kelly phillips


As a military daughter, I learned how to navigate moves, lose friends, make new ones, and jump into new surroundings. It didn’t stop when I left home — my adventure had just begun. I’ve lived in Germany, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, and North Carolina. I’ve met amazing people and experienced things many only dream of. I’ve also experienced things that we wish were not part of life. Now I live in Western North Carolina with my chocolate lab Bonifay and my barn cat-turned house cat Abby. When I’m not in my office, you can find me outdoors working in the yard, kayaking, hiking, or  taking in the city life in Asheville.

Professionally, I’ve centered my career around serving others. One would think corporate sales in the tech industry or client management in the healthcare tech industry would not be considered serving others, but the cornerstone of my success has been treating others how I want to be treated. As a result, I have long been the go-to for clients, co-workers, and friends seeking advice and encouragement, both professional and personal. Because I have been fulfilling the role of transition coach since long before “Life Coach” was a thing, I decided to make it official. In 2012, I received my Life Coach Certification.

I am so excited you found Startover School. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and helping you navigate your next chapter in life.

Renee Hopkins

renee Hopkins

writer, editor, teacher 

I’ve spent my life learning things and then sharing those discoveries with others — starting at age 7, when I taught my  5-year-old sister how to read. I’ve been a writer, editor, researcher, and teacher. I have BA and MA degrees in English and training in a dozen different subjects, including life coaching. At age 50-something I was diagnosed with ADHD, to the surprise of no one who knows me. I live in Western North Carolina, where you can find me hiking and enjoying the outdoors, although you’re more likely to find me singing and playing old-school country, Cajun, and zydeco music. I have two adult daughters and an adorable beagle named Lester.

About starting over: I started young — I went to four high schools in three states. I continued this pattern as an adult. I’ve made four career changes and been married three times. My experience has been that starting over requires a sense of optimism and the hope that life can be better. Most of the time, my transitions have been for the better. That’s not always the case, so starting over does require a tolerance for mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes and missteps. Now I frame life changes as experiments. It’s easier to learn from the results, even if what you learn is to never run that experiment again! 

I’m currently delving into the psychology, science, and stories relevant to life transitions. I am happy to share what I find in the Startover School newsletter.