Tad Hargrave – Your host and facilitator:
Tad is a hippy who developed a knack for marketing (and then learned how to be a hippy again). For almost a decade, he has been touring his marketing workshops around Canada bringing refreshing and unorthodox ideas to conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses that help them grow their organizations and businesses (without selling their souls).
He does improv comedy semi-professionally, co-runs Edmonton’s progressive community building network TheLocalGood.ca, founded treetcarshows.com, indigodrinks.ca, socialyogiyeg.com, and the Jams program of yesworld.org. He speaks Scottish Gaelic and helps to run novascotiagaelsjam.com and is also a huge Doctor Who nerd.
Tad currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta (traditionally known, in the local indigenous language of the Cree, as Amiskwaciy (Beaver Hill) and later Amiskwaciwaskihegan (Beaver Hill House) and his ancestors come primarily from Scotland with some from the Ukraine as well. He is drawn to conversations around politics, history, ancestry, healing and how those all intersect.
Lisa Baker‘s dream is to end homelessness, racism, and climate change (not necessarily in that order). She’s a marketing consultant for small businesses who works on saving the world as a side gig. She’d like to change that.
Melanie Christner: As a certified nutritional therapy & GAPS™ Practitioner in Vermont, Melanie’s goal is to help families simplify the GAPS Diet so they can hear their honest bodies, and have the health to do what they’re meant to do in the world.
Having four children of her own, she loves working with children and families, and she endeavours to pair nourishing healing with the practical day-to-day workings of her client’s lives.
Melanie works one-on-one with clients long distance, as well as leading families through her online GAPS Class.
For fun you can find Melanie creating in her kitchen, Nordic skiing, or swimming in the Green Mountain ponds & rivers with her family. You can find her online home at honestbody.com
Angie Evans completed her Honours Bachelor of Science Degree (Pre-med) in 1995, a three-year Master Herbalist program in 2003, and completed three years of Midwifery studies at Midwives College of Utah. She has worked professionally in the field of holistic health since 2000 and as a doula since 2002.
Her services include birth support, placenta encapsulation, and education for parents-to-be and birth professionals (new and experienced). Angie co-teaches the popular Couples’ Labour Prep workshop and the Prenatal Wisdom series of prenatal classes, and created Childbirth Prep for Men, a one-evening session just for dads-to-be. Other classes include Postpartum Survival, Healthy Babies Naturally, Holistic First Aid for Home & Travel, and Fertility Awareness Method.
In 2012 Angie’s article Neonatal Resuscitation with Intact Umbilical Cord was published in Midwifery Today and received feedback from around the world.
Currently Angie enjoys working in a shared-care model of birth support and teaching.
Jana Jane Hexter is the author of Grant Writing Revealed: 25 Experts Share Their Art, Science, and Secrets, and founder of GrantsChampion, a grant development and training business. She has written well over 150 successful proposals and raised over $60 million for her clients.
Jana is also an intuitive. As a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds, Jana provides a fresh perspective by accessing universal consciousness at a deep level during remote sessions with her clients – with life-changing results. Her gift has been described as “one of the most moving and incredible experiences I have ever had when balancing between current reality and the grand energy of the universe.”
Some of Nan Krueger‘s favourite toys to play with as a kid were her parents’ furniture templates. She remembers tracing the shapes of chairs, tables, door-swings, and of course, the piano. Nan drew floor plans of countless imaginary houses, while watching her parents design their actual houses. She must have been the only kid in her neighbourhood who thought that space-planning was a fun playtime activity.
Not surprisingly, Nan chose to earn degrees in art history and interior design. She has worked at design firms in Michigan and Massachusetts, and also as an independent draftsperson. All of that high-end experience taught Nan a valuable lesson, which is that she really wants to practice interior design for the rest of us.
Since moving to Maynard in 1994, Nan has also taught community education classes in interior design, jewelry making, and ESL. The latter was inspired by her three-month family adventure in Ecuador, where she and her family volunteered at elementary schools in Quito and Otavalo.
Nan started groovyhome because she loves helping people improve their living spaces. Even small adjustments can positively affect your quality of life. Your home needs to function properly and make you happy, and Nan want to guide you there in a friendly, fun and affordable way.
Kellita Maloof is the creator of Showgirl Awakening. She is an artist, dancer, director, teacher, and mentor. For over 20 years, Kellita has performed, designed and curated shows, and midwifed Awakening Showgirls all over the world. Kellita helps kind, smart, soulful, sensitive women who’ve been over-editing, over-managing and over-giving — and are attracted to dance performance and glitter — to trust themselves and express themselves with confidence, presence and radiance.
Andrea Murphy: I am yoga practitioner of 20 years, and have been teaching it about as long. I am also a childbirth educator, birth doula, and postpartum ayurvedic caregiver. I have a particular passion for helping women prepare for the months after childbirth. By summoning their support networks and training their people, their personal village grows at a time they need it, perhaps more than ever. This is the bit about my work that most turns me on.
Yoga, in my experience, began with an athletic style of hatha yoga – a demanding series of physical postures coordinated with breath. Over the years, as my yoga absorbed various lineages/brands, texts both ancient and modern, related disciplines from other parts of the world, and the influence of several teachers and schools, I came to understand yoga less as a physical practice and more of a way of life. This is not to say that the physical practice has ceased! Today, I consider yoga to be the foundation of all of my work as it is the foundation of my days. It has awakened inner technologies, inspired my choices and invoked an aspiration to design my life in service to Life.
Yoga certainly inspired a study of ayurveda and of birth, the combination of which has grown into a decade of service to women, their families and communities; often I will travel great distances to take care of women in their homes. It inspired two lengthy trips to India, both to study yoga and practice birthwork – and also, to participate and then organize a juggling convention. It has provided me with a physical foundation for other movement disciplines, from martial arts to dance to juggling. And, as death began to reveal itself in my birthwork, I credit my yoga practice for cultivating the resolve, patience and presence required to support those who are actively grieving, or actively dying. Come September I will be enrolled in a funeral services study program, that I may learn how to more fully support humans during the season of death, too.
I most enjoy teaching the foundations of yoga – breath begets movement – to beginner and experienced practitioners alike, and helping folks develop a personalized yoga practice. This happens outside of any yoga studio, and usually off the mat.
My life, thus far, has been full of movement, unconventional lifestyles, epic landscapes, culture and community cultivating projects. I have worked to organize nonprofits, as a research assistant to university deans, a bicycle courier, as one of Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors, an archaeologist, a grassroots labour organizer, a clown, a house painter, a video editor and a personal assistant to some pretty impressive people. I’ve spent countless hours of my personal time initiating community projects, particularly around collaborative public art and nurturing mothers under the names Mothership Cooperative, Juggling for Self Realization, and Sacred Circus. I have a real thing for making movement happen in the streets. I am an accomplished hoop dancer, and currently my favourite project is playing the trombone in Street Brass, a community New Orleans style street band in Toronto.
I spent over twenty years in the corporate world of Financial Services and set up my own business in 2005. Since then I have evolved through a series of business consulting, performance coaching and life coaching offerings.
I am a director of a specialist consulting firm where I work one day a week.
I am a father to two children and over the last eighteen my main focus has been supporting and coaching my eldest son (12) as he was preparing for and is now starring in School of Rock in the London West End.
I have been developing a new business proposition that feels to be the most powerfully aligned to who I am.
Dharmini Thirukumaran: I was born in SriLanka; land of mangoes, coconuts, hibiscus, mangosteens, cinnamon, tea and everything exotic. In the same beautiful land I’ve experienced the ugliest of humanity; war + abuse. Then during a brief getaway in India before coming home to Canada, I survived homelessness + more.
After a drawn out childhood I finally graduated with a bunch of degrees [Honours Psychology, Sociology + BEd – Elementary], still feeling completely unequipped to adult in real life. Bills, life and all the rest was a lot to juggle. Fortunately, a forcefield of impeccable support systems always form around me in times of need.
As an elementary teacher, I learned so much from my mini teachers (students); much more than I ever could have taught them. Co-learning with inquisitive young minds was incredibly liberating; the most generous gift. They inspired me to re-think my beliefs, values, lifestyle and ideas. Soon, everything changed. I changed. I was different. Naturally, the universe gave me the “just right” push to pave my own path.
Rachel Warrington: I didn’t set out to be a healer, but I was fascinated by my own life. I wrote, “An unexamined life is not worth living” (Socrates?) at the beginning of my journals. At 19 I started working with active, intentional creation. At 26 I learned shamanic journeying techniques and began developing my inner seeing landscape. All through that time I was also studying French literature, living in French-speaking places, learning archetype and human nature and experience through language and story. And I was cleaning up my life, learning what it feels like to live with integrity and to be kind, not “nice”. At the end of my 20s I thought I was doing pretty well: married to a good man (finally able to choose a good one!) and starting a PhD in Medieval French literature. I had my shit together, and believed that I saw clearly how everyone else should get their shit together.
Turns out I was wrong, and sometimes I was a jerk.
At 31 and 33, my babies were born. I did not cope well. I know now that I had intense postpartum depression. I didn’t know that then. All I knew was overwhelm, core exhaustion, shame, self-loathing, rage and a desire so strong to hide my struggle that I could not ask for help. What I could not know was that this period of intense breakdown would be my greatest teacher and would wring the arrogance out of me. I didn’t know that I was overwhelmed with feelings that I was not letting myself feel. I was not even aware that I was stopping myself from feeling. I didn’t know that I had no love for myself. I didn’t know I was deep in a family pattern of making the child responsible for the emotional expression of the parent. I learned all of these things, and more, by engaging in the ways of inquiry that I had already put in place in my life and by adding others. Slowly, slowly I crawled out of my depression, humbled and scarred, having learned that grieving the big and little things opens the heart, that even the most together-looking human has a story of pain, and that my heart falls softly in love with anyone once I hear their story.
I’m still more than a bit of a rascal. I still swear a lot. I learned that part of my work in this world is to stand as a doorway and a witness for another to step through deeper into their own juicy life.
Kathy Whitham is an RN, a Parenting Coach who believes connection matters more than perfection. When a parent is at the end of their rope, she lends a solid hand to hold. Using her No-Yell Parenting™ model, Kathy provides step by step guidance to effectively handle difficult behaviors with positive, loving solutions that nourish relationship. Her coaching integrates 30 years of experience as a nurse, holistic practitioner, yoga instructor, and artist, as well as a mom who imperfectly raised three kids, including one transgender son, to happy, successful adulthood.
Parenting Beyond Words celebrates diversity and supports LGBTQ parents. parentingbeyondwords.com
Simon Berkowitz: I don’t have a current bio (hence the need for this program . . .) so here is a sort of bio created in the moment. More bringing you up to date. I have twenty years experience working with Acupuncture, CST, Massage, Hypnosis with additional trainings in Mindfulness and Meditation. Over the last 5 years training and working with a form of Dreamwork (we did a marketing session about it a few years back). It has taken a huge amount of work but I now feel that my niche is starting to get a little clearer. I am slowly but surely moving away from the physical style of work towards my own style of coaching. In the sales letter Tad used the image of deep roots. I have been working so long on this stuff that I feel they’re kind of almost poking out the other side of the earth. On a personal note the last few years have been very challenging. I had a break-up that was extremely long, drawn out and incredibly stressful. As is the way with these difficult experiences, and having done my best to work through it, I do feel like a different and truer person. My work has been continuing to develop but very slowly. As things have started to simplify in my life I have been setting myself up, creating space, to be able to really explore how to get this work out into the world next year, so the timing of the program could be very good for me.
Pam Clark is all about truth and beauty. She believes your life is your art – that bravely living the full-expression of your truest self is not only beautiful, but also your greatest gift to the world. She has always been a seeker of truth, but as a recovering codependent-people-pleaser, has struggled with accessing it. It wasn’t until she connected the mental with the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of being that she finally began to know her truth. Not only to express it, but also to use it as the most reliable, full-on navigation for life. Yoga and coaching brought all of these things together for her. She believes they can do this for you, too. Pam’s yoga classes infuse yoga practices with mind, body and life integration. Her private Satya Sessions blend body-based healing with masterful coaching. Her students and clients come to her to connect deeply with themselves and their own depth of wisdom, so they can navigate their lives with clarity and trust – and in doing so, reveal their innate beauty. Pam will challenge your preconceived notions, hold sacred space, guide you to wholeness, and witness your truth with compassion and grace. She is a certified life coach and yoga teacher with two RYT-200 certifications. She is on the faculty of Yoga Church Teacher Training and cohorts a weekly podcast dedicated to navigating life on and off the mat. Pam lives in Jericho with three incredible humans (her husband of many years and two teenagers,) a wise yellow lab and a delightful kitty – all of whom are her greatest teachers. Pam is an avid board-gamer and homeschooling advocate, with an eye for colour and an uncanny ability to manifest beauty. She loves cooking a (vegetarian) feast for exuberant eaters and deep thinkers, snow days and all things Pearl Jam. Connect with Pam at pamelanaudaclark.com
“Sexuality is not only what we do in bed, but our entire creative aliveness.”
Kimaya Crolla-Younger‘s early life was the catalyst for deep soul mining and birthed her dedication to the awakening of deep truth. Exploring and questioning the foundations of mainstream society, psychology and human development. An embodiment of what it takes to live a life beyond what we are taught, told or experience. She is especially gifted in her spontaneous ability to apply her wisdom, creativity and therapeutic gifts to a group dynamic in aid of transformation and awakening.
Founder of Transpersonal Somatics, a 5 pillared approach to trauma resolution and sexual/spiritual awakening that slowly emerged from her 15 years as a Transpersonal psychotherapist. She is a founding member of the Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists in London, dedicated to the field of embodiment and human potential, also working with practitioners looking to awaken mind/body/non-duality in their client work.
She works passionately and intensely guiding individuals, couples and groups in living an embodied life of awakening and self-leadership.
She injects her abundant creative energy into the art of DJing, and can be seen at festivals and conscious events in London and further afield!
Dana da Ponte: I use intuition, art, ceremony, and sisterhood to help women emotionally and spiritually nourish themselves. I lead local and online women’s circles to work with the magic of the moon and the wisdom of the Divine Mother. I specialize in the mother/daughter relationship and healing the Mother Wound. I’m a little bit hippie but a little bit preppy too, a book worm and word geek, a prairie girl with a trucker mouth and a woo woo channeler. I love A Course in Miracles and Osho’s Book of Secrets but I also love Star Trek and want to write my own sci-fi novel one day. I’m a smorgsborg of personalities. A true Gemini I guess.
Alysa Golden: For the past 25 years I have been counselling students, adults and everyone in between, developing transformational programs, facilitating groups, running popular theatre workshops, writing books, directing theatre, working at numerous businesses, studying and practicing spiritually, studying marketing and (most recently) platform business models, raising my 15 year old twins and being a partner to my husband who is an actor. There ya go. A bio in one sentence. Who says people are complicated?
Grace Howlett trained in CranioSacral Therapy, Reflexology and is a Reiki Master. She is working on certification as a Counseling Hypnotherapist. Grace has worked on and with people since 2004 (lucky 13 years). Before that she farmed before that. Due to a tumultuous and disastrous personal and farming relationship, she fled to Manitoba and set up a studio there in 2008, which was very successful once word of mouth got going. Working there 2 weeks of each month and facing stress at home led to a burnout condition which has taken her over 2 years to recover from. Now on her own again and working only a minimum, she feels nearly completely recovered and ready to move in a focused direction. This is not a move out of desperation, she loves her work. Grace also writes, teaches Reiki (and wants to grow into teaching other workshops) and does some psychic work. Her real desire is to help people awaken and own their power to create their lives.
Sandi Loytomaki is an Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Practitioner, Colon Hydrotherapist and student of Classical Osteopathic Manual Therapy. With over 30 years of studying and training in human functional anatomy, performance and potential, she is continually amazed by the power of the body and the power of the totality of what we call the “human being.” Her western academic training is uniquely combined with traditional values and teachings. She lives in a world of spirit and physical realities – living the ways of her ancestors in an urban centre, while offering services in a variety of clinical and home settings. Her life has brought her experience serving people of all ages in the pursuit of conscious living practices and restoration of balance where imbalance exists. From social enterprise business pursuits, community endeavours, social justice advocacy, multicultural arts/music events, teaching people of all ages/cultures/traditions; to experiential learning pursuits with Elders, spiritual/religious traditions and living in various communities around the world – she brings a unique perspective to Unity and the human collective. Sandi knows the dynamic nature and potential of the human body/being inside out. A former high level athlete, Sandi recently, has also had a unique journey with restoration of balance in her own life – passing over from full organ failure, returning to a severely damaged body – and – using all the teachings, tools/skills and knowledge that has been shared with her to regain full vibrant health. Learning to walk, breathe, eat and see again; having two beautiful children; assisting many people transform their lives, these are considered some of her greatest accomplishments in, and contributions to, life. She is passionate about sharing teachings and experiences with others . . . assisting others to live their full potential.
Buffy Maple: I was born in Dobbs Ferry, NY in 1946. Graduated Roosevelt School of Nursing in NYC. I worked as a psychiatric nurse for seven years – including Mass General Alcohol Research Unit, then Boston State Hospital’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Unit, then their psychiatric ward for several years. I started seeking education in better alternatives for mental health patients and myself. I studied Family Systems Therapy, Reichian therapy, Psychodrama under Zerika Moreno, and other modalities. Me and five others created Boston State Hospital’s first outpatient unit. In the early seventies I made a radical life change and moved to LA, CA to immerse myself in The Center for Feeling Therapy. I was there for 9 years and learned many valuable lessons both positive and negative. It became very well known and its seven therapists were on the talk show circuit. Numerous books were written and I was highlighted in several. But fame and fortune were not beneficial and the Centre devolved into a cult. The good news is that we patients ended it ourselves in three days in 1980. A book was written about it and I was highlighted in that also. I took a completely different path in my career during this time frame also. As a nurse I loved my work with my patients dearly, but always had fear I might make a life harming mistake with medication or something else under pressure. I had (and still do) severe learning disorders caused I’m guessing in part to severe physical abuse and being struck by lightening at the age of 8. My brain works differently or not at all at many basic levels. Getting through nursing school was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I studied 5 hours to get B’s or C’s while seeing my classmates study for half an hour and get an A. So I knew with my learning disabilities it would be hard for me to maintain a job of any value. But on the positive side, my inability to function on so many levels in the mainstream world has given me many strengths such as perseverance, deep empathy, and most certainly the ability to think outside the box! I figured if I wasn’t a nurse and couldn’t get a regular job, that my best alternative would be to start my own business and thus have a boss that would see my value despite my handicaps – me! I was clueless as to what I could do or how to start a business. I networked with everyone and in every way I could think of for six months, till I settled on a person who had a small interior plant maintenance business and needed some free labor and a van. I offered both on the condition she made me her business partner. And voila – I now had half a business! We stayed together for 3 years and then I went on to start my own company Forever Green, which I ran for about 7 years. I took care of many famous clients and my company along with 6 others founded PIPA – the professional interior plant association for Los Angeles. My company was chosen to design and install the plants for LA’s Bi-Centennial Celebration. Due in part to the nature of my business (use of chemical treatments on plants) in combination with the flyover spraying with Malathion for the mediterranean fruit fly (a very controversial and much protested program at the time) I developed severe health issues and had to end my career. For the next thirty years I was unable to work at all. I was diagnosed with MCS (Environmental Illness), leaky gut syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Epstein Barr Virus. I include this in my bio because it gave me a different kind of business street-cred and the ability to speak from knowledge, personal experience, and credibility for working with clients in my business, which I hope to create during this program with Tad. Also during this thirty year period, I got involved in Re-evaluation Counselling – also known as “RC.” This is a modality that helps people with deep emotional expression of early hurts. I have taken leadership in various capacities within this organization and developed many powerful skill sets. I am well respected and often sought out as a counsellor. About 18 months ago I took the DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System) and have dramatically improved my neurological responses to chemical exposures. I’ve gone from being bed ridden or barely functional most days and having to wear a respirator when in the wide world to being mask free and able to function at about a 70% level most of the time. It’s a work in process and I continue to improve weekly. During those 30 years of ill health I never gave up my desire to live fully in the world. I was diligent in trying different health modalities and improving my state of well being. I have inspired many who know me. As soon as my health began to return, my desire to help others with their health challenges became strong. So this is where I’m currently at – no business but a great desire to start one and I think I have good life experience to instil trust and credibility with my future clients.
Sarah Marshank MEd. is the founder of Selfistry, an integrative theory and practice for mastering the art of being human. She is the author of the Being Selfish: My Journey for Escort to Monk to Grandmother. Based in Berkeley, CA, Sarah teaches and speaks internationally, facilitates on line courses, and works one-on one with individuals. Sarah’s embodied teaching and presence come from spending ten years in retreat. Her life’s purpose, articulated and expressed through Selfistry, integrates Eastern and Western philosophy and psychology with meditation and somatic practices. Find out more at selfistry.com.
Karen McMullen: Two years ago I had created the success of my dreams. Live your Genius Inc., my business devoted to helping Leaders to discover and express their Genius, was bringing in an average of $15K monthly. I had an art-filled, cozy and beautifully decorated home in the Rocky Mountains, a great relationship, lots of free-time for skiing, and was networked with the most awesome, successful Leaders in the Transformational Leadership industry. I was considering scaling to the next level when I stopped and noticed that despite having achieved the outward “Success” I’d desired, and worked to achieve . . . I mostly just wanted to lie on the couch. I felt discontent, empty and drained! Why create more of the same? “Success” was BS. My dissatisfaction with the illusion of “Success” that I had been sold, and bought into, (and then sold to others) has lead me to a radical experiment with surrender, truth and freedom. I spent 2 years living mostly like a monk and learning rare tools to live truly and freely . . . without having to sacrifice to create financial security. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to live like a monk to get this!) It wasn’t all easy, or pleasant. Releasing my hard-won illusions was painful at times. I now live in central Mexico where I divide my time between a wild beach and magical hillside strawbale house on a permaculture orchard. I work with Leaders using Human Design and private 1-1 retreats in Mexico. I collaborate with Live your Genius Inc. to continue to offer The Genius Process to Business Owners and their teams. Life and business are simpler. I’m much more care-free.
Lev Natan: bio to come …
Elizabeth Scholtz: I was born in Edmonton to German/Austrian parents in the 1970s. My family moved to Stony Plain when I was a teenager and I very quickly got a job working for the local shoemaker. I worked there (summers, holidays, and weekends) for the next 19 years serving customers and hand-sewing leather. I loved every moment of my job (except for the swathers and the hockey equipment. They’re just nasty). While all this was happening, I earned my Undergraduate from the University of Alberta and later moved to Vienna to continue my musical studies. Upon returning home, I established a private teaching studio and accompanied (ahem! collaborated) with both students and colleagues. Over the next 15 years, I managed to study with some of the most important musicians in Europe and North America. Then my life changed. In November of 2009 my daughter got sick with the Flu. She was 18 months old. After a long and sleepless night, I brought her to the Grey Nuns Hospital, thinking naïvely they would help her. After waiting over 12 hours in Emergency, she was finally admitted and spent the next 5 days fighting for her life because of the appalling quality of care she received. My opinion of the medical profession changed forever. I asked for for guidance, strength, and courage to follow the path of forgiveness and healing. That path led me to Pure Homeopathy. I was accepted into the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy in September 2011 and am currently in the Fellowship program. Normally, the Academy only allows board-certified physicians, nurses, and other health-care professionals into their program, but they made a very rare exception in my case. I am a fanatical sock knitter, although I have been known to knit sweaters too. I love beautiful things. I want to pilgrimage to see all Chagall’s stained glass windows. In fact, my dream is to have stained glass windows in my office (someday . . .). My favourite opera is Wozzeck (surprised?). I think David Cronenberg is a Canadian treasure. I love listening to people’s stories, and my highest ambition is to remain in perpetual awe of our innate capacity to heal.
Allegra Stein spent her twenties traveling around having adventures – after college she was in the Peace Corps (Bulgaria, 2000-02), and then moved on her own from her home town of Los Angeles to New York City to join Teach For America. Allegra was a teacher for 5 years and then retired to have her kids. A few years into motherhood she started to explore next steps, discovered coaching, found a mentor whose work really resonated with her, and got her first certification. Since then it’s been a journey of learning, working on building her practice, experimentation, becoming a better coach, trial and error. Allegra’s current focus is in helping driven women slow down so that they can do their greatest work and her preferred way of working with someone is 1:1. “I’m great at coaching — I’d like to be consistently great at the business of coaching.”
Katie Van De Vijver: I’ve always known I was going to do “something good” in the world. I must have inherited it from my grandfather who was constantly trying to help humanity in small and big ways. But what exactly . . . that was pretty unclear.
I volunteered for the Red Cross as an Integration Coach for Refugees, and later for other NGO’s, just to have that sense of contributing. In the meantime I was working in marketing and communication for big corporate oil and tobacco companies, I learned so much about how to market even a bad product and travelled the world for work and pleasure. There was something about the extreme creativity these companies had that intrigued me. The products were less to my interest. Combined with a high level of freedom to do my jobs the way I wanted them to do — including how to fill in my time — that was not such a bad period in my life.
It was when I moved from Brussels to Paris that the man with the hammer knocked at my door . . . after day 2 in my new job as a marketing strategist I knew something huge was missing. I didn’t want to do this work anymore, the feeling and desire to do something good became very strong. Again I reached out to NGO’s, but reason or another, I never got through the whole selection process. I guess it was a ticket to something better for me . . .
I had always been very interested in potential, personal development and psychology, and was doubting if that would be the direction I needed to take. But oh . . . doubt, doubt and fear of leaving my secure life behind were so overwhelming.
When my mum got diagnosed with Alzheimer, MY mind went open and I knew my life was not aligned with me anymore. Without really knowing what direction to go, I took the leap and left corporate work.
I did my first coaching training with Anthony Robbins, followed by Brene Brown courses, online marketing trainings, and read metres of books on personal development. Not really knowing my niche, I gave trainings for expat spouses on how to integrate in a new country (I was one myself); created my own website (twice and took it down . . . twice) but never really got clear on what it really was that I wanted to do with all of this.
Years passed and included a move back Brussels, then to Panama and Mexico, lots of money and time went by without really creating something stable. Or I didn’t know enough yet, or I didn’t have a network, but mostly I didn’t know what I would do.
After having spent a couple of years in the personal development world, I started to miss the creativity — the brainstormings to improve products and services, the brilliant ideas people have . . . I almost gave up on my new career path when one day, I did an akashic record reading. Never had I had such a clear description of what my soul is here to express. In short it has the combination of healing work, bringing people into their potential and improving what already exists. Of course I had to study this modality too ;-) so that I could help others who are so stuck in this search of meaning in life.
Today, in Mexico, I work as as Marketing and Strategic Alliances volunteer for Ashoka, another NGO. While doing this work for free, I just feel that the pieces of my niche are coming more and more together. Improving what already exists in terms of offers and marketing while working with do-gooders (whether these are coaches, social entrepreneurs, yogis, or creative souls who make the world around us a bit prettier). My coaching and healing capacities would help them get over the fears/blocks of getting out there with their work. (Even if that still is a big working point for myself:-/). I see it as a holistic approach to business.
So that’s where I am today, living In Mexico, not knowing for how long, and absolutely understanding that if I don’t act now, why would I act in the future?
Anne Vastel is a 43 years old who always wanted to help and heal people as long as she can remember. Anne started her studies to be a doctor but soon dropped out because it was not how she wanted to practice, too impersonal. She stumbled on herbalism by chance in 2000 and hasn’t stopped studying and loving it since. Anne graduated in 2003 from Flora Medicina school of herbalism in Montreal, QC, and added continuing education on cancer treatment with medicinal plants with Donald Yance in Oregon. Recently Anne studied traditional Chinese medicine, which greatly helps her understand the body and it’s imbalances, and better choose the plants she recommend.
Anne has been practicing (private consultations in herbalism) for 15 years and slowly growing her business. She is very proud of where it is today :)
Anne practices one day a week in Rimouski, the local “big” town, and the rest of the week from home (skype or facetime consults). She teach medicinal plants and traditional Chinese medicine weekends 2-3 times per year in Quebec or in France.
Personally, Anne loves reading, knitting (she’s obsessed!) and she plays the violin – studied in high school but occasionally now. Anne volunteers for the Quebec provincial association guilde des herboristes, and has volunteered (until she moved in another part of Quebec two years ago) at a municipal level and in local associations in her community.
Anne is very perseverant, hard working, committed and very able to take constructive criticism. She knows my strengths and weaknesses, and is willing and curious to know more.
Katharina Zuleger: Born in Munich, Germany 1962 (German native speaker, so my grammar and spelling mistakes are my free giveaway for you!) I studied ecology, worked in forest decline research, and environmental projects. I wanted to save the world. But I went through some serious disillusionments about what was possible at that time. Then I decided to do something that is just fun and became an interior designer and Feng Shui consultant. (I always had a deep love for beauty and colour and collected wallpaper books in kindergarten) I built Feng Shui houses, consulted private people and all sorts of companies on how to be happier and more successful in their rooms. I earned a lot of money and had lots of fun. I really understood the principle of creating something (houses or consultations) which were precious, beautiful, sustainable and soulful. During this time, I discovered that I am an energy tracker. I do this all the time. With people, with forests, with houses, with businesses, with streets, with events. At the same time, I did a lot of training in the therapeutic field, bodywork, meditation, energy work. I was always curious about becoming more fully self realized and self-expressed. I had tons of talents and interests. But I could feel that on a very deep personal level I was holding back. There was a self-doubt, the fear about my spiritual coming out and the fear of betraying my family. I always wrote a lot of stuff (blogs, books, articles) but for a long time my words felt lifeless. They couldn’t travel, connect and have impact. I didn’t have a clue how to overcome this obstacle. Finding my voice was my heroes journey which taught me so much about personal power, my loyalty to my family and the art of separation. I always knew that there would be a time where the focus of my work would shift again and where I would work more directly with the power-issues that keep us from finding our voice. I thought that I was a seasoned entrepreneur (I also had an eco-fashion-label for some years which taught me everything about how not to start a business and how to forgive myself all those investments.) But starting this mentoring business has been a bumpy journey. I did a lot of business trainings, programs and seminar. And I had a lot of sober moments looking at the dark side of copywriting, persuasion, selling, and the whole online world. I had at least 20 moments where I thought about giving up on the idea to run a mentoring business for visionaries. But I can’t drop or stop it. I just know I must follow through. This is the deepest gift I have to share with the world. The interesting thing is, that my love for ecology also had a renaissance and it shows up in the project and people I work with and work for.