Born and raised in Michigan, Tina Essmaker is a Brooklyn-based coach, writer, and speaker.

In August 2011, Tina cofounded The Great Discontent, a publication of in-depth interviews with artists, makers, and risk-takers, with her then-husband and business partner, Ryan Essmaker. As Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent, she spoke with more than 250 notable subjects for the web, print, and audio, including Cheryl Strayed, Debbie Millman, Reggie Watts, Tavi Gevinson, Leon Bridges, and Krista Tippett.

In 2017, Tina experienced a personal transformation after her marriage to her husband and business partner ended. The opportunity to redefine her career drew her back to her roots as a social worker. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit and spent over a decade working with runaway and homeless youth in Michigan before moving to New York City in 2012.

Combining her love for the creative community and her desire to help people live more meaningful, connected, and fulfilled lives, Tina started her own coaching practice in Fall 2017. As a coach working with creatives, Tina draws on her experience as a social worker, her training as a coach through Coach U, and six years of intimate conversations with creatives via The Great Discontent.

Tina helps her clients reach beyond mere inspiration to identify actionable steps toward creating the lives they desire. She addresses themes that we wrestle with as creatives, and themes she has encountered in her own life: self-doubt, meaningful contribution, connection, burnout, vulnerability, transition, and fulfillment in our work and lives.

In 2017, Tina was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine. She also served as Chair of the 2017 AIGA Design Conference, helping to curate an unforgettable lineup of mainstage speakers and gave this talk to remind us of our humanity and the importance of vulnerability and empathy in our work. In 2018, Tina was included in Graphic Design USA’s People to Watch.

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Photo by Julia Hembree