Scratch the Surface: Bettina Jetter

Kimberly Elmore, an Identity Staff Writer has dedicated her time to “Scratch the Surface” and focusing on one woman and her inspirational story. Kimberly’s interviews to highlight any woman who feels that she has achieved in her life. Whether you’re a mother, CEO, nurse, or an entrepreneur, we want to scratch the surface and find out how you got to where you are today and what have you learned and where you found your inspiration.

To create a place where women could discover and cultivate the purpose and meaning of their lives. That’s what Bettina Jetter and her husband, Mike set out to do when they had the idea to create Coaching Sanctuary (

“Mike and I were on a vacation in the Piedmont area of Italy. At the time, we already knew that we wanted to create a service to help women over the age of 40 create lives of purpose and meaning. We knew there was a need for it, but we didn’t know exactly what it would be,” said Bettina. “While we were hiking through the vineyards of Piedmont we brainstormed a lot about our new company, and we came up with our business model. After our return, we formed a focus group and started development.”

Coaching Sanctuary

From the start, the Jetter’s focus was on innovation–not just to be unique, but to find new ways to make life transformation a reality. According to Bettina, Coaching Sanctuary is making breakthroughs in its category because it’s more comprehensive, more interactive, and more grounded in the latest coaching techniques, as well as more ambitious than other women’s self-help Web sites.   Bettina says that Coaching Sanctuary is poised to transform the way women look at mid-life and their amazing potential for achievement.

Upon reading Coaching Sanctuary’s Vision and Mission statements, a better understanding of this company’s values is exposed. The Vision is to, “Inspire women to build joyful lives that are rich in purpose, integrity, and friendship.” The Mission is to, “Create a safe, supportive, and uniquely interactive space where reflection, growth, and true transformation can happen.”

So, what tools does Coaching Sanctuary give its users? Upon signing up for this online personal journey, women are provided with an interactive home screen for a photo and personal pledge, a self-guided coaching tool with introductory videos to set the stage for each phase of the personal transformation process, a goals and vision board, a place to journal, and a community board where women can support and share with one another.

Coaching Sanctuary isn’t the first business venture the Jetter’s set out to build, and their ‘leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship was nudged forward by Mike’s cancer diagnosis 20 years ago.

“It all goes back to my husband’s leukemia diagnosis and the realization that life is finite and time is precious,” said Bettina. “Throughout the process of Mike’s illness and recovery, and experiencing numerous life transitions, we discovered that positive change must come from within.”

From there, they decided that they wanted to create meaningful products that positively impact people’s lives.

Prior to creating Coaching Sanctuary, the Jetter’s invented Mindjet–a technology company designed to make a significant difference in the way people use their computers to produce results–along with its flagship product, MindManager, the leading application for mind-mapping and visual collaboration worldwide.

Following Mindjet’s launch and successful growth, the Jetter’s co-authored an inspirational book, The Cancer Code – How a Journey Through Leukemia Led to a Software that Changed the Way People Work.

“We’re proud of our accomplishments and recognition. Our story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times among other press. And in 2004, we received the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Information Technology in Germany,” said Bettina, a German-native who moved to America in 1996 and now resides with her husband in California.

Bettina and Mike run this business together, and while it is not always easy to separate the private life from the business life, says Bettina, it is a very rewarding experience based on trust and mutual respect.

“My husband is a great strategist and software engineer and with my marketing and operational background we complement each other perfectly.   We also have an outstanding team of experts to whom we connect if we need some inspiration or their expertise,” said Bettina.

Bettina does admit that when you run your own company, it’s not always fun. She says sometimes she questions if her passion for this work is enough.

“Perseverance through unknown territories is very challenging; however, it is totally rewarding and very motivating to receive positive customer feedback, knowing that you helped people to change their lives positively, or do better in their jobs, or that your products have made a positive impact in their personal lives,” said Bettina.

What motivates Bettina most is to be able to follow her passion of making a difference in others’ lives, and she also ‘takes breaks’ to help balance it all and regroup.

“I love to hike, read books, or enjoy a leisurely walk to our favorite neighborhood restaurant. I also enjoy gardening, and I’m inspired by watching the hummingbirds outside of my office window,” said Bettina.

Although Bettina, with a traditional career background in banking and as a product manager, never considered herself an entrepreneur, her (and her husband’s) journey up until this point has led her to become a passionate business owner.   Bettina plans to expand their client base so that more women can experience the power of personal growth.

Identity Five:

What have you accepted in your life that took time?

I was 23 when my husband got diagnosed with the life-threatening illness of leukemia. So, with leukemia   being a constant companion over the past 20 years, I’ve learned to live the ups and downs of life, and embrace life fully. It is amazing to me how we grow with the challenges we face every day–I feel that the opportunities that opened up through the toughest times in my life are also the best ones.

What do you appreciate the most in your life?

The relationships I have with my family, friends and our clients. I find them very nurturing, motivating, and encouraging. They make me laugh and sometimes we share some tears together. I also appreciate and find it very rewarding to have met so many amazing women in my life. They come from all different walks of life and professions and I feel a deep connection to their stories and I’m very inspired by them.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life?

Even after many years, former employees approach us and tell us what a great work experience they had. They loved working for us. They were inspired by the passion we had for the business, and they find it rewarding to work for a company that changed the way people work.

What is your not so perfect way?

My not-so-perfect way is that I don’t   take more time to draw and make sketches, which is something I really love. I always take my sketchbook with me when I travel, but then I hardly find the courage to take it out and start drawing the first line.

Complete this sentence: “I Love My…”

I love my love for life. I love my dedication to my friends and family. I love my house and garden. I love my smile and love to see that I can bring smiles to other faces. I love my passion for the Italian language and Italy.

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