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Christelle Soto-Suarez

Christelle Soto-Suarez

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Well, my name is Christelle Soto-Suarez, and I’m an “eclectic, non-conforming, introvert” human being… Eclectic, because I’ve always wanted to have multiple experiences – leading me to a 25- year international career in the construction industry, working in different countries, languages, positions, types of projects… and then to setting up my own life coaching practice, Pistachio-Cassis Coaching - empowering professional women to design, build and then lead THEIR life and career in their own terms. Non-conforming, because I didn’t consider the lack of role models (for the lifestyle I wanted) in my social environment as a reason for not trying – but it doesn’t mean I didn’t have plenty of confidence issues along the way! Introvert, because I definitively enjoy spending time with myself, and I’m quickly drained of energy when I’m with a large group of people – which means I had to adapt my behaviors so that being an introvert would not be an obstacle.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I’ve been a member for a few months, and my favorite event is my local chapter’s Coffee Connections… It’s quite international, but still provides a great opportunity to connect with others in my area! I joined because I was looking for events set-up to facilitate participation from the audience – I’ve attended too many events where only a few of the participants dared to talk! I really like how Ellevate is managing to create that interaction and participation.

How would you define your professional mission?

Right now, my professional mission is: “To be the catalyst to empower professional women+ who dream of a successful career and fulfilling life, but right now are lacking the support, the network, the know-how and the “ignition spark” to do so, to take action toward realizing their dream. Through my professional and personal development approach (a.k.a. life coaching), centered on each individual professional, I empower them to design, build and then lead their career and life in their own terms, one step at a time, in alignment with the success, fulfillment and satisfaction they want to experience throughout their life.”

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

For me, life and career are very intertwined, and working on a goal in either life or career pretty much always impacts the other! My greatest accomplishment is one of my first big decisions: pursuing my construction studies in the UK, while barely speaking English (pre-internet and pre-cellphone!) – because that decision was the catalyst to really realizing I could achieve a lot in my life (if I did the work!) and that it was very important to keep an eye open for opportunities (I did not have plan to study in the UK, but I grabbed the opportunity!).

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

That would be the one I’m working on right now! I’m developing “experiences” of professional and personal development that are centered on the person (instead of telling them what they should do – which is often ignored! – or letting them with their own thoughts going around in circle in their head!), so that they can develop a way forward in their own terms – and, yes, this is called “life coaching”! I’m especially developing “experiences” (Instant Coaching-Infused Conversations) that require little time, energy and financial investment, suited to hard-working and busy professionals, but would create “sparks” of inspiration / motivation for the person. And, once there are enough sparks, for the person to be able to ignite the fire (of starting to take action) to move toward their goals.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I’d like it to be that, through my practice, I was a catalyst for more professional women+ “daring” to take action to move toward their goals, but in their own terms, in alignment with who they are. It’s really linked to the professional mission I mentioned above!

Who are your role models?

Role models, or representation, are so important because they show us that certain things, actions, achievements are possible for people “like us” (whatever that “like us” means to each of us)… But I believe the lack of role models shouldn’t be an excuse for not trying something. Instead, I think we should look for bits of inspiration in the people around us or that we hear about, but also in fiction, and even in the environment around us… and then create our own role model from these bits of inspiration! So, my role model was mostly made up of fictional characters (none of which are from well-known books or films) that I came across while devouring books as a teenager. I took what I liked and adapted it a little to who I was, ignored what I didn’t like or what really wasn’t me – and it evolved with time – and did my best to use this evolving role model as a guide!

What is your morning ritual?

First of all, morning rituals should be adapted to our needs and likes of the moment! At the moment, my morning ritual is made of meditation (or slowing down my mind), quotes that I use as affirmations, stretching, a little bit of journaling and preparing the day ahead, followed by a hot drink while listening to some music, slowly switching from sleep-mode to awake-mode!

What does success look like to you?

To be honest, it used to be a lot about money and position at work at the beginning of my career. But it evolved into being about enjoying life experiences, fulfilment and satisfaction – and it’s that perspective that led me to move away from my career in the construction industry (I wasn’t getting that success anymore) and to start a new one with Pistachio-Cassis Coaching!

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I must say that I don’t like the term “work-life balance”! I prefer to look at it as a “pie” perspective: how big do I want the different “slices” of my life (“earning money”, “family time”, “learning”, “health”…) to be, which can vary daily! Sometimes, the “earning money” slide (often referred to as “work”) is much bigger than any of the other slices, like when I’m after a big change at work, and sometimes it’s smaller, like when I’m taking a break after a big change. One tactic I like to use is called “wheel of life”. Basically, it’s about identifying what is most important in life right now, and then identifying what we want to spent time on in the near future! It forces me to reflect on how my life is right now (the good and the not so good), on how I’d like it to be, and then on how I can it happen. It’s a well-known life coaching exercise that is easily found online!

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.