Mira Brancu, PhD
I was originally born in Romania - back when it was under a communist regime. My parents weren't too keen on raising children in that environment so we emigrated to America as political refugees when I was 6 years old. I didn't know the language of this new world and I was a fairly quiet child to begin with so it took me a long time to feel like I fit in anywhere. This forced me to rely much more heavily on skills such as observation and interpretation of nuanced behaviors in order to understand people and make deep connections.
Over the years, I've lived and worked in New York, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virgina, and North Carolina (where I now live with my husband and two children). I've worked in many settings, with many different kinds of clients from many backgrounds, which has also helped me hone my skills in understanding how factors such as these impact success.
My mentees and supervisees would often ask me how I got to where I am today in the hopes of gleaning some words of wisdom for their own career path. In the past I would be baffled myself as it all seemed like it was pure luck. Fortunately I have had formal and informal mentors of my own who helped me recognize it wasn't just pure luck and there were in fact many very specific steps, a frame of mind, and my use of the resources around me that created the opportunities to lead me here. I now recognize that this belief that being successful is "just luck" is an affliction from which many women suffer. We have trouble identifying, much less owning our own strengths. My hope is help other women clarify and hone their strengths and equip them with the tools to reach and surpass their goals, breaking through any personal barriers holding them back.
Over the course of my career as a school counselor, then clinical psychologist, then chief of operations and other leadership roles, I've also gained a special interest in teaching others how to effectively navigate complex systems; align personal, professional, and organizational priorities to meet goals; develop strategic thinking and processes; and work effectively with individuals, teams, and organizations.
In my "spare time", I love reading, learning, writing, creating, strength training, and volunteering in my community. For example, I serve on the board of A Lotta Love, a non-profit organization focused on building safe environments for homeless women in transitional housing, I am a career coach and presenter for Dress for Success, and I am a senior member of the North Carolina Psychological Association's (NCPA) Colleague Assistance Committee, focused on building resiliency and reducing burnout. I’m also a member of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Consulting Psychologists. A brief overview of my training and experience is listed below, but I encourage you to look me up on LinkedIn as well (and please do connect!):
PhD in Clinical Psychology, Catholic University of America, program accredited by the American Psychology Association
MEd in School Counseling and Advanced Specialist Certificate in Counseling, University of Maryland at College Park, CACREP accreditation, program ranked #1 by US News & World Reports.
Business Essentials Certificate, University of North Carolina's Kenan–Flagler Business School
Lean Six Sigma Green/Silver belt certified, Department of Veterans Affairs
Transformational Coach, Resident (second highest) level, Department of Veterans Affairs
National Mentor/Coach Certification, Fellow (highest) level, Department of Veterans Affairs
Duke University Leadership Development for Researchers (LEADER) training program
National coordinator of the strategic goal to support evaluation and communication of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Centers of Excellence
Deputy Director, VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)
Authored over 40 publications and delivered over 50 scientific and educational presentations on topics related to building capacity for managing transitional and transformational experiences.