?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I’m leaving Cincinnati on Wednesday morning – yeah, THIS Wednesday morning, April 10, 2013.  Yiikes!

At almost dawn this morning, after packing and repacking all night, I finally had to give up and go to BED, even though I still haven’t streamlined my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase.

Isn’t that the ADD way? 

What IS it about going away that makes it so hard to decide what to wear?  So many possibilities, so little time . . . (It must be figuring out the shoes, right?)

To make sure I arrive with my head on straight, this will be my last trip to ADDandSoMuchMore.com until my return a week from this Wednesday. Take advantage of my blogging hiatus to catch up on some of the articles you may have missed.  There’s LOTS here I’ll bet most of you have never seen.  Click around — it will be brand new to you!

Back on the Speaker’s Circuit!

Co-facilitator of the ADD and the Spirit Coach Training (author of You Mean I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!) Peggy Ramundo and I decided we’d drive down — together — to give us plenty of time to go over our presentation one more time without having to attempt to shoehorn one more thing into these final days that we’re gathering our props and attempting to streamline our suitcases.

We will again be “presenting” together at the 6th Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, on Saturday from 4:00 to 5:30 — facilitating, actually — a live-and-in-person Coaching Lab, re-focusing the ADD Coaching paradigm.

In a field where client pragmatics seem to be close to caving in for more sessions than not, it’s easy to forget the human being in our rush to make things easier for the human doing!  Ironically, often the best approach to getting things done is not the most obviously straight-forward. We’ve developed some exercises designed to bring whole-person coaching to the important place it deserves — starting with just a bit of work on the lives of those whole persons known as coaches.

We are so psyched!  

Since most of our meetings, classes and client sessions are virtual, we can hardly wait to be able to look into the eyes that go with the voices we know so well — live and in person, what a concept!


Speaking of virtual, for some time now we been meeting over the phone with Judith Champion (ACO-2012 Conference Chair, recently relocated to California), since the three of us have taken on the accountability of organizing ACO’s first Talent Show.

This first one will be in honor of recently deceased ADD notable Kate Kelly (Peggy’s You Mean I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! and ADDed Dimension co-author), who was probably the biggest fan and most excited participant of the talent shows at the ADDA conferences.

Oh yeah!  Nothin’s quite as much fun as a bunch of ADD Creatives letting lose in front of an audience primed to applaud rather than censure their efforts.

So as we boogie on down the road to Atlanta, Peggy and I will be going over what has to happen in that venue too – so that more of our time at the hotel will be available to meet and mingle with all of the attendees, the other speakers, and give big hugs of gratitude to the volunteers that have been working with us to pull various segments of the Talent Show together.

NOBODY accomplishes the many things that make up a great live conference without a lot of great help with pedals to the metal — and NOW we are all primed to p-a-r-t-y!  ADD conferences are FUN as well as informative, and Peggy and I don’t want to miss a minute of it!  

We also figured the long drive would allow us to focus on the upcoming conference to-dos without the distractions and competing priorities that ALWAYS pop up at home. Smart, huh?

Since “my” talent will be an improv with the members of the audience, I’m looking forward to some time to make a few lists, so everything runs as smoothly as possible without structuring it to death.  What comes out of an improv is supposed to be out-of-the-box, unexpected, and grand fun, but NO “improvisation” goes well without some careful planning up front.  (Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the way it goes with life, too.)

Multi-talented, multi-media

The Talent Show, on Saturday night from 8:30 to 10:00, will include a raffle with prizes along with a variety of individual talents – singing, dancing, piano riffs from the talented Dean Solden (husband of  author Sari Solden, who is one of this year’s keynote speakers) – and MORE.

It will end with a special video put together by comedian Rick Green and his partner Ava (of ADD and Loving It fame), using edited out-takes from some of the footage from their original video that gained national prominence when it was featured on Public Television. I’ve seen the rough-cut, and it is inspiring and wonderful.

Joyce Kubric, the 2013 conference chair (mentored by last year’s chair Judith Champion), has put together a conference team of amazingly generous individuals who have been working like beavers to make this a memorable experience for everyone lucky enough to attend. This year’s presenters have also been polishing up their sessions (and are probably also scrambling to get ready to leave too).  Click over to the ACO website  to see what’s coming to HOTLanta in just a few days.  (Along with, oh yeah, signing up to BE there – it’s not too late for some of you to join the rest of us).

If it is simply impossible for you to make it this year, start making plans and saving your pennies NOW, so you can make it to next year’s conference (more about THAT later).

Conferences are a great opportunity to reconnect with long-time friends and colleagues, to put some faces and bodies to those with whom you have only an online relationship to date, AND to meet the “new blood.” Some of that “blood” will be actually [relatively] new to the ADD Coaching field, and others will be merely “new” to YOU.

New Conference Paradigms

Most ADD conferences are designed to be unlike almost all of the other “business” conferences I have attended — right down to the [lack of] dress code.  Given the way that ADDers operate, we have no choice, really.  The attendees set the tone as they continue to color outside the lines —  and that’s a GREAT thing!

WHAT a relief to be among the ADD Tribe,
where individuality is celebrated rather than regimented!

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of getting to swim with the school of fish who swim like YOU, you simply must.  It will change your attitude about ADD and about yourself — which will change your entire approach to life.

You NEED to get to know a great many more amazing folks like YOU, I promise.

Meeting the ADD Coaches

At ADDA, CH.A.D.D. and other ADD Conferences, I generally manage to connect with a few of my ADD Coaching colleagues, primarily in attendance as speakers.  The conferences themselves are often targeted more toward ADDers themselves, rather than their helping professionals. Other COACHING conferences are weighted toward what I call “vanilla” coaches.

ACO is unusual in that it is designed to support ADD Coaches and ADD professionals from other modalities — so while everyone is welcomed and embraced, fewer of the attendees are what I fondly refer to as “civilians,”  military brat that I am. The ACO Conference is a unique opportunity to interact with the ADD Coaching field and find out who’s who and what’s new.

As the founder of the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum and co-founder of the ADD Coaching field itself, I was and still am overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful garden that is growing now from seeds I planted decades ago.  I stand amazed at all the “new varieties” being developed all over the world — without my having to lift a single shovel!

And an ADD Book Store!

Since I read the way others watch television (for diversion, relaxation, entertainment and education), there are rarely very many books available for purchase that aren’t already on my shelves.  STILL, I always look forward to getting more of the books in my ADD library signed.

I think it’s really fun to have a personal connection to the author of a book on one of my shelves.

There’s nothing like an inscription to remind me that I know a great many of the authors of the many books I devour, and of my desire to get to know ALL of them.

As I said in my first ACO-2013 post, I have also enjoyed meeting and being in association with ADD Coaches I only became aware of in Atlanta last March (for example, a coach trained by one of my grads, in the process of enfolding his personal TBI experience into creating a unique niche for himself as an ADD Coach.)

My fellow “old-timers” who also train coaches will get to experience the pleasure of seeing former students (and students of former students) “all grown up,” giving all of us brand new inspiration.

I am eager to see what this year brings!


As always, if you want notification of new articles – in the ACO Conference Update series, or any new posts in any category on this blog – give your name and email to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right.  (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too)  STRICT No Spam Policy

If you’d like some one-on-one (or group) mentor coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (either for your own life, that of a loved one, or as coaching skills development), click the E-me link  <—here (or on the menubar at the top of every page) and I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)  

REMEMBER, I won’t even know you did it until I return to my “regular” work on April 17th – but do it NOW so you don’t forget, and I’ll check first thing Wednesday afternoon, and will shoot you a response Wednesday evening, 

WATCH for it and call me back! Don’t lose your momentum at this stage!


ACO Conference related content here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

ACO Conference 2013

ACO Conference 2012

Some 2012 wrap-ups & articles from other speakers/attendees:

All links below open in a new window/tab
(read, close the window, come back here for the next stop on the tour) 

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

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