Reader Reviews



“It’s time to unpack and scale back! This author’s vulnerable and inspiring story, along with practical tools, will help guide you through the necessary work to define what success really means to you.”

– Leslie Cooper, Sr. Marketing Manager

The Big Scale Back Reviews

“The Big Scale Back” is many things; a deeply vulnerable memoir, a call to ask hard questions of ourselves, and an unflinching mirror held up to the cracked foundations of modern day work culture. But perhaps more than anything else, it is one woman’s hard-earned convictions that just might give us the permission to quietly exhale and exit a race we never signed up for.
How many of us ever stop to ask ourselves, What are we living and working for? Is our life valuable, or simply costly? And what does it all mean, if we are unhappy, unhealthy, or lacking in purpose? With her experience in coaching and deep insights into human behavior, Stephanie Woodward shines a spotlight on some uncomfortable areas of our lives. From family members to bosses to strangers, we have all internalized other people’s assumptions and beliefs about how to live. This book will help you hit pause and consider our choices with more intention.
Stephanie’s story teaches us that it is possible for people to change for the better. And perhaps, we can finally go from hustle to flow.”

– Christina Liew, Head of Impact and Growth | B Lab Singapore

“A must-read for anyone looking to bring balance into their lives! The author’s vivid personal stories bring the concepts to life, guiding the reader in transforming their own relationship with productivity. With thoughtful practices and worksheets throughout, The Big Scale Back is equal parts illustrative and informative.”

– Camille Alizadeh, Founder | Lived Collective


“More of this, please. Stephanie Woodward takes readers on an incredible journey through love, loss and ultimately, finding joy. With stories that are honest and vulnerable, combined with research and data, The Big Scale Back is thought provoking and eye opening for anyone at any life stage who wants to live a successful life by their own design–which frankly, should be a goal for all of us. There are so many valuable lessons throughout these pages and helpful resources and guides along the way.”

– Tara Berze, Head of Marketing

The Big Scale Back is critical reading for professionals feeling drained, undervalued, or stuck. As a memoir-slash-manual, this book is full of candid storytelling interwoven with practical advice and resources to help anyone seeking more balance in their work and home life.

Woodward’s personality really comes through on the page as she chronicles the experiences and lessons that led her to examine her relationship with work and, ultimately, to her experiment with scaling back. Her writing is honest, passionate, and vulnerable – and you can’t help but connect with her story. Woodward manages to navigate effortlessly between telling her personal journey and offering instruction for the reader to help them with their own scale-back journey.

I read this book expecting to find career advice and tactics to achieve more work-life balance. I not only got that, but so much more. Woodward pushes you to design a more balanced life that challenges the status quo and leads you to find meaning at work on your terms.”

– Lindsay Clarke, Design Researcher & Strategist | SickKids

“When I began my career in a busy PR agency, my peers and I were conditioned to believe that we could only get ahead by ‘paying our dues’; in other words, working 12+ hours a day, answering emails 24/7, limiting vacation time, and always putting our hands up. In reality, this translated to burnout. As I’ve progressed in my career and am in a position to coach a team, my goal is to demonstrate that everyone can have an amazing life AND a rewarding career. That’s where this book is helping me. Stephanie’s anecdotes and examples have deeply resonated with me and have challenged me to self-assess not only how I manage my team, but also how I was conditioned to live to work. This book has opened my eyes to the concept of defining my own success and creating a life and career that fulfills me. As the workforce and expectations of employees evolve, the lessons in this book can help managers create a positive and productive environment for their staff, and themselves.”

– Lindsay Barnes, Senior Manager, Media Relations and External Communications

“The Big Scale Back is one of those rare personal-professional development books that you pick up and you really don’t want to put down. It’s the perfect blend of personal reflection, professional application and practical solution.

Stephanie’s warm and authentic writing style makes you feel like you having a fire-side chat with a trusted friend or colleague. By recalling chapters of her life story, in what has clearly been a intense journey of self-discovery, Stephanie’s vulnerability engenders an immediate connection with the reader.

She then applies her deep professional knowledge as a coach and her extensive experience at the top of her field in the corporate world, to develop a framework to guide us through, step-by-step, to a new way of living.

The Big Scale Back is essential reading for anyone who feels overwhelmed by work, disillusioned by the life path they are on or just in need of some straight forward advice on what to do next.”

– Suzie Norton, Founder Director | Zanna Creative

“The Big Scale Back gave me so much to think about when it comes to my relationship with work, productivity and success. I’m looking forward to applying its lessons to my life and career. There were so many “head-nodding” moments for me in this insightful, relatable book. I couldn’t help but feel like Stephanie was speaking directly to me, with an empathy that can only come from experience.

The book and its engaging exercises led me to key insights about how and why I’m wired as I am when it comes to productivity. It helped me connect the dots of my past into an image of how I approach work in the present – and it challenged me to think about how I could redraw some of those lines for my own greater fulfilment.

At the heart of the book, Stephanie’s own journey from chronic workaholism to a purpose-driven life is so compelling. Each of her anecdotes draws the reader in deeper, beautifully written with rich detail and vivid emotion. Her story reinforces the book’s core message that rebalancing one’s life is possible with self-awareness, courage, and commitment.”

– Victoria Pearson, Vice President, Strategy, Research & External Affairs, March of Dimes Canada


“Stephanie shares her own, refreshingly honest, story of confronting her limiting beliefs to help readers find the same courage to question their perception of success. The integration of the guided reflection offered throughout the book provides a helpful roadmap to find your own answers to these questions and a path forward that combines success and balance. An important and timely read as many are questioning their purpose”

– Mark Edgar, Founder | Goat Rodeo Project

The Big Scale Back




“Stephanie’s book The Big Scale Back is a must-read for anyone wanting to re-
examine how they’re living life and on whose terms. The BIG SCALE BACK provides
personal stories and clear guidelines on how to identify our own limiting beliefs,
uncover our inner voice, and find our truest selves in a world where exterior voices
and pressures can often be the loudest.”

– Esther Vlessing, President | CEMM


Hi, I’m Stephanie

I’m a leadership coach and facilitator, working with individuals, teams and organizations to create workplace cultures that prioritize results and relationships; productivity and people. I focus all of my work on helping people feel focused, energized, and deeply satisfied with their work.

I’m the founder of Agency II Change, a boutique firm based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in custom coaching programs and training for leaders and teams to help them lead and collaborate more effectively and adapt how they work together to solve challenges and drive results. My wish is for everyone to find that sweet spot where they feel focused, energized and deeply satisfied with their work, while maintaining fulfillment with the many other aspects of their lives.

My formal education is in psychology and communication with an Hons BA in Psychology and an MA in Communications from Boston University. In addition to being a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach through the Coaches Training Institute, in recent years I’ve also added specialties in resilience by completing my Certified Resilience Practitioner training through the Resilience Alliance, Psychological Health and Safety through the Canadian Mental Health Association, as well as personality and leadership assessment certifications for the Enneagram and The Leadership Circle Profile. Prior to founding Agency II Change, I held a variety of leadership roles, focused on helping leaders navigate and communicate through times of high change.

As you’ll learn in the book, when I’m not working, I spend a lot of time with family and friends, and you’ll usually find me at the cottage swimming in the lake or reading a book on the dock.

To learn more about my work and life, or to share your perspective on work-life fulfillment or the other topics in the book, you can find me on LinkedIn or on Instagram at @agencytochange, or learn more about my work and subscribe to my newsletter at Agency II Change.

I hope this book helps you see productivity in a new light with new ways to achieve work-life integration that feels fulfilling. Thanks for joining me on this journey.


“Stephanie Woodward’s The Big Scale Back offers a compelling perspective on what success looks like in work and in our personal lives. Following her own life lessons and those of her clients, Woodward focuses on shifting from unconscious to conscious productivity, tying your values and your life vision to how you prioritize and show up at work. It’s a great read that helps frame what’s personally important to you and how that needs to be reflected in the choices we make at work – when we say “yes” and maybe more importantly, when we say “no”.  An open mind is necessary to fully appreciate the provocations in the book and to transition to a “life by your own design.”

– Meghan Sherwin, Chief Marketing Officer | Keilhauer

Start your journey to conscious productivity today!



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