C.J. Hayden was born in Westchester County, New York, but left almost immediately. Before settling in San Francisco as a young adult, she had lived in sixteen cities, eight states, and two Canadian provinces. At the age of 15, C.J. dropped out of high school and ran away from home. Living on the street for more than two years in several U.S. and Canadian cities, she became addicted to alcohol and drugs, and was a victim of assault and abuse. Overcoming homelessness, addiction, and her lack of education, C.J. eventually earned her way off the street with a series of minimum wage jobs. She put herself through college at night over a period of ten years.
Before she turned 30, C.J. held over fifty jobs, including carhop, bank teller, computer programmer, surveyor, product manager, and planetary geologist. Her first entrepreneurial venture was making jewelry in a logging cabin on Vancouver Island, and she has been self-employed as a technical writer, corporate trainer, seminar producer, software developer, and management consultant, before becoming a business coach. An instinctive gate-crasher and determined survivor, C.J. has created her own path to success by applying her special blend of persistence, resourcefulness, and an ability to relate to just about anyone.
After 45 years in San Francisco, C.J. now lives in the Northern Liberties district of Philadelphia with her sweetheart “Friendly Dave” Herninko and a rotating cast of foster cats.