Hello, I'm Maria Kontarini
I am an entrepreneur, business consultant,
public speaker /
In the past: humanistic, person-centred therapist
/ diplomat & mediator
My social cause: foster mother
I believe that:
We do not control what happens to us, we only control how we act. In the choice of how to act lie our freedom and strength.
Success comes with perseverance, curiosity, patience and courage.
To differentiate yourself and stand out, as a person or company, it means taking the risk to walk on unusual paths.
Lack of empathy and acceptance is the reason for all human misfortunes. From the biggest, like war, to the most personal, like depression and anxiety.
Why social Leadership?
Because societies are very close to my heart. From a young age I considered society to be my extended family and the place where I belonged to. I have lived in seven different countries and observing and adjusting to different ways of being in these societies has really shaped the person I am today. Understanding how societies function and how they change has been the drive behind all my professional choices so far.
My first job was that of a diplomat, during those nine years I learnt the value of diplomacy and mediation to solve issues before they become complex problems. My first posting was in Sarajevo in Bosnia. There, I witnessed what happens when diplomacy and mediation fail. The result is a segregated, deeply divided society and an extremely painful, complicated and lengthy reconciliation process.
When I joined the private sector as a consultant and manager I noticed that there was some prejudice regarding expressing emotions and feelings in a professional environment and bringing idealism to work. The paradox was that when I was using these elements, business only increased. There is no more powerful motive than contributing to the greater good. There is no better way to build client relations than being your whole self.
The last piece of the Social Leadership Model comes from the field of psychology and psychotherapy. I spent a few years in that field and I got trained as humanistic, person-centered psychotherapist. I learnt, I experienced personally and witnessed on others what it takes for people to grow and actualize. The most precious gift we could make to ourselves and others is to offer them the space to be their true and whole selves, without judgement and criticism. How rare is that though?