Spotlight: Sometimes You Have to Have a Breakdown to Have a Breakthrough

 A certified executive coach, media personality, bestselling author, and founder of Berdéo Group, Laura Berger recognized her dexterity in handling organizational complexity to empower other women leaders.

"Follow your fear because if you're afraid of something, that's an opportunity for you to move outside of your comfort zone."

Laura Berger

Raised in Honolulu Hawaii, Laura was always exploring nature and very self-motivated. She strived to accomplish success early on in her life. As a member and columnist at the Forbes Coaches Council, Psychology Today, and Huffington Post, Laura has spent over twenty years counseling and coaching leaders. Throughout her coaching career, the common feature Laura has found in leaders who are incredibly powerful and resilient is that sometimes they have had to have a breakdown to have a breakthrough.

Being authentic

Laura Berger emphasizes the importance of authenticity in leadership--something she learned from experience. Laura spent most of her early professional years around C-suites, which necessitated her growth into a "velvet hammer" style of leadership. "You would never see me cry or yield on issues where I knew I was right. I wasn't your stereotypical woman in business," she shared.

Shifting the narrative

It wasn't until her late twenties that she realized bringing her whole self was most effective in business environments. She began helping coworkers and friends to explore, navigate and excavate into themselves and transfer that into how they navigate and explore opportunities while being themselves and bringing their unique leadership to the table. "As I went through this evolution, I came to this realization that we as leaders are going to be of most service when we can bring our authentic self forward," she said. Wanting to work with fellow women by elevating them to the top was a shift and a life-changing breakthrough for Laura.

Activating activism

Laura feels that just like a wave in the ocean that causes a ripple effect, the more you can empower women to come to the table in their most authentic form, as opposed to masking their unique assets, the more impact you are going to have. "I wanted to move into a space where I could help other women leaders really navigate their career aspirations in a way that feels authentic to them and empowering at the same time," she said. Laura utilizes her activism, extensive network, and span of influence to enable those she serves to not only blast through their speed limits at work, but also to be giving of themselves in life. The balance is about where the energy is manifesting itself – "where it is draining and where it is rejuvenating you, once you can hone in on that then you can start to create the appropriate boundaries that need to be created," she stressed.

When to consider a coach

Laura highlighted a few key aspects to pay attention to as a leader who might want to engage an executive coach: (1) you feel like you could improve in navigating your business situations and goals, (2) you have trouble holding yourself accountable, and (3) you would like to be more assertive and have a more respected voice. "I would say it all comes down to confidence and self-regard because that is key in leadership and caters to neuro-agility and overall performance," she said.

Here are some of Laura's Powerful Talking Points

 This Forum is an initiative of the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal), a supporting organization of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in Pittsburgh. WHAMglobal is committed to profiling members of WHAMglobal, the International Women's Forum (IWF) special interest group on health care, and Women of Impact for Healthcare. Through the Spotlight Forum, we will share members' inspiring stories and accomplishments, identify common interests, and form new partnerships that help make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, and more compassionate.

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Contact Hanifa Nakiryowa, Global Health Associate:

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