CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week. Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life coach, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of career development, work/life wellness and personal growth.
The following was originally posted on September 25, 2013 on Kristina's blog.
September is always an exciting time of year for me as world leaders convene on the island of Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Many of you know my degree is in International Relations. Early on I was a passionate student of languages and cultures, got bit by the travel bug at age 12 after a trip to Spain, Portugal and Morocco with my grandmother; by senior year in high school I was studying Spanish, French and Italian (foregoing chemistry and physics..), Mandarin Chinese freshman year in college, organized international student orientations, studied abroad my third year…you get the picture.
My dream was to one day work for the UN, as my intention and mission in life was to contribute to world peace (I simply didn’t understand why people and countries couldn’t get along just because of race, religion or anything else), so that was a seemingly logical goal. Who grows up wanting to be a career/life coach? Like so many professions today, that didn’t even exist when I was a kid! Ah, but the Universe has a funny way of working things out.
Once I discovered that being employed by the UN did not ultimately fit my skill set or desired environment, I set out to create my own international experiences - teaching middle and high school Spanish, working and traveling with an upscale educational tour operator, teaching Tourism Destinations & Cultures for NYU, and founding my own mini-version of the UN called The Women’s Mosaic, bringing together women from different cultures and backgrounds to learn from and be inspired by one another.
As a result of that creation, I got hooked into the UN, met several times and received praise from Kofi Annan, have attended many of their conferences (I still get verklempt when I am in the auditorium wearing an earpiece…), and before any of this, without consciously trying, ended up living in the very neighborhood where the UN’s headquarters is situated – so for my entire adult life I have been surrounded by diplomats and their missions, sharing my coffee shop, gym and grocery store with them 24/7.
Fast forward to more recently, as my interest and passion for personal growth, empowerment and healing along with my ability to relate to just about anyone, combined with x-ray vision, supersonic hearing, and broad knowledge base of industries, careers and other resources have combined to make me into this very interesting and profoundly effective person I will call a career/life coach for lack of a better title….and I have been helping people professionally in this capacity for over six years.
Last week I had a big ah-ha moment after a Skype session with a new client in Hungary who had attended one of my talks while here on holiday. Although that was only my second international call, I realized just how diverse and, yes, global my clientele is! I have worked with well over a hundred people from all backgrounds – whether foreign nationals here visiting or working temporarily, or folks that were not born here but came as children or adults to live. They hail from Macedonia, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, China, Taiwan, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, El Salvador, Russia, Japan, Philippines, and Israel as well as embody the many diverse ethnicities and religions found here; African-American, Haitian, Indian, Persian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Quaker, and so much more; many of my clients have accents, as English is their second or third language! So DUH, here I am using my degree in ‘International Relations’ yet once again, simply in another form. Pretty cool, huh?
I share all of this not just to illustrate how the thread of my interests and passions have run through everything I do, but also for this: My work with individuals only confirms my theories, thoughts and ideals about countries and humanity as a whole. The more I learn and observe intimately the intricacies of all these seemingly different folks’ journeys and backgrounds, the more I see the hard evidence of how we are all wired as humans with the same desires, dreams, hopes and challenges – no matter what corner of the globe you are from we have far more in common than you can imagine.
Think you’re so special? You are. You have a uniqueness that you bring to this planet. But you are also made of the same stuff as that guy or gal is sitting next to you on the subway, or across the ocean. And because of things like technology and climate change, we are more interconnected than ever. So this week take a moment to expand your horizons - who can you learn about, chat with or help in some way that is out of your normal sphere of influence? How can you Imagine your world for the better? What can you do to think globally but act locally?
Not sure what is the micro in your life that will affect the macro? Give me a buzz and we’ll translate the language of your soul to see how it will weave into the tapestry of history and become that much needed piece of the peace puzzle we are all a part of, no matter who you are or where you come from.
FINAL WEEK: Be sure to take advantage of my special Back to School September discount offer!