Meet the March 2019 FWA Member of the Month and see what she is doing in the Financial community.
Please tell us about your FWA journey so far!
I joined the FWA about 2 years ago after someone mentioned the organization to me. I decided to find out more about the FWA online and applied!
When I joined, I wanted to get involved very quickly because I believe it’s the best way to network and get more visibility. After a call with Ria Davis (Executive Director) and Nina Batson (Executive Vice President), I became Co-Chair for the Distinguished Speakers Committee, and later for the Executive Speakers Committee.
My experience as Co-Chair has been very fulfilling so far: It has given me more visibility as a speaker at events and additional contacts that help expand my coaching business. For example, I ran a workshop for members focusing on Distinctive Uniqueness and spoke at two closing sessions of the Wall Street Exchange Summer Program as well as another event during the first year, and I have also been offered several speaking opportunities at financial institutions by FWA members, which eventually resulted in private coaching clients from those firms.
How does your focus on your Powerful Leadership Transformation (PLT)TM benefit professionals in the financial services industry?
In the United States, my observation is that women in finance enjoy my content because it focuses on an Empowering Mindset, Distinctive Uniqueness and a Body-Conscious Presence. These concepts are not usually brought up at work. That being said, women understand how these concepts relate to their working environment and how they benefit them to drive their careers. In addition to my own IP, I also added Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ)® to my repertoire. It’s a powerful tool for leaders to navigate more successfully through team conversations, and for anyone to upgrade their negotiation competence.
Your clients aren’t only located in the United States, right?
That’s correct. I’ve worked with professionals in Latin America, Europe, Asia (last year, I conducted a Women’s Leadership Workshop in Qatar), and particularly in Africa (mostly in Ghana, Cameroon and South Africa so far). What I have found is that professionals in Africa have a big appetite for transformational learning, which has been extremely gratifying. Women in some of these regions have traditionally very strong roles with the family. Therefore, they have a lot of influence on their children and they pass their own transformation on to them. It’s also been wonderful to speak to several young men who very proactively work for female advancement in several African countries, especially for women entrepreneurs. They understand the need to stand up for the women in their countries and create real opportunities for them, which of course will also benefit their communities and economies.
You grew up in Germany: What brought you to NYC?
The diversity of the city!
I grew up in a small village in Germany and didn’t travel much as a kid. As farmers, my parents never took vacation. However, I was always very curious and moved to Munich to study. After graduating as a Translator and Interpreter with a specialization in Economics, I joined The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and was attracted to the international career opportunities. I got an assignment to manage their office in Spain (and learned Spanish) and later helped them open their Lisbon and São Paulo offices. For several years, I was in charge of both the Madrid and Lisbon offices, for which I also studied Portuguese.
I then had a short stint in Argentina, where I worked for a BCG alumnus in 2000/2001 and left Buenos Aires for BCG’s San Francisco office because of the Peso crisis.
I really enjoyed my time in Argentina and wanted to go back. So, after spending 3.5 years in San Francisco, I packed my bags and opened a bed and breakfast in Buenos Aires. Over the years, I also translated ten books on Argentine Tango. My next station was Rio de Janeiro, where I owned a dance & wellness studio because of my passion for dance and holistic healing. After a ‘not so pleasant’ experience with a business partner, I decided to close the company and return to the USA. I had visited NYC in the past and loved its diversity. I settled in Harlem (my favorite neighborhood) and the rest is history!
What did you learn from your entrepreneurial projects overseas?
I learned a bunch about the process of opening a business overseas, the overwhelming bureaucracy in certain countries and the corruption behind it. Regardless of the situation, I always stayed true to my values. This sometimes came at a high cost; however, I am glad that I stuck with them.
The other lesson I learned was around partnerships in business. I had to close my business in Rio de Janeiro due to a trust issue with my partner, which cost me a lot of money and my (then) dream. I left Brazil with very low self-esteem and had to pick myself up from the very bottom. That’s when I decided to take responsibility for everything, step into a self-empowering mindset, and do some deep soul searching. I reflected on what my “next chapter” should be. I had rich, eclectic corporate and entrepreneurial experience on five continents. How could I integrate all of this into a meaningful business, which could make a real impact, while being aligned with my passion and purpose? It was around that time when I discovered my passion for inclusiveness, female advancement and diverse leadership. This led to the creation of my business Transform Your Performance and my framework Powerful Leadership Transformation (PLT)TM and eventually to my PLT certification program. And while I was still reinstating my self-confidence and figuring everything out and building my network, I had to come up with some tools that helped me prepare for challenging situations like networking, pitching and speaking in front of audiences. These are the tools that I later compiled in my book Speak Up, Stand Out and Shine (Amazon).
Who is a source of inspiration and strength in your life and why?
I recently wrote a chapter for a book on mentors, where I explained that I never really had a unique role model. However, in a very special way, my dad was my mentor and a source of inspiration. He always had a strong connection with Nature, and he loved adventures and traveling (of which he never could do enough as a farmer who also worked a job “on the side”). He was a very warm-hearted and inclusive man. At our home, everyone was welcome, which at the time I took for granted, but later came to see as a great privilege.
What are the words you live by?
- Life is a dance, dance is life
- Be curious
- Re-invent yourself
- Greatness is not for the realistic
- Conformity is the enemy of creativity
Do you have any book to recommend our FWA community?
In the past, I learned so much by reading fiction (when possible in its original language) from many places in the world. In fact, I left behind 35 boxes with books when I left Brazil – one of the toughest detachment moments I’ve gone through as part of my personal growth. Books taught me a tremendous amount about different cultures, which now benefits me in the Diversity work I do.
I remember that one of the books that deeply touched me as a teenager was The Clown by Heinrich Böll. In a way, it’s about non-conformism. Later, I devoured Milan Kundera’s books, and after I learned Spanish and Portuguese, I became a huge fan of Latin American and Iberian literature, including authors like Mario Vargas Llosa and José Saramago. Today, I only read non-fiction, mostly on neuroscience and mindset-related topics, like Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, which is about freeing ourselves from self-limiting components of our identity… highly recommended.
For more information on Regina’s recent work, please visit the following links: