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Fearless First Year is a comprehensive guide for students to successfully transition and thrive in college, from an expert coach. Including insights from students' stories, and loaded with practical techniques-- from managing time and finances to making friends, this book inspires and equips students with skills and knowledge for their life-changing transition from high school, with well-being at its core. Essential for the college-bound and current college students.

Fearless First Year was recently recognized  by the Delaware Press Association!
Fearless First Year Book Cover  - College Students Talking, One with Red Cape
Delaware Press Association Award for General Nonfiction, 2nd Place, 2023 Communications Contest
Skills That Build cover image. Person standing, with scaffolding surrounding them, crane is lifting brain into the skull.

Skills That Build is the intersection of cognitive psychology, business, and well-being, offering readers an accessible means to coach themselves on valuable success-generating behaviors in four critical areas: Communication, Empathy, Time and Focus, and Resilience. Learn and master these career-advancing skills that promote psychological health and well-being, using this book as your virtual coach on the bookshelf.

You can order this book online at your bookseller of choice, from local or independent bookshops, 

Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and through online and local booksellers everywhere!  

Volume orders can be purchased directly from the author.  (See Contacts page below)




The Hard Science of Soft Skills for Work and Life

If you are ready to propel your career to the next level...

If you are striving for both a successful career and a fulfilling life...

Skills That Build provides the missing credential in your healthy success tool kit.    

Demand for leadership coaching has skyrocketed worldwide in the last five years, but few people can afford a professional coach. Even fewer receive coaching for career development and personal growth through their employer. Busy racking up buzzworthy credentials on their own time, today’s emerging workers and mid-career professionals teeter precariously between personal and career aspirations.

​If ever there was a need for preventive mental health practices and accessible tools for workplace empowerment, the time is now. Just over a year ago, the workforce was focused on ascending the career ladder, with less attention paid to maintaining a healthy grip on personal well-being. Since then, the pandemic has underscored the need for resilience and effective ways to cope on both professional and personal fronts. While successful leaders build success from within, they must first lead themselves. This book becomes the virtual coach on the bookshelf, as readers learn and master career-advancing skills that promote psychological health and well-being. Anyone can learn these behaviors and enhance their current repertoire using this evidence-based guide for skills that build us.

Skills That Build is the intersection of science, business, and well-being, from the perspective of a seasoned management consultant and executive coach with an academic background in cognitive psychology.  It offers readers an accessible means to coach themselves on skills in four critical areas, which promote psychological health and generate success both in the workplace and at home.

Through stories from coaching clients, groundbreaking scientific research, examples of business applications, and exercises to hone and master new behaviors, Skills That Build demonstrates actionable techniques and empowers readers to jump-start their uniquely personal strategies for growth.​


Skills That Build book cover image. Person standing, surrounded by scaffolding, crane dropping brain into skull._that_Build_Cvrs3 hi res.jpg
Feareless First Year book cover image of college students talking, one wearing red superhero cape.

College Success = Aptitude + x

For a successful transition to college . . .

To optimize your college experience . . .


Fearless First Year solves the equation for college success. College acceptance confirms a student’s aptitude for the rigor of higher education but is no guarantee of success once there. Between acceptance and graduation, students face countless hurdles. Nearly half of entering students require six years or more to graduate, while 30 percent fail to return for the second year. Too many students enter unprepared for the major life transition from high school to college.

College success requires more than academic prowess. Social, emotional, financial, and life skills are critical. Students must stay focused, manage time, maintain physical and mental health, and engage within the campus community. Those who develop these skills before and during college will thrive. Transition preparation is key.

Fearless First Year is an indispensable handbook for college-bound students to proactively prepare for a smooth transition and college success while also maintaining their well-being. Written by an expert coach with insights from current students, action checklists, and exercises, this guide inspires students to develop and practice behaviors for a Fearless First Year at college . . . and beyond.


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In The Press

I wrote this book to bring professional coaching to those who have little or no access to personal and professional development opportunities.

The individual who first builds the self has set the virtual concrete in place on which to construct a solid house of work and life. The four behaviors are good for the brain, the body, the business, and the bottom line.

By choosing our behaviors intentionally, we build success from within and foster our own well-being. In first leading ourselves, we become better leaders for others.


Podcasts- click to play
Author/Coach Gina M. Wilson Podcast with Dr. Karin Jakubowski
Reviews for Skills That Build

 Overall this book was a quick and easy read with a lot of powerful content. It was thought provoking and provided many questions for self-assessment and reflection. The real life scenarios and cases in each chapter really brought the content to life and how to put into practice. I can see this being a valuable resource in any manager's, or leader's tool-kit!

. . . a motivating read for anyone looking to reach their goals and thrive in their workplace or in a personal setting.  The author’s voice is clear and accessible as she describes a variety of achievable skills that drive us toward better performance and perhaps more importantly, greater wellness.  Her strategies are based on research ... supported by years of coaching and consulting. Practical exercises provide a gently challenging opportunity for readers to develop their skills... realistic, doable activities with inspiration to build a more intentional, fulfilling life.

Gina’s book on soft skills, communication and resilience being just two, details the science behind these skills and provides practical and easy to use tools to assess and build these skills in our own lives. The book is easy to read, compelling, and extremely helpful in learning about and building these skills which are invaluable not only for the work place, but also for one’s own personal life and relationships.


V.P. Customer Experience

Stanley Black & Decker

Gina skillfully integrated findings from science and cognitive psychology to show how we can develop a repertoire of skills to be the best we can...the soft skills that build and sustain us. This is masterfully articulated and excites one to set goals for change with a smile.

Executive Director
Mental Health Association in Delaware

Skills That Build is a great resource for emerging as well as experienced leaders. The author’s storytelling generates self-reflection and the built-in exercises are applicable to any leader. From the title to the end of the book is a belief in individuals’ ability to grow their personal leadership skills for success and wellbeing in any environment! Diving deep into the four skillsets for effective leadership, this book will help anyone who works on or leads a team.

Associate Professor, Economics
Director, Villanova Women's Professional Network
Villanova School of Business
Villanova University

The individual who first builds the self has set the virtual concrete in place on which to construct a solid house of work and life. The four behaviors are good for the brain, the body, the business, and the bottom line.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Leadership Specialist
University of Delaware




Photo of author Gina M. Wilson, Executive Coach and Founder of System Strategies Consulting.

Holistic executive coach Gina M. Wilson, MS, works with organizations, students, and leaders to inspire and empower personal and professional growth through evidence-based practices. Gina is founder of the Skills That Build Leadership Development Program, the Fearless First Year College Transition  Program, and System Strategies Consulting and Coaching As an experienced coach, software developer, healthcare strategist, college instructor, and management consultant, Gina brings a contemporary perspective to applied psychology and coaching.

Author Gina M. Wilson, MS

Photo credit: Kelli Wilke



For inquiries about volume book orders,  to arrange for coaching or professional development programs, or to book Gina to speak at your conference or event, please contact Gina directly via email at 

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© 2024 by Gina M. Wilson, MS

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