Close & Personal
The Full Story: a.k.a. How Did I Get Here?
Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be coaching cancer patients to unlocking the meaning and the solution to their experience, interviewed to discuss longevity and health and have doctors (yes MDs) as clients I'd think I were in an episode of "You Have Been Punked".
Only 10 years ago I owned a marketing agency, an international conscious parenting publication, a house in Los Angeles and the only things I was writing about were green living, how to market green brands that spoke to the hearts and minds of consumers, and how to stand up for medical freedom.
Only 15 years ago I was leading a marketing department in what is today the 3rd top Consumer Package Good company after Nestle and PepsiCo called Procter & Gamble.
You may have heard of it
Me, an Italian girl, who arrived with 2 luggage from Rome 20 years ago I was telling America what hairsprays to buy and what diapers to use for their babies.
For a marketer P&G was the place to be. Unlimited budgets, unlimited resources, and literally hands in every household in America.
I wouldn't be here without P&G. Literally and figuratively. P&G taught me everything I didn't want to be: Corporate, Militaristic, Greedy, Harmful, Deceitful, but it also taught me how it is possible to change people's lives when you touch their hearts. An invaluable lesson that lead me to leave a very sure and profitable financial future for the unknown of entrepreneurship.
So I open my marketing agency, set to work only with companies that honestly made the world a better place from NGOs to Sustainable companies, my agency was one of the first to tackle social responsibility and sustainability when these words were not a trend yet.
And as I reflect back, my karma has always been to be a trail blazer, to get there before everybody else, although financially not always a good thing
So here I am with an agency and no clients. Yep, I left P&G so fast, I omitted to say that I had no clients. No income. But I was set on a dream: use my marketing knowledge and intuition to make the world a better place.
So here I am in my early thirties, I am finally the CEO of my own life, a financially poor life.
GIFT #1: THINK BIG
As I waited to find clients, I decided that my passion for teaching could sustain me in the meantime. I had taught Marketing and Advertising in Italy before so I figured I could teach again.
Armed with the passion that if we wanted a more sustainable, just and green future we needed to teach that in school I literally walked into UCLA and presented to them not just a class but a whole certificate program in Green Marketing.
If I think about it now...the guts it took...but hey I was young and hungry (literally). Of course they said no.
GIFT #2: I DON'T GIVE UP
But that did not stop me. I went back and I showed them how the most important universities in the country and overseas were starting to implement Green Marketing courses and UCLA was missing the train.
They said YES! To one class: Green Marketing Strategies at UCLA Extension Continuing Education.
I took it.
From there they asked me to teach a Green Marketing 2 and then UCI asked me to teach an online Green Marketing class (when it was not a thing yet!!).
Shortly after I got my 1st green diaper brand from Sweden. And from there, many more diapers and baby products, because it turned out that the first adopters of sustainability were baby products. Moms demanded healthier products for their babies!![MOMS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!!]
Now I was telling America the importance of putting healthier products on baby's skin, and considering homeopathic remedies instead of harmful drugs.
I was living my dream. My mind body and soul were aligned. I had found my purpose.
GIFT #3: I DON'T SETTLE
Life, just like healing, is not a destination it's a journey so even though I was fulfilled, I wanted more. I felt I could do more.
So I started jotting down the idea of a print magazine for parents, to reach more of them, to create visually appealing content that will convince parents to use products or support causes that made a difference. This was 2009-2010
Just like I walked into UCLA years before I "walked" (it was actually through calls and emails) into Whole Foods and presented a mock up of my publication. I had worked with WF for my clients before but never as a publisher. WF works regionally and never launches anything in all stores. they do a lot of accurate testings.
"twas the day before Christmas...literally...when I got a phone call that will change the course of my life, yet again...
WF wanted to launch in March my publication in all stores. It was the end of December and I didn't have the budget to produce that many magazines in such a short time. So I had no option but to find an investor. Finding an investor was something I had never done before. In fact I had no clue. I was not looking for small change, something that you can scrap together between family and friends. We were talking lots of figures...
But believe this, when you are ALIGNED following your purpose the Universe gives you a lift. Always.
So in January I was on a plane to Dubai to speak to a British investor. At the end of March we were in every WF in the country.
I remember to this day the feeling of walking in a WF store in Los Angeles, the big one in Venice, and pay for a copy of my own magazine...I never felt that way again.
My magazine was my baby. When all of my friends were starting families I was nursing my magazine. I traveled, I met and interviewed amazing people, from moguls to celebrities to politicians. I gave voice and supported disruptive companies. I also hired a lot of people.
The magazine was my family. My team and I spent hours and hours together. We worked a lot. It was a lot. I lost my balance. Literally. I started feeling dizzy, bouts of vertigo and brain fog that would last for weeks. I barely slept. I was on the phone all the time with different time zones. I spent time in board meetings talking numbers and projections The bigger we became, the smaller I felt.
Something needed to change but I was not willing to see what.
GIFT #4: THINGS ARE EITHER BROUGHT TO YOU BY CONSCIOUSNESS OR BY FATE - Carl Jung
On another Christmas night I had an accident while skiing, and completely tore my ACL. It was an accident, but as I see it now, it was my fate that met me where my consciousness wasn't willing to go.
The universe put a forceful stop to my rhythm. And saved my life.
What could have been a 6 month recovery after surgery turned into a 2 year ordeal. My physical inability to be present and available to everybody 24/7 created more tension within the company and the investors and ultimately it became such a toxic environment that painfully and ever so slowly I decided to let go of my baby...did I say painfully?
GIFT #5: WHEN A DOOR CLOSES A WINDOW OPENS
That's what they say, but when that door closed, I felt buried alive. No windows, no portholes, that would be the beginning of what I called my PURGATORY. A few years of painful emotional soul searching that led me to where we are today.
During those years I got married, I had a baby, we moved a lot, I also completed nutrition school (to keep my busy mind, now looking for meaning, occupied).
But nothing could compare to the highs and sense of purpose I had felt since running my magazine.
GIFT#6: PAIN IS ESSENTIAL FOR GROWTH
You know when they say that if you plant a seed, and you water it, it may look like a bare soil for a while, like nothing is happening, and yet underneath roots are forming...? This is true.
This was happening for me as well. I just didn't know. And it was important that I didn't know because I needed to go through the pain. I needed to ask myself the tough questions, I needed to take the leaps of faith not knowing if a landing pad would appear.
I needed to let go of everything that felt safe. I was learning a lot. I didn't know it yet.
As it often happens when we feel pain we start to pay attention. And attention I did pay. I started to be more present, be more mindful, I started listening to my inner voice again.
There in the deepest darkest corners of my soul I had started my awakening journey.
In my own journey I have learned so much grace and compassion toward myself. I realized I didn't have any.
Loving myself more, allowed me to love other people more.
Genuinely. Even those who I don't like or agree with. Because I see now that we are all here to learn and we are all going through our own Inferno-Purgatory-Paradise journey, it just that some are still stuck in Purgatory.
From those days as an ambitious up and coming activist/publisher that wanted to change the world and take down Monsanto, Bayer, P&G and the likes, to my less glamorous and belligerent days as a guide for those stuck in their Inferno or Purgatory, a lot as happened that I could not possibly condense in just a post, but just like then I know now that I aim where I am meant to be, holding the torch for the seekers of light.
So everything I do now is with this intention: Holding the light for you, so that you can find your path.
If my words resonate with you, I would be honored to work with you.