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Career paths sometimes take unexpected turns.

When University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Allison Garner MBA ‘11, a chemical engineer, business owner and consultant, joined the school board for the Oshkosh Area School District in 2011, she realized she wanted to make a bigger impact on the lives of others.

“It was really about being around the teachers that changed my thinking,” she said.

In her new career as a professional business coach and owner of Align Coaching, Garner now uses her analytical skills and ability to figure out complicated systems to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. She offers one-to-one counseling, group coaching and workshops on personal and professional development.

Garner describes herself as a “recovering people pleaser.” In her own work life, she spent years hiding her thoughts and ideas in order to fit in. When she finally started sharing her big ideas, she was able to make a greater impact at work.

That’s what she now does for others in her role as a professional coach. She spends time listening and offering insights to help her clients get over their own roadblocks to success.

“I help people discover what they can accomplish when they don’t wear a mask or hide who they are at work,” she said. “I coach people to become leaders.”


Garner also helps businesses work toward becoming deliberately developmental organizations, in which all employees are encouraged to grow and develop and employees coach each other.

“It’s the idea that a better me and a better you means a better us,” she explained. “The goal is to be 100 percent human in your personal and professional life.”

Garner, who currently serves as president of the Oshkosh school board, is set to publish a book, It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way, in fall 2018.

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