Don’t you feel sometimes that your life has so many facets that is difficult to summarize in a short bio? I do.
I believe in luck and also in hard work. For me, luck is something that happens when you are determined and present in the moment, paying attention to things that surround you and taking chances and leaps of faith when it\’s needed.
All my life I have made decisions that took me to good places, where I would meet the right people and ask for the right questions. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had bad times, it means that if I am present and authentic, my work will speak for myself. Some times I don’t feel like doing something, but I have learned to put a deadline to it and use my magic: Work until it’s done. As Pablo Picasso says: Inspiration does exist, but it has to find you working.
I have always been a very determined person, with a strong personality and a difficult temper. As many teenagers, I went through a very long phase of being unhappy and making others\’ lives difficult. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and really wondered if it was worthy of living it. My grandfather gave me advice, helped me to find a career that I wouldn’t hate (I wanted to be an archaeologist but the only university that offered that was in Mexico city and my family lived in the north of Mexico). We ended up choosing a program in Human Relations that had anthropology and sociology courses. I should say I wasn’t particularly happy about that program, but I didn’t have any better option, so I applied myself to it with the same logic: work until it\’s done.
Back in 1995, my Organizational Development teacher asked us to create a Career and Life Plan. I worked on it, I had some clarity and got an internship with him in a Food Laboratory plant, where he was the Organizational Development Manager. When my internship was coming to an end, I knew that I had to find a job to pay my tuition fees and my student loans. Accepting another internship (although I didn’t required it anymore for credit\’s purposes) took me to a 12 years long career in one of the largest and more important companies in Mexico, in different areas of HR: compensations, organizational effectiveness, organizational development and change management. All of this in parallel with facilitating a spiritual community.
Then in 2000, I got married to an amazing guy, a graphic designer, healer, and change practitioner, and our daughter was born after that. I attended an Organizational Development conference and I was introduced to the founders of The World Café community (Juanita Brown and David Isaacs), a community that promotes conversations about questions that matter. I fell in love with the methodology and the potential for rich and powerful conversations. At the same time, I started to re-discover my roots. I was raised with traditional beliefs that soon started to incorporate the Mexican Healing Art, Curanderismo. I was invited to learn herbology and other folk healing techniques.
Then, major changes came to our lives in a span of a year. The violence of the drug war took unbearable proportions and we decided that it was time to leave Mexico. The organization where
I worked had a major lay-off (I was involved in the process, but my position disappeared, as well), I joined another large organization (Panasonic) and I traveled to San Francisco for a Global Stewardship Dialogue with the World Café Community. This was the first time for me to see the combination of spiritual practices with large group facilitation. I met many practitioners from all over the world (mostly consultants, facilitators and community organizers) and one of them guided me towards the field of Process Consultation. At the time, it seemed like a remote possibility, as the best place where they offered the program was in California.
A couple of months later, our immigration process concluded and we received permanent resident visas for Canada. My husband and I chose Montreal as our new location, as we had been there on vacation a couple of years before. This was the beginning a very difficult transition. Every apartment that we found rejected us because we were not even in Canada yet. One day, I was talking to my colleagues at lunch and mentioned that I was very disappointed because the moving date was approaching and we couldn’t find an apartment. A friendly colleague offered me to contact his sister who lived close to Montreal and ask for her help. And she graciously opened her house to us. And that\’s how I confirmed again that being present and authentic will open a lot of doors.
We sold our possessions and gave away what didn’t fit in the 9 bags of luggage we brought with us. The most difficult part was saying good-bye to our friends, families and pets. But again, determination is an important piece of magic. I got my first job within the next month of my arrival. I had created an online forum for immigrants and asked for help. Someone told me they were looking for Customer Service agents at Monster, the job board, as they were opening their services in Latin America and I had the right combination of skills: HR background, recruitment experience, Spanish, functional English and some French. I have never had a Customer Service job before, but I knew I had to start somewhere. My job was interesting but I knew I needed something else. I started facilitating women groups again, now following the teachings of Jean Shinoda Bolen. Then, one of my circle friends asked me to coach her for a career change, as I had coached executives in the past. I took up the challenge and I have been doing it since 2008.
A client turned into two, and then more people were looking for my support, as they, like me, arrived to a new country and needed to reorient their careers, or reinvent themselves. My next experience is what inspired me to help other people to design their lives with intention: I was promoted to manage the Customer Service and Learning and Development department, and I had to deal with another set of challenges: a role that was not exactly in my background, dealing with difficult people in my team and in the company, balancing a new career with the issues that come with immigration, and the fact that I was also studying a masters\’ degree in Human Systems Intervention. Working through all these issues gave me a different understanding of myself and helped me to learn a new skill: applying Design Thinking to personal change.
When I finished my master degree, I knew I had to leave Monster. My energy was depleted often and I felt I was in the wrong job. I wanted to go back to Organizational Development or Learning and Development, and not a month after I formulated that thought in my mind, I was laid off. I was not ready for that change, but as many other challenges in life, I just needed to deal with it. I spent 2 years reinventing myself, the first part of it, actually re-learning who I was. My consulting and my coaching practice is what kept me afloat. I went to several interviews for roles related to OD, Learning and Development and Change Management as I had experience in those fields, but I had to deal with the challenges of French being my fourth language in a province where the first priority is around that language. I was not willing to go back to an entry level job, with almost 20 years of experience and a masters\’ degree in the field. But most importantly, I felt I was called to do something I truly enjoyed.
While I was looking for a job, I started an aromatherapy company, which has been one of my passions, and then, my husband and I started a consulting company; we got clients who needed support in Social Media, Learning, and Change. As putting my language skills before my talent and career experience wasn’t going to work for me, I realized it was the time to make another change. I used the design thinking skills I learned from my husband, and decided to re-orient my career again. With renewed clarity and hope, I found the perfect job in Toronto, working as a coach and consultant in one of the largest universities in Canada, while trying to change the world, one project at a time.
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