Expert of the Week - Quincilia Siah: Trained Professional Organizer & Certified Reiki Healer
From Educator To Professional Organizer: The Story of How It Unfolded…
People often ask how I came to be a Professional Organizer. I must admit, it was something that happened very organically. When I completed high school, I built a career working in the education industry. After 20 years, it felt like the right time to bring that career to a close.
I first started off as an Early Childhood Educator, branching off to the added specialties of working with Infants & Toddlers as well as Children with Special Needs. 11 years into this career, I felt like I had achieved my career goals and was ready for the “next thing”. A previous colleague and friend of mine had moved on from working with children and families to training adults to be Early Childhood Educators. She would always ask me, “Are you ready to come teach yet?” I would say no because I was nervous. Eventually, the time felt right (life is all about timing, am I right?) and I said yes.
I began my adult teaching career in 2006 and within 3 years, moved out of the classroom and into management in the private college I was working for. It was a fulfilling role for me. I loved my students and colleagues. My employers showed me how to create an ethical workplace culture that felt like family. I had a good career, I was earning trips to Disneyland and San Francisco for meeting my management metrics. When my bosses retired, the company culture shifted and I realized that it was no longer aligned with my core values.
The Life-Changing Decision
Resigning was a very difficult decision for me. On June 30, 2016, I walked out of the place I had called home, for the very last time. As I drove out of the parkade, pondering my next move in life, a song popped onto my playlist that I hadn’t heard in months. The lyrics blared into my soul, “I’m leavin’ today. Livin’ it, leavin’ it to change.” The Universe was hugging me with these words, I smiled, tears in my eyes, and drove home. That was one of the most powerful days of my life. Little did I know that, when I drove away that day, I had “entrepreneur” in my future.
I took some time off to recharge myself and eventually starting to look for a JOB. I spent days and weeks scrolling through job postings, trying to find something that would speak to me….nothing.
One day, I was chatting with the same friend who had brought me into teaching. I shared with her my frustrations of not being able to figure out what my next career move would be and she said, “Why don’t you become a professional organizer? I’ve seen what you do at work, I’ve seen what you do at home. You should totally look into it!” I had no idea what she was talking about and had never even heard of this industry before. “It’s a thing?” Well, is it EVER! The more I researched and read about it, the more excited I became. I found that, as a Professional Organizer, I could help make a difference in someone’s life, as I did when I was an educator. It’s such a privilege, being able to take someone’s clutter pain point and guide them towards living in a successful space. Wow. Mind blown.
The Final Transition
In 2017, I joined Professional Organizers in Canada, a national association of Professional Organizers. I met fantastic mentors and launched a Facebook page where I started posting some jobs I would do for friends. I would organize a basement, a kids’ bedroom, a home office, whatever they would let me organize so that I could start creating a portfolio. This page has since grown and I now post weekly videos with tips and tricks! One of my mentors had said to me, “Don’t wait for perfect, go with great.” This was the best advice anyone could have ever given me, and has given me the courage to always “go for it”.
Having a natural affinity for organizing and a love for bins and baskets does not make one a good PO. To be a successful PO, you must possess soft skills like empathy, active listening, the ability to enter a situation without any judgement and to be able to go with the flow. Skills related to running a business can be learned (and outsourced). Like you, I sought out mentors to help me get started and build my confidence. I’m honoured to be giving back and helping to give budding Professional Organizers a leg up in this incredibly rewarding career.
I look forward to our ChitChat!
Trained Professional Organizer