“They want you to be less so that they can feel more.”
I have been a serial entrepreneur my whole life. Unlike me, my siblings knew precisely what they wanted to do at an early age.
I was born in Salzburg, Austria. Ever since I was a baby, I’ve had animals around me. We had dogs, horses, and cows on our farm. It was heaven for me. I used to tell my family that if the animal at our farm had a name, we were not allowed to eat them. So I named them all. The very first thing I wanted to be was a vet. But I didn’t settle on it. Looking back, I wish I had gone on that path.
I believe nothing you do is a waste of time because all the skills you learn are transferable into the workplace. This comes from my father, who told me that I can do anything, regardless of gender. My father is the most important person in my life. He was 12 years old when Hitler invaded Austria. He took off at a young age and walked 1500 km from Vienna to Amsterdam to get on a boat to England. I have written a book called “For Want of 40 Pounds,” highlighting my dad’s journey. It was published in 2020 and was a no. 1 bestseller in three countries.
To bring about a global change we all need to take action. I think one of the biggest gifts my father gave me is a unique vision. I believe we can all do this with a vision and desire to accomplish it.
When I was at Webster College, I majored in photojournalism, but I did not want to constrain myself to one single profession. I’ve worked in industries and places where women didn’t show up. I had just finished college and was sitting with a bunch of guys who were life insurance agents. And I decided I could do that. I knew I was good at sales. I took an exam to get into that field and worked there for a considerable time. I was the only female in the company and I outsold all the guys. My manager came to me and asked, “Can you sell less?”
He told me that all the guys were upset at how much I was selling. I said, “Well, why don’t they sell more?”
As a woman, you have to dumb down in a field. Every woman, including myself, has had to fight for that equality in the workplace. Sadly, it still hasn’t been achieved today.
A few years down the line, I got into kickboxing. I became the first professional female kickboxing promoter in the world and managed a 12x ISKA Welterweight Champion in 1997.
Later, I worked as a special advisor in the provincial government of Ontario for about 2 years. It was a challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I then had a serious motorcycle accident that put me in the hospital for 6 months. I ended up getting a divorce and lost almost everything except my kids. I took up teaching because I needed to do something. That’s when I began pursuing coaching.
There was a point when boredom crept in. Then I came up with the idea of interviewing people who are changing the world in their own ways. This is where I started The Good Radio Network. Along with finding spectacular people, I also invest in them by helping their NGOs, human societies, etc. I want my money to be used for good. So I support a donkey sanctuary, a blind institute, and many other causes.
I’ve always loved playing with colors and textures so I started painting in my mid-fifties. When I see colors on the palette, I get excited with the possibility of creating, which gives me a sense of serenity. That’s what really inspires me to paint.
I’m a creator at heart, whether it’s creating with words or a paintbrush. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Midlife Mojo was the first and the best book I have written. Sometimes, when I look back at my work, I’m amazed at some of the stuff I’ve created.
I like to think of myself as a birthing coach as I like to birth companies but I don’t like to run them. Promoting companies and getting them off the ground is more exciting for me. I like to reinvent myself every couple of years as I don’t want to be constricted to one professional tag.
The most vital aspect is to know yourself. I learned this late in life. If the well goes dry, you can’t help anybody. So, I really do look after myself now so I can look after everybody else.
You allow people the space to dream. You let them go on that journey and have them figure it out. The goal is to be a dream maker, not a dream breaker.