The Story of Hanging Rock

Why start a consulting and coaching company when so many already exist? For this entrepreneur, no other option existed—from an early age, I always knew I’d want to write and help others communicate, too. As an adult living in Asia and the US, I found many professionals (though gifted in finance, operations, and strategy) sought that help. And yet my dreams of building a venture around this gap started while growing up in my New Zealand motherland.

My most memorable year was 1973, the year my mother (with my older sister and me in tote) took over a nearby South Island cottage. Local friends helped us clear out the space (where sheep had occasionally sheltered) so we could make the structure our home.

We weren’t wealthy; but, as a girl, I remember feeling happy—and rich. How could we not? The land around us resembled Middle Earth with its rolling hills, orchards, and streams separating our property from the gravel road. (The narrow wooden bridge buckled and wobbled as we drove our Morris mini over it.)

The nearby river (called ‘Hanging Rock’) became a pristine watering hole and where we children learned to swim. In summer, we jumped off the big ‘hanging’ rock and swam across the water to an elder on shore. (If you didn’t need rescuing, you passed your ‘swimming test.’) 

With the nearest store a solid drive away and bartering of produce normal, we all became self sufficient. In spring, mum made feasts from fried Portabella mushrooms from our hillside, eggs, garden peas, and buttered toast. As a homemaker and gardener, my mum also transformed the humble cottage.

She and a farming friend joined gardening societies in the U.S., UK, and Scotland and (with the free seed packets these societies sent to them) grew beautiful plants from exotic places. The rock garden at our cottage (with the ongoing help of subsequent owners long after we left) became a stunning ‘show’ garden on the South Canterbury garden visit circuit.

I launched this business (Hanging Rock LLC) in the spirit of my pioneering mother and the enterprising people I remember from this land. I learned it takes courage to launch a business. It takes talent to tell a story well, and creativity to stand out. I hope to encourage you to take risks—just as we children did by jumping off Hanging Rock into the river.

Whether I write for you, coach for you, or improve how you communicate, I’ll ask you the right questions (and listen well) to help you live your life (and share your ideas) with integrity and with courage. All of this remains possible because I believe: No matter how noisy and crowded the market place, an audience always makes time for meaningful people and for a delightful message.

– Debbi Gardiner McCullough