Executive Coach but first of all Humanist. We love how Marie presents herself as a professional. Empathy and understanding are at the forefront. We had the chance to gather her story, experience, and what inspires her most in her daily life. Check the full interview.
Marie, what is your area of expertise?
I am a Humanist, executive coach, and heart-based creative leadership expert. I support creative and executive leaders (their teams and organizations) to develop their leadership competencies to play at the top of their game. This is: more consistently acting from their best self, the one that acts is in alignment with their values, emotions, and aspirations for positive & sustainable impact. I do so by means of one-on-one executive coaching sessions, team coaching, workshops, and motivational talks.
As a humanist, my expertise is to deeply comprehend the drivers and reasons for things from a diverse and integrative perspective, at the intersection of multiple disciplines. I have focused my study and research on the crossroads of human values, leadership, and creativity. That is how I became a heart-based creative leadership expert. It has taken me more than 30 years to make sense of the underlying reasons that drive and block us, humans, to play our best game, being and acting from our best selves.
Profound and rigorous understanding is what allows me to be able to explain, teach, coach, and effectively support leadership development and inner growth. I do so by mixing theory and practice, with the human factor at the center and artistry as a strategy. I translate findings into experiences and tools for personal growth, talent development, positive company culture, and positive social impact. This is in fact what I do as an executive coach.
I am an expert in supporting creative leaders to unlock possibilities and accelerate their leadership development. With it unleashing their full potential in resonance with their values and soul purpose. I support them in becoming the best leader they can be while nourishing their joy and inner peace. In this way, they can best contribute with their gifts and talents to build the best possible world.
How did you become a freelance Humanist, Heart-based leadership expert, and executive coach?
Mine has been a journey driven by curiosity and ongoing learning. Freelancing started as a way to be able to continue growing and developing. I soon realized that in fact, that was the best way to serve my clients. Sure the fact that my father was also running his business as a freelancer, helped me understand the pros and cons of it from an early age. I also started working young, in my adolescence, collaborating on different projects and exploring diverse roles. This gave me a taste of what it could be and mean to take on the freelancing adventure. In my early 20s, I had some employee jobs, from which I was able to learn how to be an exceptional freelance. For example how to be able to integrate my freelance service and value within a given project or organization from the moment zero. Also to commit to contributing as their best in-house employee, delivering always above expectations, and making sure that I was leaving a legacy that they could build upon once I was gone.
In my mid 20’s during a discovery period of my life, while intensively traveling around the globe, from San Francisco to Melbourne, from Shanghai to la Toscana, landing and taking off from Berlin and Barcelona, sometimes in the same week, I went back to university. Freelancing allowed for mixing work and study and making the most of both worlds at the same time. At some point, I started hands-on testing everything that I was learning and transforming the way I was working with my clients. Co-creating and experimenting (while holding the breath of some of my clients) with values-driven, purpose-based, and impact-oriented approaches that bought up incredible results.
Since, for the past +16 years, I have been lucky enough to work for and with brave pioneers and innovators with media, technology, arts, and creative and non-profit background, that have intentionally welcomed the practical implementation of my ongoing learning and research process in their organizations and teams. In this way making the most of the power of a win-win and possibility mindset, applying co-creative, co-learning, and working-out-loud strategies.
As a freelance, I realized that some of my unique values were my ability to help others develop their skills and make the most of their talents. I was able to build up highly effective teams even out of conflicting groups of people, and also I was able to solve problems by transforming them into opportunities. That was what made my clients hire me again and again. I reinforced those muscles with formal education and slowly sharpened the focus of my service offering. That is how I end up becoming a freelance Heart-based Leadership Executive Coach.
Through this journey, it has been key to gaining a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, which are my values, what is my purpose, and the impact I want to make in the world with my work. This not only has helped me to better understand my strengths as a professional and to make better choices but also, it has helped my clients to understand my value and why working with me is the best decision to make according to their needs and aspirations.
Recurring clients, word-of-mouth recommendations, referrals, and people seeing my work for other people have ever since supported my professional development and career. My network and my clients, who I consider partners, build up my strategic strength as a professional freelancer.
What do you enjoy the most about being a freelancer?
The possibility to work on different challenges, projects, organizations, and people and exponentially learn from each and every one of them. Yes, being a freelance also requires extra grip and determination. There is uncertainty and nervousness every week, sometimes even every day I am required to do and learn new things, adapt to new needs, and face never seen challenges. That is also what I most love and enjoy, as it keeps me fit, allows me to nourish my curiosity and creativity, and supports my own personal and professional development.
Being a freelancer gives me the freedom to intentionally shape the kind of work I want to do for the kind of clients I love to work with.
What would you be doing instead of freelancing?
I live and navigate my freelancing adventure as an entrepreneurial one. I am a solopreneur and my clients are my impact-building partners. This is to say that when I think of freelancing I see myself as a micro organization that has the ability to be embedded within other organizations to make both of us more strong. I foster high-quality relationships that allow all sides to grow along the way and make the most of available resources, common values, and mutual aspirations and goals.
I am also a long-term driven freelancer, I have been working with some of my clients for more than 20 years. For others, next to my short-term assignments, I have designed and executed projects for mid-term periods of 3 months to 3 years.
Yet if the “diversity and mobility” factors of freelancing were to be out of the equation what will surely stay is the core of what I do: developing creative leaders to play their best game playing from their heart (beyond assumptions and stereotypes). Also, one more fun factor will be included in the sum of it all, it will have to be a diverse global organization contributing to positive human development and peacebuilding in the world.
What are your goals? (Also not professionally speaking)
What moves me personally and professionally is catalyzing human flourishing, supporting people to become the best humans they could be, and contributing to fostering the power of our true humanness in society. I want to partner up with leaders who aspire to lead from their heart, that is their true authentic and conscious self, observing their ethics, emotions, biology, and spiritual nature. Leaders that want to fully show up and understand their unique value and their talents. I most enjoy supporting people that are under high-level integrity pressure and are required to navigate ambiguous and conflicting contexts. Those are the ones that have to be fit for purpose to act under pressure with enhanced clarity and elevated awareness. Able to tap into their inner compass to effectively take fast-paced coherent decisions. I love working with leaders that are required to activate synergetic teamwork and lead high-potential creative teams that must navigate friction, discomfort, and tension to deliver creative, innovative, and high-end effective solutions. Those are leaders that are driven to overcome their limiting beliefs and blind spots because they sense that there is something more to be unlocked that would allow them to deliver top results while also nourishing inner peace. They have a desire for change, growth, and development. They know that the best way to do this starts by being the best version of themselves. Because they in fact aspire to resonate in alignment with their values, purpose, intuition, and creative power. Thriving despite uncertainty, while also generating the best possible impact in the world.
Supporting people to fast-track their journey of transformation and development, in guiding them in the journey to lead from the heart (beyond assumptions and stereotypes), is such a unique privilege.
That is what fulfills me, seeing them unlock their best self and play their best game.
Also, research confirms that the requirements of digitalization and our increasingly complex and fast-changing, brittle, anxious, non-linear, and almost incomprehensible world are “naturally” catalyzing the raise of heart-based leadership.
When things move fast open eyes, open ears, open mind & open heart are the rules of the game. Nowadays curiosity, creativity, presence, self-awareness, empathy, humble confidence, values, courage, resilience, adaptability, intuition, comfort with ambiguity, empowering others, and a personal journey made out of exploration and ongoing learning drive success.
Understanding success also as finding meaning, fulfillment, and self-realization at work. Better understanding what it truly means to lead from the heart is a game-changer for those willing to make a positive impact while growing themselves.
Nowadays I have a double mission that builds up synergetically. On one hand, I aspire to continue developing my heart-based leadership business, keeping it sustainable and thriving, and being able to deliver my best work in collaboration with clients I love while being able to share what I have learned with more and more people.
On the other hand, I have a dream, I envision a world where human values guide our behavior and decision-making. Where the ego does not dominate our relationships. Where we have learned to respect each and everyone, including the planet. A world where we more often are able to find that sense of inner peace and, as a result, our life and society are a reflection of it. Mine is an open vision that includes in it as many other possible visions, so together we can consciously co-create our common peaceful life on planet Earth. Contributing to making that vision a reality is my personal commitment and my driver, that is what I intend to bring to life with my personal and professional contribution every day.
What makes you feel you’re contributing to a better world?
The small, even tiny-big actions of the everyday. Being present to them, observing my intention, sensing their coherence in alignment with my values, vision, mission, and purpose. I like to say that my life is my masterpiece and that we all are artists in residence here on Earth. The most beautiful pigment is made out of high-quality interpersonal relationships. I truly believe that every little gesture counts and builds up the world we live in. The truth is that our future is created in the here and now.
Favorite organization, and why?
I deeply resonate with “peace, dignity, and equality on a healthy planet”, the words of the United Nations to guide the promotion of world peace and social progress. Then I am moved by “We the people” as a principle for shared responsible, conscious, and servant leadership that observes the power of co-creation, co-learning, and diversity. I am also “committed to improving the state of the World”, as the World Economic Forum states. Because I share the belief that “progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change” with the human being at the center while beholding the planet as a living organism. And I am inspired by the B Corp movement to change the rules of the game of our economic system to transform our global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.
I believe a “more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative” system is possible here & now. Because it is my conviction that businesses should bring benefits to all, and work should be a platform for actualizing a meaningful life that nourishes human fulfillment; from an ethical, emotional, biological, and spiritual perspective.
And finally, I am inclined to contribute to organizations that are moved by leadership development such as the Forum of Young Global Leaders shaping the future. Accelerating the development of visionary global changemakers thrills me. I truly believe that every challenge is in fact an opportunity to build a better future and improve ourselves as human beings. Generosity, authenticity, respect, and impact are powerful values that I not only share but aim to promote with my own contribution.
As you can see, leadership development, global impact, and contribution to shaping positive societal transformation for good are at the core and also the common threads that I and those organizations share. This is to say that I aim to contribute to any organization, big or small, mainstream or unconventional, that sees itself as a social agent, aspiring to co-creating the world we live in. Any organization that dares to lead from its values, to grow, and continuously transform itself in pursuing its positive social-impact purpose while also supporting its employee’s growth and development.
The ones that understand that in fact, organizations are organisms made up of the individuals that contribute to fulfilling their mission, vision, and purpose by means of their energy, creativity, and soul aspirations. Any organization that understands that life is made of ongoing change and therefore ongoing learning and development is the way to go to build up the future in the here and now. Because those are the organizations that are consciously creating an impact in the world from the inside out.
Do you want to learn more about Marie?
Do you want to learn more and need support from an executive coach? Connect with Marie at Work for Impact. If you want to share your story as a freelancer, you can reach us at email@example.com.
Read other stories here.