About Helen

Graphic design of personal mission and values

Hi! I’m Helen Svoboda-Barber.  I’m an experienced Coach with over 500 hours of coaching. I am also a Retreat Leader, Episcopal Priest, and Mental Health Counselor.

I live the values of Joy, Humor, Balance, Simplicity, Conviction, Beauty, Fidelity.  My mission is To become the unique person God created me to be & To encourage others to become their own unique creations of God.

I have a doctorate in formation and spirituality, with a focus on women’s leadership (The Church’s Life, from APTS).  My coach training and mentor coaching comes from Holmes Coaching Group.  I have coaching continuing education through WBECS and the International Coaching Federation.  I earned my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from North Carolina Central University.


Foot with red nail polish stepping into stream

I work to find joy in my life, in big ways and small, every day.  It becomes easy to do when you begin to notice the little things.  The smell of honeysuckle as you walk, biting into a ripe peach, or taking a moment to dip your foot into a nearby stream.  We are surrounded by moments of joy just waiting to be noticed.


Mom and 2 kids awkward faces

I love to laugh and see the funny side of things.

I strive to work hard, but never take myself too seriously.

Here’s a picture of my kids and me that has made me laugh every single time I have looked at it for 15 years and counting.



Large woman on top of seasaw, 4 kids on bottom end

Balance in life is always a moving target.  Sometimes we’re more invested in one part of our lives, and at other times we’re more invested somewhere else.


I look for balance in the long term.  Four times a year, I take time to review my values and any changes I need to bring myself into better balance.


Simplicity is a central point in my life, and a value we have shared with our family.  My family often has a great time picking out and decorating a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” which is just right.

Simplicity is a more complicated concept than at first glance.  Sometimes simplicity means a closet full of hand-me downs and sometimes it means hiring a housecleaner so that you can focus on the particular things that are yours to do.


Large woman donates blood, laughing face

One of my long-held convictions is that we are meant to share what we can.  For me, that has included giving blood when I am able, and being a part of the Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

I am whole-hearted in my beliefs, and also try to hold my beliefs lightly.  We are meant to continue growing and developing throughout our whole lives.  As we grow, our beliefs will grow along with us.  So don’t be scared to hold tight to your belief–and don’t be afraid to let it go in order to embrace a new understanding.


Mandala made from flowers, pedals, and fern leaves

Noticing and creating beauty are both wonderful ways to keep grounded and centered no matter what is going on in life.

During the pandemic, I began participating in seasonal Dare to Rest retreat from Rest Garden and we were invited to make flower mandalas.  I made this in my front yard and invited our neighbors to come enjoy the beauty.


A middle aged couple almost kissing


I am committed to:

my husband and children,

our family and friends,

and continuing to discover the work that is mine to do, right now.



Writings and Related Work

I fully explain Women Embodying Executive Leadership (WEEL) in my doctoral project here.  Research on the effectiveness of WEEL, Leading Women and a third program called Beautiful Authority is in this paper by the Rev’d Dr. Paula Nesbitt.

I’ve written about some of my church projects at Building Faith.

I’m a contributing author to this  liturgy planning tool.