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A powerful experience that worked for me


Let the light shine in!


How to align your reason for being with what you do!

The key in dealing with change? ACCEPTING THAT IT’S PERSONAL...

Read my three insights from two decades of HR experience in a multinational organization

Joana . Magazine 11 € Priceless

Edition 2018


22 Joana . Magazine

Copacabana beach, Brasil


‘This is the life’ Joana . Magazine 33


Special thanks to... Wallace for the love, support and space he gave me throughout this process. My kids & family for being a source of inspiration. My mother, Graca, for her faith, spiritual protection and example of a hard-working woman. My sister, Marina, for her tireless efforts in sharing ideas and reviewing all my writing. John and Tania for being a source of endless wisdom and encouragement. Friends and colleagues for the feedback and motivation… Amelia Irion / Bianca Benoliel / Birgit RotvoldLeenaars/ Dennys Campos / Fabrice Bouchaud / Flavia Araujo / Frans Leenaars / Gabriela Araujo / Gabriela Simoes / Gislaine Braz / Hatem Soliman / John Cummings / Jose Firmo / Julie

I help you explore and discover options so you are motivated

Suel / Laurent de Molliens / Luciana Campos / Marcelo Braz / Maria Alicia Lima / Maria Lorente / Nglan Niat / Paola Mastrolorenzo / Pedro Neiva / Rachel Paget / Rheza Rahim / Richard de Moucheron / Silvia Firmo / Stephanie Reed / Tania Gandamihardja / Ursula Malburg / William Bogue / Zahra Rahimtoola / Zita Rojas

to make choices that move you forward.

And finally, Marieke and Susan for believing in me and helping me explore to find my path.

Interested in making your own magazine? Please contact Marieke through

Joana Araujo Pescarini +33 7 70 03 69 38

44 Joana . Magazine

About getting off autopilot & taking back control Go slow to go fast.

Experiencing change is the story of my life. The changes are many and varied: from losing my father at a young age to moving countries 13 times, having 10 different positions - although in the same company - and becoming a mother. And even in the midst of all this change I was living my life on autopilot. Until life threw a curve ball at me late 2016 and I left the corporate world as I knew it. Work has always been the biggest part of my life. And now I had the opportunity to find the balance I so longed for. This was when I decided to turn off autopilot and take back control, digging deep and steering towards my own path – my ikigai. At the time, I had no idea that I had been handed my life back on a silver platter.

What is the next step on your path?

Engaging in a process aimed at living a more fulfilled and balanced life was tough, uncomfortable and even frustrating at times. It took courage and being vulnerable. It’s about taking the difficult path and going slow to go fast. What I learned along the way I share with you in this magazine - parts of myself, my beliefs and my hopes as I start a new journey, fresh and well-grounded as the CEO of Holyspring Consulting. As I look around me I see so many of my dear friends and co-workers and living on autopilot. We let decisions of many years ago continue to be our guides. But are they still valid? Are these decisions still aligned with who we are and with the type of life we want to lead? When will you reflect and figure out what you really want? When will you take back control and steer towards a future you desire? This is my wish for you – don’t wait for the curve ball, take back control now. You can do it! Joana Magazine is who I am, my wholehearted self…and I share it with you! To inspire you to explore and discover options so you are motivated to make choices that move you forward.

Joana . Magazine 55

Jo ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’ R. W. Emerson

66 Joana . Magazine

In this



You live, you learn My lifeline


Stories of my life

My ikigai


may be the answer

12 15



according to Insights Discovery

16 18

Dealing with change a personal matter Column

Oh, the places you’ll go...


helping shape who you are


through different eyes

How involved are you?

26 30


Help people thrive



What you can call me for? Advertisement

38 Joana . Magazine 77

You live, you learn...

A TIME TO EXPLORE A scholarship of Globo TV gave me the chance to fulfill one of my father’s wishes: for his daughters to attend university abroad. I moved to California and studied Business with an HR minor at Pepperdine University.


setting! I worked hard. In one summer term studying in Florence, I learned Italian,


explored Europe, and experienced the most enriching moments of my young age. In


1973 FUN AND WARM CHILDHOOD I was born in Rio de Janeiro, in 1973. I spent my childhood with my 3 sisters (Gabriela, Flávia and Marina), lots of neighborhood friends and relished sunny days at the beach. My parents were both journalists and had a busy professional and social life. My nanny, Ledilce (Lelê), considered a family member, was an important part of my life and later of my children’s as well. Born near the end of a dictatorship in Brazil, followed by a democratic regime, early in life I learned about politics and religious diversity.

1995 I graduated. A journey of self-discovery had

LIVING OVERSEAS: THE STORY OF MY LIFE My international life started at age 11 when we moved to New York. As the only Latin family in my school in Scardale we had to adapt to a new way of living and relating to others. This taught me resilience. Three years later, after my father’s assignment as Globo’s TV international correspondent in NY ended, we returned to Brazil.

23 December 1987


1989 LETTING GO: A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE My mother decides to move to restart life, probably one of the best decisions she made for herself and us. Letting go of the old neighborhood was hard but good. My focus shifted to my studies and school friends. I got into the National Honor Society. The American Catholic School was where we made lifetime friends, played volleyball, and as the captain of the team I started to learn about leadership and team work.

THE BIG BLUE JOURNEY Schlumberger, my first real job became my # 1 priority. Facing challenges and sense of responsibility became my motivators. After almost two years working in Brazil, I got my first international posting in Paris, then in Luanda, Angola working in all West Africa. I took the challenge and could not have made a better decision! My first perception: you don’t need language to communicate; you need willingness. And to believe in the innate goodness of people. 1996

NEVER TO FORGET: CONNECT AND EMPATHIZE A night before Christmas, my father died in a car crash at age 44, at the height of his career as a reporter. At the age of 14 my world collapsed. We were all devastated. The work of E. KluberRoss and B. Weiss helped me cope with this great loss over the years. Connection and empathy – these were my father’s great lessons.


















I married my match in 2003. Wallace was also part of the SLB family. We


found out that a dual international career would be challenging. It takes active communication and willingness to compromise. In 2004 we moved to Venezuela, lived in a small city away from the capital, but in a Golf Course Condo. The social reality beyond the walls we lived in moved me. I worked remotely and struggled with my work-life balance. Building strength to beat the odds helped me add value and finalize an important pioneer Competency Management

DISCOVERING UNCONDITIONAL LOVE Lucas was born in 2005 in Rio. Pure connection, love and total vulnerability. Three years later Maria Julia completes our family. All nature forces represented: air, water, fire and earth. Joana, Lucas, Wallace & Maria Julia.

A NEW JOURNEY: FRESH AND WELL-GROUNDED We move back to Paris, in 2016, the place where I was first assigned to in the beginning of my career, but this time for me without Schlumberger. A tough separation after 20 years. Nevertheless, I embrace a new and amazing journey exploring my WHY, my purpose and what will be my contribution going forward. My own company is born. Holyspring Consulting!

project, nine months pregnant.

AROUND THE WORLD: TRUST IS THE KEY My new assignment in Porto, Portugal was hard both personally and professionally. I came to the conclusion that trust is one of the key factors in relationship management. Fortunately, I succeeded and got promoted to be the HR Manager for a newly acquired SLB business in Houston. Soon that transitioned into a very stretching assignment into a technical Training & Development role. I wondered how I was going to cope. Surprisingly, it turned out to be my longest and most enjoyable assignment. 1999





2006 IN MY REGION I took on the role of Latin America Recruiting, Training & Development Manager. Finally working for my own region. But the challenges of everyday life in Venezuela were getting more and more frustrating. Sadly, despite having met great people and made good friends, I admit that after 3 years I was ready to leave.





THE FARTHEST AWAY YET A THRIVING EXPERIENCE We move to Dubai, where Wallace takes a VP role for SLB. So proud! I become the HR Manager for Middle East and Asia. I thrived on the challenge. I was actively involved in operational business decisions and loved it! Although I enjoyed the hot weather, nice house and running at a beautiful beach, I found it odd to live in complete isolation from the local culture. Too limited time for myself and my family makes me decide to take a personal leave. It did not last long…3 months!




LEAVING MY FOOTPRINT: THE UTTERMOST CHALLENGE After 4 years in Dubai, we move to Paris. I joined the HR Headquarter team and was constantly challenged by a brilliant yet tough manager to work for. First time working in HR for HR…what a pleasure! In 2015 Wallace takes his 1st President role in Mexico…even prouder! And there we go.




Nappa Valley, CaliforniĂŤ, eigen foto



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of my life


Vulnerability One night, around summer 1998, I was coming back late from the office in Luanda and my car got stuck in a huge pot hole, which I couldn’t see due to the water from the rain. As I looked to my whereabouts I realized I was exactly in front of a very big slum in the middle of the city. My heart started beating faster and I obviously started getting a bit anxious. Luanda was not a very safe place and I was not in a very safe part of town, but until that moment I had never felt exposed there. Soon, many kids and young teenagers started surrounding the car. Since I spoke Portuguese I figured I would get out of the car to get help, but that instant a more senior man came into my car, sat on the passenger seat and in a soft and polite tone told me not to get out. For a moment, I thought the worst would happen, but what followed come to me as a surprise.

It pays off to believe in the innate goodness of people!

The man then got out again, started to coordinate all the children and in a blink of an eye they were all pushing my car out of the pot hole… I was amazed, what could I have done to earn that? Humbled by their act, I then gave the man the money I had on me – the only way I found to show my gratitude - and he distributed amongst all of them. The children were delighted and I blessed by all those big smiles and expressive eyes looking at me. And who said guardian angels don’t exist?

Old World

Back in my university days, I was accepted as part of a group to take the summer term in Italy. The campus was like a big family villa set just outside the center of Florence. There we would sleep, study and savor the most traditional dishes in Italian cuisine. Although we travelled most of the weekends around Italy, once the summer term was over I had not had enough of Europe yet. My mother then agreed to finance a one-month backpacking tour around Europe - the best present she could give me. Myself, an American and a Croatian friend set-off with an Eurail pass and some change to continue exploring the OLD world. We were on a journey to see every art piece, monument and place time (and money) would allow. The feeling of amazement continued to repeat itself, from when I first saw Michelangelo’s David, Picasso’s Guernica, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Monet’s Water Lilies, and so much more... That was when I first set my eyes upon the Eiffel Tower, to me an iconic symbol of what great minds can accomplish. Back then I would never have guessed that later on in life I would have the pleasure to have it so near, so often. And no matter how many times I see it, the tower never seizes to fill me with astonishment. During that summer, I woke up to a world of art and history. It is the best recollection of my university years and the most enriching experience of my youth.

When I was young, the first thing my sisters and I would do after waking up was to check if it was sunny out. Yes, it would be a splendid weekend, I often thought, as my hometown was so blessed with good weather. And there was no question of where the day would be spent. Within a few minutes we would meet family and friends at the beach. Not much organizing was needed as the Cariocas usually have a favorite beach spot they usually go to, and this may not change for their entire lifetime.

But what the beach taught me at a very early age was to share... space, toys and time. No matter how packed, there is always room for one more. It is the one place where you sit side by side to a complete stranger and feel entirely comfortable. Parents look after all the kids within their view. And despite all the mischief in the world, if you want to go for a walk you can ask almost anyone to look after your belongings. It is where I was brought up and luckily where a sense of community works at its best.

White sand, blue sky, clear ocean and tough waves where my companions. At the beach in Rio, I experienced all the growing stages…from just sitting in an inflatable pool filled with salted water as a baby, to being thrilled for taking my first steps into the sea, and later to actually going for a real dive. I learned endless tricks out there in touch with nature. The first was to stretch myself and rub my belly on the sand underwater to avoid the strong waves from dragging me.

From a playground in my childhood, to a meeting point during my teenage years, a getaway to socialize during vacations and more recently a The beach.. place to reflect and relax, the beach is part where of my essence. Over the last 20 years I have a sense of only lived near it for 4 years. Nevertheless, community the beach continues to be my NIRVANA, works a haven of complete serenity where I at its best contemplate my vulnerability in light of the power and strength of the sea, it depends.

n the beach

Joana . Magazine 11 11

Why Holyspring!? When I decided to venture into consulting coming up with a name was very stimulating! Although I knew I did not want anything with my name on it, I did want something that reflected who I am and where I come from. After weeks of deep thinking, no, I didn’t come up with the name Holyspring… suddenly it came to me intuitively. I rescued it from my most precious memories of the summer vacations I spent in the Amazon region at my godmother’s beach villa. She is the most tender person I know and used to call me “Holyspring Jo Jo Jo”. Holyspring goes all the way back to the roots of my character. It simply felt right.

I help you explore and discover options so you are motivated to make choices that move you forward. 12 12 Joana . Magazine

My Ikigai


Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a “reason for being”. According to Japanese culture everyone has an ikigai. Finding your ikigai requires a deep search of self which can often be a lengthy process. The cultural belief is that your ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life. Before creating Holyspring Consulting I embraced the search for my ikigai and found that what my passion, mission, profession and vocation have in common is that people’s development are at the heart of it.

What I Love Helping people My family & friends Sense of accomplishment Connecting with others

Inspiring people


Mission Altruism


Happier people

Generating ideas & solutions


Exploring alternatives





What the world needs

What I’m good at


Coaching Leadership development Enhance individual & team performance Development of learning solutions

What I can get paid for Joana . Magazine 13 13

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At the age of 25, single, far from my family and full of expectations I went to live in Angola. I knew it would be a challenge, but having come from a developing country how tough could it be? Back then I thought I knew what poverty was. Expat life in Luanda was good, great restaurants, lovely people, nice hotels, big homes, but all of that seemed very luxurious after what I saw on my way to and from work on a daily basis. It was like I had had my eyes shut and they were now open to seeing beyond my world. Despite the enormous contrasts, there was an intriguing joy amongst the Angolan people. “How can that be?” I repeatedly asked myself. Had they experienced something even worse? I never found the answers, but I figured something powerful for the rest of my life: perspective. Maybe their conditions seen through my filters, my point of view and my judgement was worse than from theirs. The moment I let go of my convictions, I started to enjoy living in Africa and having short working trips around the region. Next thing I knew, I was making friends and truly having a great time over the weekends with a fun group of people at an amazing nearby beach in Luanda. The differences shortened and their cultural richness became so worth exploring to me that the year and a half flew by. After my assignment was over, that challenging reality became more of a source of endless lessons. One of them is that:

Light shines in different ways when looking at an issue from different angles…if there is no light in a given situation maybe you have just not looked at it from all perspectives.

Joana . Magazine 15 15

Joana according to



Inspiring Versatile


What yellow says about Joana Joana is someone who radiates goodwill and motivates others with her contagious enthusiasm. She is optimistic about life and human potential in particular. She is noted for her innate ability to inspire and encourage others around her and has excellent interpersonal skills. She is an imaginative and creative visionary who is a source of inspiration to most. She is inventive, independent and can be extremely perceptive of the potential contained within the views of others.

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Thrives on challenges Driven


What red says about Joana Joana’s vivid imagination constantly pushes her towards turning her ideas into reality. She is able to combine social expertise within her normally assertive behavior. Energetic and gregarious, her intuition heightens her insight and vision, while her natural curiosity for new ideas brings new and fresh ways of thinking when working in groups. She enjoys talking through ideas with people to promote decision making.

Living and learning‌. Me on a bad day? I can get bored quickly and ignore details in my desire to move on to more exciting things.

Me on a good day? I generate more ideas, possibilities and plans in one day than others might manage in a month!

Joana . Magazine 17 17


What I have found to be key in dealing with change?

is whether you have been involved in creating the change or not. 18 18 Joana . Magazine


DEALING WITH CHANGE A PERS ONAL MATTER Experiencing changes is the story of my life. Whether good or bad, it simply has been that way. The changes are many and varied: from losing my father at a young age to moving countries 13 times, having 10 different positions - although in the same company - and becoming a mother.

reality of his absence. I learned that people go through a process when experiencing a loss, the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This was a big “ah-ha” moment in my life! I could finally cope with all the mixed feelings I had.

People often say how very fortunate I am to have such a rich multicultural life experience. However, does it really make me happier or luckier than someone who has not yet experienced a significant change? Moreover, isn’t the meaning and impact of “significant change” personal and relative as well?

Although change has been a constant in my life, it was not until a couple of years ago when I became involved in an organizationwide transformation project that I came across Elisabeth’s work again. This time her “five stages of grief” had been adapted to an organizational change curve composed of 4 stages: denial, resistance, exploration and commitment. Initially, I struggled with the idea of a grieving curve being adapted to a universal notion of how people go through change. Does it mean that people’s first reaction to change is always negative? Why is denial the first stage? Conflicting thoughts struck me.

“The more changes you go through, the better you become at handling them” is not such a true statement. The way I experienced and dealt with each of the changes have been unique in its own way. At times, I surprised myself responding to an unexpected change in a positive and practical manner. But I have also been overwhelmed with different emotions and hesitation over changes that seemed rather normal (to my normalcy standards – obviously). However, I will say that the more change people experience the more they learn about themselves. Consequently, I began to see a pattern in terms of how I dealt with them. The biggest and most challenging change I faced was my father’s sudden death when I was only 14 years old. I dealt with it as best as I could, but had no idea how to even begin handling and adapting to what had happened. However, life went on and it was during my university years that I found myself trying to process this great loss again. With the help of an HR Values professor I progressed a bit more toward acceptance. Later in life I came across the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and it was when I really started to come to terms with the

The more I observed people’s reactions to change, whether distant or near, personal or professional, the clearer it became that everyone deals with it in their own particular way, depending on their perspectives and world view. And while I thought that people’s reaction would be different depending on whether the change was expected or unexpected or good or bad, the real difference to how they reacted was dictated by whether they had been involved in creating it or not. Now it all started to make more sense. Change is not something people always deny nor is it something people quickly commit to. Change is personal. The idea of a new reality that we did not create, despite if good or bad, triggers emotions that need to be overcome before we can start rationalizing on what the change really means.

Joana . Magazine 19 19

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. -Mahatma Gandhi-


Oh, the places you’ll go...every bi Czech Republic 1994

Paris, France

1994, 1998-1999, 2012-2015,2016- NOW

Bahrain & Qatar 2010

Houston, USA 2001-2004

Italy 1994

Malibu & LA, USA 1991 -1995

Spain 1994

New York, USA

Oporto, Portugal

1984 -1987


Hawaii 1999




Curacao 2005


Guatamala 1993

Abidjan, Ivory Coast 1999

Quito, Ecuador 2002

Maturin, Venezuela

Douala, Cameroon

Lima, Peru

2004 - 2008



Colombia, Bogota 2002

Port of Spain, Trinidad Tobago

Buenos Aires, Argentina 1990


Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

1973-1984, 1987-1992, 1995-1997

Point Noir, Congo 1998

The places I’ve lived in

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Luanda, Angola 1998 - 1999


it that shaped me Dubai, UAE Abu Dhabi Germany 1994

2009 - 2011

Austria Switzerland


Cairo, Egypt Damman, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2009



Noyabrsk, Russia


Islamabad, Pakistan




Greece 1994

Netherlands 1994

Sweden 1994

Bejing, China 2003

Damascus, Syria 2011

Bangkok, Thailand 2003

Singapore 2012

Jakarta, Bali, Balikpapan, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Kuwait 2010


Oman 2010

Australia, Perth & Adelaide

Maldives 2000

Colombo, Sri Lanka



Khartoum, Sudan 2010

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea Capetown, South Africa Mexico




Malaysia 2010

Port Gentil, Gabon 1998

Travelling It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller -Ibn Battuta23

This is me too...

Jazz Samba Wine lover Dog owner Beach lover Gourmand Class Mum Long walks Pasta lover OLM alumni Godmother Family meals Expert mover Cat 3 member Açaí aficionada Brigadeiro lover Lifeguard in Uni Awful selfie taker Frescobol player Spaghetti vongole Learning from TED Weak spot for bags Hot stone massage Michael Jackson fan Scarf it for some color School Volleyball player Recovering perfectionist Backpacking in Europe Afternoon chocolate bite Soon to be certified coach Meticulous suitcase packer Cuddle in bed with my kids Carsick if riding on the back Non-existent before coffee

Hot over cold weather anyday Catch-up on movies on flights Ipanema beach regular at youth Can’t go wrong with Black White Gray Love a quiet cafe latte on the weekend Walker, wannabe runner gone back to walking Simétrica :-)

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Joana. through different eyes


She has always thrown herself into new experiences with no fear;


Since she was little, she has never accepted injustice and always stood up for what was right, wanting to protect and embrace the less favored.


In the last few years, she has turned into someone with fair points of view, evaluating different sides of whatever issue, thinking before talking, and being generous in her statements.

Maria Alicia Lima Peralta VP Legal United Health Group Brazil and childhood friend, Brazilian

How not to love a friend like this? Tania Gandamihardja HR Director, Schlumberger, friend, Indonesian, Thai, British

A smart cookie Very articulate Generous and kind Beautiful Funny Warm Optimistic Supportive


You are someone with whom it is always a pleasure to work with and collaborate because you keep a positive and constructive approach. Open to new ideas, willing to explore and venture into new territory.

“PEOPLE PERSON” Fabrice Bouchaud HR Director Schlumberger ex-boss and friend, French

You are undoubtedly and genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of people around you and committed to supporting them. This transpires in getting people to open-up to you and collaborate willingly with you.


are always striving to find solutions and build You keep You things that “can work” and “can last”. a positive and constructive approach

26 26 Joana . Magazine


I once took a course that you facilitated with Matty and immediately, I found that your style of communication and the eloquence with which you communicate stood out. You are able to communicate complex ideas in a manner that is easy to understand even for those who have little experience with the subject matter. This was further confirmed when working with you on the Keystone Project.

Zahra Rahimtoola HR Manger Great HR potential! Pakistani, Canadian


This was clear during our time working on the Keystone Project. You had the idea of taking the linear program and converting it to the dynamic degree-like structure that it is today with different “courses”. This was a very creative way to organize the program. You are able to draw on your past experiences and resources to creatively solve todays problems.

You engage and excite others to do their best


I think this is your strongest trait. Your style of leadership calls to action and allows for your team to feel comfortable expressing their feelings without hesitation. I also felt that you employed a great deal of mentorship in your style of leading. I felt that you genuinely cared about your team and that you wanted each of us to flourish and learn during our time with you. Your management style was catered to each of us. You had a different way of managing Olivier, as the project manager, and a different way of managing each of us on the team. All of us felt that you provided us with due attention and regular communication so we could do our jobs well.

ARE PASSIONATE I know you only asked for three but I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention how your passion for what you do drives the above. Because of your enthusiasm and love for your job, you are able to engage and excite others about doing their best.



Hatem Soliman President Schlumberger Friend, Egyptian

You have a natural ability to connect and engage with a wide range of people INFECTIOUS PERSONALITY

Whenever Joana enters a room people are immediately drawn to her. She has a natural ability to connect and engage with a wide range of people and this is especially noticeable in a training environment where her warm personality quickly connects with the students enabling them to participate fully in the class right from the start.


I have witnessed this trait in Joana so many times over the years I had the pleasure of working with her. For every project she has the task of comple

ting she approaches it in a thorough and methodical way ensuring all bases are covered, all options are explored - including cost benefits, and any outcome is aligned to the objectives set at the start of the project.


Without doubt this is another of her key strengths. She works tirelessly to achieve her goals and many cases going the extra mile. She is very supportive of her team and colleagues and always makes time to encourage them to succeed in what they are doing.

John Cummings Facilitator, mentor and friend British

Joana . Magazine 27 27

Yosemite parc, eigen foto


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A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions -Oliver Wendell Holmes-

Joana . Magazine 29 29



Two decades in a multi-national organization Over the last 20 years of my career, I lived in 8 different countries, from South America to North America and Europe to the Middle East. I travelled to over 45 countries and held 10 different HR positions. Throughout this journey, I had the privilege of living in different cultures, meeting people and making friends from a diverse background as well as experiencing many facets of the Human Resources (HR) function. I was fortunate to have roles in front line HR Management, currently referred to as Business Partner, Compensation & Benefits, Training & Development, Recruitment, Talent Management and Career Planning. Progressing from transactional roles to more strategic positions and expanding my reach from core function to business related roles has taught me a great deal. However as one moves up the career ladder the complexity of scope and mission that come with greater responsibilities tend to increase, and the real tough task is to keep it simple, keep it real and not to lose sight of the overall purpose. At every transition, I was constantly absorbed by the will of making a difference in some way. Naturally coming from a function that for many years battled with the question “does HR have a seat at the - top management - table?” I often struggled with the idea that HR was the keeper of the people values of an organization, as in my view humanity is everyone’s responsibility. An engaged workforce is not only about people being happy, but about people being more efficient, cooperative and productive.

30 30 Joana . Magazine



Good leaders foster healthy relationships at work Managers often believe that they are in a better position to define what is best for their employees’ careers. Despite our best intentions and desire to see people develop into bigger and better roles, this can be a trap. I’ve fallen into it and so have many of my peers in management roles. But why? One may think they know their employees, their goals, their ambitions and especially what they do well, but the reality is that people’s desires and circumstances can change at a pace that it is tough for a manager to keep up. A manager’s unilateral decision might not take into account key aspects of an employee’s life that are crucial for their career success. It is important to understand well the employee’s level of engagement in terms of their contribution to the success of the organization and their own level of satisfaction derived from their job. Over the years, I noticed that relationship is key. Healthy relationships enable alignment between managers and employees to maximize the possibility of a successful career move. In fact, studies support the idea that managers with healthy relationships at work are more effective at developing their employees. Everyone values being able to speak openly with their managers, especially when they are unsure of their next step. Managers who pursue promotions or job changes that are driven by business requirements as well as employees’ skills, interests and aspirations, tend to improve engagement, build trust and increase performance within their teams.

Manager involvement in Training & Development is critical to boost employee performance Over my career, I had the pleasure of experiencing training from 3 different angles. The first is from a receiving perspective as a young HR employee; second from a buying (or contracting) perspective in roles such as Career Planning and Training & Development; and finally, from a delivering perspective, facilitating soft skills and leadership

courses over the last 5 years. While this next point might seem obvious, its application is more complicated than expected. Have you ever sent an employee to a training program to reward them for a job well done, or a successful project or even because you wanted to keep him/her engaged? Have you ever felt that you did not reap the benefits of such an investment with better performance or increased engagement? Learning does not always lead to better employee and organizational performance. Let me share with you a few thoughts on why. First, is the need for alignment between what is being considered and the actual needs of the employee and organization. Instead of asking what training courses are out there, we should ask what are the performance and skill gaps we need to address and what are the best means of addressing these gaps. Training might be just one of the options. One surprising statistic I came across from a study* is that more than 50% of all Learning and Development (L&D) programs lack relevance to an employee’s day to day work. No wonder cuts in L&D are typically some of the first we see when times get tough. In short, a thorough needs/ gap analysis must be carried out so that the solution will translate into improved performance. The second thought is that motivation to learn does not translate into motivation to apply. There are two factors that can impact an employee’s willingness to convert theory into practice; program design and manager involvement. When choosing a training program, priority should be given to those which have been designed with a high application focus. Meaning that not only does it cater to different types of learning preferences, but it also employs learning methods that gets the learner to practice as part of the learning process itself i.e. experiential learning - learning by doing. Moreover, a program design should encourage the learner to commit to changes to be adopted once back in the work environment. Which leads us to the role of the manager. Managers play a crucial part in encouraging, supporting and even facilitating the application of learning. There are several ways they can help this process, from defining

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key objectives associated with application of learning, to creating an environment where change is stimulated, or through recognition of improved performance as a consequence of learning. For it to be translated into better performance, managers need to be fully committed to making it happen and support the learner throughout the process as well as give due consideration to the return-oninvestment ensuring its effectiveness on the individual, the team and the organization’s performance.

Is there an ideal Talent Development model? Talent management is likely the most analyzed topic in the HR world with a wide range of opinions, models and case studies to be explored. One could argue – and I would - that rightfully so, as many elements influence its success or failure. From an organization’s values, to financial health, to its social DNA, talent management is far from a one size fits all and what could work wonders in one enterprise can also fail drastically in another. I have, however, observed a few constants in successful models. The first is that while HR has an important role to play, talent management is owned and driven by the leadership and management team. Ownership translates into leadership teams ensuring talent management practices are an integral part of their corporate strategy and managers are personally accountable for developing talent for their business. One word of caution is the need to encourage identification of truly new talent as opposed to familiar or “like-minded” individuals. On the same token, reward should go to creativity as opposed to conformism or compliance. The second constant is that people, not process, are at the center of this continuous cycle. It is easy to get lost into the statistics, especially in organizations where there is an entire department behind the talent management efforts, but simplicity and people focus is what will drive results. Although the model and process are important enablers, in my view what makes a successful talent management practice are the people and how well equipped they are to have conversations to balance the future needs of the organization and the needs of the employees. Organizations which are successful at managing talent, tend to respect and consider employees abilities, interests and aspirations as well as their personalities when aligning the various steps of this cycle with the business needs.

The third point is that Talent Management starts with an organization’s recruiting practice. Talent management differs from one enterprise to another, but it generally involves job assignment and learning & development a performance enabler, talent identification as a result of performance management which feeds into career planning and takes us back to the beginning of the cycle. An organization’s quality of recruits and the ability to retain them are the primary enablers of this cycle. A solid pipeline will drive the ability to promote from within, offer employees career opportunities and manage its talent needs.


Managing people is at the heart of all leaders’ commitment. For some this comes naturally, while for others this represents their biggest challenge. This dichotomy could be explained by differences in personalities and preferences as suggested by the works of Carl Jung from decades ago. He categorized people into four types of psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition, expressed in the forms of introversion or extraversion. Fortunately, today a person’s psychological type no longer delineates the boundaries of their reach as there are several instruments and tools aimed at bringing awareness to one’s preference and improving their shortcomings and blind spots. One could start by reflecting on where they stand with their emotional and social intelligence. Pondering on the 3 insights I shared here






*Note: A 2013 CEB study on Bridging the Gap Between Learning and Application

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Nothing beats the speed of trust Stephen Covey




TED recommendations This TED Talk really touched me with its powerful message that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. It is that simple.

I found Yves Morieux talk on the challenge of simplification to be very entertaining and representative of how many feel about all the complexity in the workplace nowadays.

As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify

h t t p s : / / w w w. t e d . c o m / t a l k s / y v e s _ morieux_as_work_gets_more_complex_6_rules_to_simplify

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_ happiness

I was drawn by how Dan Pink makes a case, with scientific data, supporting the idea that extrinsic motivators can actually hinder performance and narrow focus for problems requiring cognitive skills. It really challenged the way I perceived how reward and motivation works.

The puzzle of motivation

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INSPIRING This is a stimulating video about how we measure progress and 5 ways to wellbeing. I loved the introduction where Nic Marks’ criticizes how the environmental movement gets attention and how he uses one of Robert Kennedy’s quote to make his point. The surprise factor was the Happiest country on earth.

I like Chip Conley’s take on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applied to business (Survival, Success and Transformation) and the idea of introducing a measure of society’s success more focused on what really matters, i.e. GNH (Gross National Happiness).

Measuring what makes life worthwhile The Happy Planet Index the_happy_planet_index#t-125 what_makes_life_worthwhile#t-1040622

Eye opener: It was through Simon Sinek’s model that I started seeing the importance of finding my why - my meaning in life - to then guide my plan forward.

How great leaders inspire action

I was humbled by this emotional story of someone being deprived of freedom and finding ways of staying alive. how_great_leaders_inspire_action

What six years in captivity taught me about fear and faith what_six_years_in_captivity_taught_me_about_ fear_and_faith#t-1040 Joana . Magazine 35 35


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HELP PEOPLE THRIVE Over the years, one clear and common outcome I’ve seen, as a result of coaching, is the personal and professional growth of the many of individuals who embraced the idea of partnering with a coach to tackle their goals. The work of coaches, their extraordinary ability to connect, listen and use thought provoking questions towards a desired result have been extremely inspiring. As I learned more about the techniques I started building it into the way I approached conversations with family, friends and colleagues where I felt that my advice was not what they were seeking, but for someone to help them find their own answers. Still, it was after having personally experienced the power of coaching that I figured that was what I wanted to be able to do for others. And as I reflect on my IKIGAI – reason for being – what better way to help people see what they can be and make choices to move them forward? In a pursuit to qualify myself to coach individuals and help organizations embrace a culture of coaching for their employees, I engaged in an extensive research for a program which would build on my background and enable my aspirations. The Columbia Coaching Certification Program was the perfect match. Through a partnership between Teachers College and Columbia Business School, the program combined two important features to give me a solid foundation for this professional practice – the business application and the research based insights from academic aspects of adult learning and leadership theories.


ICF definition

I’m now open, willing and ready to engage in this process to help people see what they can be and reach their potential.

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What you can call me for? I motivate restless professionals to achieve personal & career goals by inspiring them to explore and discover.



ORGANIZATION. I help organizations thrive through greater people engagement and team performance.

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xecutive coaching

uild up individual & team performance


hange Management

lign HR and business strategies


esign & Deliver Learning Solutions

Foster coaching culture Create talent development plans Leadership Development

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Dare to be different, dare to be you

Joana magazine  

How do you deal with change? Read about Joana and her perspective in Joana magazine.

Joana magazine  

How do you deal with change? Read about Joana and her perspective in Joana magazine.