Gladys Ato


Meet Gladys

The sweet scents of lavender, gardenia, and rose glide by me as I approach my garden waking up from a night of restoration. Birdsong is in surround sound, layered with the melody of the nearby ocean’s soft crashing waves.

There’s a luscious stillness in my heart interwoven with a faint yet familiar beating of anxious pressure from decades of striving, achieving, and worrying that it’s never enough.

I scan my garden, noticing new buds of life contrasted with a few signs of decay. Simultaneously, I scan my inner landscape and ask,

Where am I blossoming right now? And what’s slowly coming to the end of its cycle?

Just like pruning a rose bush can make you cringe at first, its constantly changing state leads to stronger, healthier growth in the long run.

I’m reminded that life is all about change, and holy shit I’ve been through more than my fair share.

After a series of life plot twists that’d make a soap opera writer jealous, I gave up the fight and learned to accept the chaos, break some rules (and maybe even a few hearts), and let my healing be messy, funny, and just a bit badass.

From deaths, breakups, and self-worth struggles in my 20s to walking away from a successful career as a doctor of clinical psychology, mental health consultant, and university president in my 30s, I was forced to reevaluate my life and start anew.

This wasn’t a midlife crisis moment. It was a blatant slap in the face from my mom to stop working so hard before I ended up like her…dead.

So in 2015, I did the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing in Todos Santos, Mexico, a week after closing the doors to the National Hispanic University where I was the CEO/president. I gave away all my Manolo’s and Armani suits for gold sneakers and avant-garde gems. I lived for my slow mornings luxuriating in my surroundings and creating art.

In 2017, I created The Good Goodbye® Approach as a counterintuitive alternative to the common 5 stages of grief. I published The Good Goodbye: How to Navigate Change and Loss in Life, Love, and Work and got more media coverage for my thought leadership on change & loss than Kim K. at a Balenciaga show (well, not really but it was a lot).

But becoming the go-to for anyone going through a loss freaked me out. I didn’t want to be known as The Death Lady. So I pivoted hard and established an online education platform of business & leadership courses for entrepreneurs who wanted their life story to be the catalyst for creating an unignorable public presence and global impact.

Fast forward one year of watching my online business grow faster than bouganvillea, I spent 3 glorious months roadtripping my way through Mexico with my pup, Lovebug in the summer of 2019. When we returned from our trip, I was met with a death threat by a stranger lingering in front of my San Francisco apartment, a life-threatening illness in Lovebug, my 9th car accident (don’t judge), and a clear knowing that it was time to sell all my belongings and start a new chapter – even if I had no idea where I’d call home next. 

Two years and 17 Airbnb’s later, a near-death chapter completed with Lovebug who decided to champion on as my ride-or-die, and a thriving business I could easily give up for days filled with naps and finding seashells at the seashore, I returned to Mexico in my MINI Countryman with Lovebug and two suitcases of my cherished gems.

One day while driving in the middle of the Baja desert with no cell service or signs of human life anywhere, I threw my life agenda and false sense of security out the window. I accepted that I had no idea where the hell I was going, where home was, or when I’d find the next public restroom (there are none…you pee on the side of the 2-lane highway while coyotes watch).

I found solace in my own Good Goodbye teachings of embracing the unknown and finding magic in the in-between. I practiced the nervous system-calming techniques I taught hundreds of clients and students to get me through those moments when I so badly wanted someone to reassure me that everything was going to be…fabulous. Because I didn’t want just fine.

And then in 2021, as if the gods of manifestation decided to sprinkle extra glitter on me, I stepped into my dream home overlooking the glimmering Sea of Cortez. I started an internationally-ranked podcast with my BFF on teaching the world to live their best life by making death their BFF. I even got a taste of love again after a 7-year hiatus.

But I’m not here to give you a fairy tale ending or a hero’s journey. Because as much as I’d like to say all the things worked out, I’m just starting to get up from being catapulted on my ass again after…how does the script go…losing it all.

Capricorn stubbornness some say. Others say my soul’s being cleared out for something magnificent.

I say, sometimes life is hard. And sometimes, it’s good.

And that is enough.

A gold nugget of truth

Those harder than life moments that broke me more times than my bank account turned me into a captivating force of nature with a soul-seeing intuition and a rebellious spirit.

Even though my background in running universities and businesses and men out of my life was enough to join the ranks of those women who get movies made about them, learning to navigate life’s twists & turns with grace and unapologetic authenticity put me in a league of my own.

I’ve designed an unconventional approach to journeying through life’s chaos beyond my poor dad’s expectations (why don’t you just get a stable job at a university again, mi hija?!).

I find beauty in the overlooked moments of stillness and power in being willing to stand out by living in the here & now.

I embrace my edge and find elegance in raw truth. Conformity no longer appeals to me cuz my self-created playground of witchery, wisdom, and zero filters is way more fun and liberating.

The price of admission to this sacred space? It’s high.

Not just because everything I do is elevated. But because I know my energy is my most valuable currency and keeping it clear lets me clearly see your inner landscape in less time than it takes to brew water for my tea elixirs. Stir in my intuitive wisdom laced with 20+ years of psychology doctor expertise and your nervous system will be luxuriating in ease without you having to do anything but receive my magic.

Just like in my garden and art, I create spaces through my online courses, personal mentoring, and live events where people (and plants!) thrive amidst the unknown. Whether you’re mourning a death or a split with your bae or BFF, having a career crisis, or going through a whole Phoenix rising from the ashes moment, my teachings help you loosen up, poke some fun at this human journey you’re on, and dissolve the energetic gunk that keeps you waiting for things to get fucked up so you can make “what’s next” a full bloom moment of victory…


I remind you to not lose your magnificent self when the other shoe drops. Because honey, it will drop. Many will. But that’s when your own captivating force of nature, your witchy senses, and your wise guidance will show up to lead you through the downpour.

I believe we can make the twists & turns that churn our stomachs – and yet in some fucked up way inspire us to keep believing dreams can come true – into a fabulous love story…the story of your life.

Join me through those moments of chaos where we’ll find beauty in stillness, humor in the unexpected, and unconventional wisdom in the pure fucking artistry of it all.

Gladys is pure joy and elevates, illuminates and awakens your curiosity at a meaningful level.

Being gifted with the deep presence of Gladys inspires me to open space for more dreaming, connection, acceptance, and love. Whether we are simply savoring the ocean views or sharing our awe of the human experience, she is a living example of a spiritual seeker who steps out in faith to embrace all of life’s adventures.


Gladys is a pint-sized and brilliant woman, whose radiance fills any space she occupies.

She is a pillar of light who has mentored me through some of the most challenging, darkest times of my life and has been there to hold up the mirror for me to see incredible parts of myself I didn’t know were there. Her spiritual presence guided me through the loss of my mom and many career pivots and to this day I will ask myself, “How would Gladys navigate through this?” to guide my steps.


Let’s dance

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