Leading by Example
Judith Rapley immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 16, leaving her family behind in Panama. Acclimating to a new country and a new culture, she soon came to understand the power of community.
It was this foundation that led Judith to seek out a career as a social worker upon graduating from Columbia University. From there, Judith collected a number of experiences— from working with the Salvation Army; to opening a family shelter in Queens, New York; to acting as the administrator of a 75-bed residential treatment facility.
In 2006, she finally struck out on her own and opened JMR Consulting Services. “I wanted to utilize myself as a service provider,” Judith said. Her clients ranged from healthcare providers to the education sector to the church. “Within that time I also helped to found a public charter school,” says Judith of a project that would take her down an unexpected path.
After some time as president of the board of Newman Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, Judith was asked to step off the board and into the school as Executive Director. “It was two very intense years of professional development,” she says.
Judith helped the school get re-chartered by the state of New York and having invested so much of her time and energy into the one project, soon got the itch to re-establish her consulting practice.
Helping Her Own
When Judith restarted JMR it was with a more discreet focus. Having served so many people in so many different situations, Judith recognized her most successful projects were those where her clients could relate.
“One of the things we talk about in social work is that you attract who you are,” Judith says. It was natural, then, that Judith turned to women who were looking to discover their purpose and lead a more balanced life. Judith would use her practical experience to help her clients achieve these goals.
“One of the things I have always joked about as a coach, the people who come in always seem to be about two to three steps behind what I have been through whether it’s defining my next step in life, or using my voice courageously,” says Judith. “When I share with them, I am sharing a real perspective.”
It makes sense then that Judith should attract women who have migrated, “whether it’s from another country to the U.S., or from Minnesota to New York City,” she says. She also often helps clients shift from careers in one industry to another. “Maybe it’s going from nursing to education,” she says. “I help them look at the factors and issues that come with moving and getting comfortable in a new environment.”
In terms of getting her practice off the ground, Judith says the many years in many different socially responsible venues helped her establish a powerful network. “With brick and mortar businesses, it’s about location, location, location,” she says. “In my business it’s about relationships, relationships, relationships.”