I discovered early on that all people need to be seen and heard. Communication is not so much about your body language and voice, it is more about how you and your story fit into the big picture. If you want to communicate effectively and express to others who you are and what you stand for, welcome to my world!
But...it’s hard to trust someone with something as important as communication issues. You need to get to know the person first. Only when you feel at ease can you grow towards being the great communicator you wish to be. Let’s get to know each other.
I was born in Zagreb, Croatia in rainy November 1980. My parents have four children, and I was the only girl, with all the benefits that can bring. As I was raised along my brothers and had a strong-willed personality, I was a bit of a tomboy. In our street in Zagreb, we lived in a big block of apartments with lots of children to play with. School days were short, and I had the freedom to play outside for hours every day. My parents had a relaxed approach to parenting and this provided me with many ways to build my confidence. This also provided opportunities for creative outlet and ideas. I was the type who always had a new project and I would recruit my friends in the neighbourhood to follow me in many fun adventures (much to their parents bemusement!). I also loved to read and admired the many books my parents had on our shelves.
Our family lived in Croatia while it was still Yugoslavia and the communist regime limited the opportunities people had,especially if they were not well connected. My father wanted to be a Greek and Latin teacher but was not allowed to finish university due to his religious background. He managed to find a clerical job in a bank but the job was not very secure. My mother wanted to be a professional ballerina but had a leg injury and worked as a ballet teacher instead. She has always been a great influence in my life: she is very intellectual but also warm, creative and fun. In their 40s, with four children and lack of career opportunities, my parents decided to emigrate to Australia.
Australia was a culture shock for my parents and a life-changing experience for all of us. We lived in Melbourne in a rented home. My brothers and I quickly learned English and integrated into the school system.We had a very positive experience but I missed my friends and school back in Croatia terribly. Our life had expanded in so many ways, and yet the experience felt soul crushing. My parents could not find their way in the new world, which was so much more commercial and fast-moving. My father found work in construction and my mother had no desire to work in a factory, one of the few available work options. After 2 years my parents moved back to Croatia, to our same apartment and street. I had started to love Australia but I was happy to return. Somehow I could not get my culture and people out of my head!
When we returned to Croatia in 1989, Yugoslavia was already breaking up and things were not looking well for our country. I only wanted to lead a carefree existence as a 10 year old, back to school and my friends. I remember the first time the enemy planes flew over our heads on lazy summer afternoon. It was scary and exciting as we knew that there was no turning back. Luckily, my city Zagreb and my family in particular, did not suffer all the terrible effects of the war. But the country as a whole suffered, many people died and many towns and villages were destroyed. In the aftermath, my mother managed to create a new career for herself. She founded a NGO to help Croatia's war orphans and was busy with numerous initiatives that eventually improved their lives. My father however felt lost and did not manage to regain any work stability. Our family became different. My eldest brother had stayed in Australia to study. It was a difficult time.
Teenage years are hard for anyone and I was no exception. I was a rebellious teenager: from listening to punk rock music to pretending to be a skateboarder boy, and fighting with my father about his opinions. Things got a bit calmer when I reached 19 and that was the age to decide what to study. I was attracted the Humanities since almost all my friends and family had studied or would study literature, philosophy or the arts. I wanted to study education and sociology. My plans changed when my mother became a diplomat and was sent to Madrid, Spain. I went with my parents and younger brother to live in this wonderful country, learning its language and culture. I was to stay 10 years in Spain, and the country became an important part of my personality. In Spain I studied cinema and English literature and linguistics. I also started my teaching career- first in schools and then in private companies. I loved the independence of teaching, the creativity of crafting my lessons and the fun of meeting new people.
Living in Spain was wonderful but something was missing: I wanted to be in a place where I would meet people from different parts of Europe and where I could grown and learn as a professional. I also wanted a change in my career: teaching English had become repetitive. I wanted to work in an International organisation, not yet knowing that was not the best match for me! I completed a one year Master in EU Law at a university and started working on policies that interested me such as education and immigration. I then managed to get a traineeship in the European Commission in Brussels. This experience was fun and provided the perfect introduction to life in Brussels, with many new friendships formed. After my internship I started my career in communications. I also met my husband Fred, a Belgian with whom I speak Spanish to this day (this is Brussels!). Our kids started coming in 2013 and I combined motherhood with working as a communication manager in non-profits and a coach and trainer in my spare time 8 if there is such a thin!). Finally, at some point I decided to dedicate more time to my strengths and started building my own business.
Life is good. Living in Brussels is a bit rainy and grey, and I would love it to be a bit less hectic and multi-lingual sometimes. In the winter months we dream of living somewhere where its sunny. I go to Croatia to visit my family as often as 2 or 3 times a year. I like to keep fit by doing weights and sprinting. I eat way too much chocolate and drink too many matcha's and chai lattes for anyone to understand. I admire people who think of others and who give their time and energy to helping others. My plan is to keep growing in my business and in my roles as a mother, wife and friend. My dream is to always live an interesting, fulfilled life that is oriented towards others. It is a lot of work but with faith, support and optimism, it can be done.
Training and mentoring is about providing groups or individuals with hands-on knowledge. It is also about motivating and helping you understand your own role in a variety of situations. Academic instruction gives you a certificate, but experiential learning provides you with much more.
My expertise and professional experience goes from language instruction, to communication skills, effective learning, group dynamics and communication strategy. On all these topics I am an avid reader, writer and practitioner. Ask me anything!
Communication fluency is an exercise in problem solving. In my work I love to play detectives. We find out together what is stopping you and where you want to go exactly. Communication issues are a puzzle: let me help you put the missing pieces together.
My journey to communication fluency is not the usual story of “zero to hero”. I was not shy and was never anxious about speaking in public. On the contrary, my personality is assertive and communicative. I actually had to learn how to slow down, listen and let others do the talking. From a seemingly outspoken child who was often in the spotlight (I had my own TV show!), I became a lover of the backstage.
Today I enjoy seeing others shine, learn and connect. My work is to listen, to stay in the sidelines and use my intuition to find out exactly what my clients need to feel confident when they are communicating.
My clients are professionals interested in improving their own or their employees' communication skills.
I also get requests from corporations, schools and training companies looking for outstanding trainers. Let's talk!