#BEYOUROWN MEETS CAROLINE DESMARAIS
Caroline Desmarais is a mother, wife, CEO and philanthropist. She is a High-Performance Executive Coach and a Certified Meditation Teacher. She is the Founder of Inspired Global, a High-Performance Executive and Life Coaching Business. She is also the Co-Founder of Mothersphere, a global empowerment platform for mothers.
Caroline has a Bachelor of Philosophy from Skidmore College, in New York, and a Law Degree from the University of Ottawa. For over ten years she had a successful career as an Executive working in technology, publishing, and business development.
Caroline has hosted shows both on television and online. She is a motivational speaker and writer, and is an advocate of women’s rights, mental health awareness, abolishing human trafficking and plant-based eating.
Caroline was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She has lived and worked in several countries and is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian. Caroline is currently based in London, England.
What is Inspired Global?
Inspired Global is a High-Performance Coaching company that enables individuals to strategically improve the quality of their lives and the profitability of their businesses through Executive and Life Coaching.
There are three branches to Inspired Global: Inspired Exec, Inspired Life and Inspired Mind.
- Inspired Exec: Our executive clients are high-performing leaders within their organisations. Together we devise a strategic plan to implement their vision and culture throughout their organisation. This may include leadership development, coaching through change, sales training and conflict resolution. With these tools incredible transformations can take place, positively affecting the bottom line.
- Inspired Life: Our life coaching clients are looking to make positive changes in some area of their life. This may be with regards to their health, relationships, family, career, finances or confidence. It is a rewarding process to take control of your life and address the areas that you wish to improve. Our clients shift their mindset, set goals and their life picks up momentum.
- Inspired Mind: We teach meditation and mindfulness and lead guided meditations. Our clients range from children to high-performing executives. Countless successful leaders and athletes have utilised this ancient practice to achieve success. Meditation is a powerful tool that allows us to access infinite creativity, wisdom and peace of mind.
What was the catalyst behind launching Inspired Global?
I am extremely passionate about personal and professional growth. I have been studying philosophy, personal development and leadership strategy for as long as I can remember. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Skidmore College in the United States. I didn’t quite know where it would lead – all I knew is that I loved what I was studying. I have always been fascinated by the big questions in life: What is our purpose? How do we achieve lasting happiness? How do we define success? How can we make the world a better place?
I went on to graduate from Law school at the University of Ottawa, in Canada. It seemed like a logical next step and several members of my family were lawyers, including my father, who graduated from the same programme back when I was a child. However, I didn’t feel that my purpose was to practice law. I opted to work in the corporate world, fulfilling various executive roles, from CEO of a tech startup in Montreal, to the Chief Development Officer of a publicly traded Publishing company in Bermuda.
Despite having seemingly achieved “success” in my professional life I didn’t feel completely fulfilled. All of the successful leaders I had read about spoke of the passion that fueled them. I wanted to experience this. A message that carried through all my studies from ancient Greek philosophy to my coaching material is that we all have certain gifts that we are meant to share with the world. It can be confusing when we aren’t sure what our gifts or purpose are. But the easiest way to identify them is to look at our lives and notice that which we are most passionate about.
My passion is helping people thrive in all areas of their life. It is possible to create your dream life and career. I believe in the power of good strategy coupled with the proper mindset. These principles were put to the test in my own life, in 2015, when I went through a divorce. I was living in a foreign country, had full custody of my then one year old daughter and I realised this was the time to put all of my knowledge to use. I gave myself a year to transform my life and I embraced the process wholeheartedly. Using coaching tools, visualization techniques, gratitude and meditation, I was able to manifest my dream life. After that year I met my now husband with whom I am happily married and have a two-year-old son.
At this point I felt fearless. I had the confidence and courage necessary to make a career change and I founded Inspired Global. My objective is to inspire people on a global level to be catalysts for change – personally and within their organisations. When we embrace positive change, we inspire others to do so as well. This is the virtuous cycle we are seeking to propagate. We are very grateful for all the clients, partnerships and opportunities that have come our way and we will continue to help people create their dream lives.
What is a typical day like for you as a CEO and Philanthropist at the moment?
I have been homeschooling my daughter for the past few months so 2021 has been a juggle so far! Nonetheless, I can proudly say that I managed to maintain my routine while homeschooling. Being a coach, I understand the positive impact of daily habits. We can’t change the world or achieve our goals overnight. But by consistently taking steps towards our goals, we can achieve anything we desire.
Working from home is a blessing because part of my definition of success is balance. We will never achieve perfect balance at all times, but life is about making little adjustments necessary to keep all areas of our life moving in the right direction. This also includes downtime and self-care.
My mornings consist of meditation, exercise and then client meetings. I have lunch with my two-year-old who has returned from nursery by then. He takes a nap and I carry on with meetings and work. When my six-year-old daughter comes home from school I take an hour to play with the children. I turn my phone on airplane mode and make an effort to really play with them. Playing is a wonderful way of bonding with our children and spending quality time with them is very powerful. I then take another meeting and before I know it it is dinner, bath and bedtime for the children.
In the evening I undoubtedly do more work. I love what I do so I don’t mind at all. I set time aside to read before bed. I am an insatiable academic – constantly reading about my industry and seeking to increase my knowledge.
My husband and I have a general agreement that we don’t do work on weekends so that is really our time to switch off. During the past year we have had date nights in, with take-away and a movie, and we are looking forward to being able to go out together again!
As a coach and meditation teacher, how have you navigated around COVID-19 and how has it impacted you professionally?
Covid-19 has put all my practices and knowledge to the test. If anyone can navigate their mental health and productivity during a global pandemic, surely, it’s a coach?! I’m being humorous, but it is actually true. There have been times where it didn’t feel like a “winnable game”, for instance when I found out we were homeschooling once again in January. It seemed like there weren’t enough hours in the day. However, when in doubt, my meditation brings me all the clarity I need. It gives me perspective and allows me to remember what really matters.
In consequence of Covid-19 I have been more grateful than ever for: my family, my health and my work. It has forced me to be very organised and really prioritise my time. I even schedule play time and downtime because with working from home and not leaving the house much it can be tempting to get caught up with work and chores and forego our most relaxing time. Although at times it feels boring because there aren’t many activities to do, it challenges me to get creative and when in doubt, to stay curious and keep learning!
It is a good time to be working in the coaching space because people realise that they can’t do it all, that it is normal to need help, and that it is imperative that we look after our mental health and wellbeing.
You recently co-founded and launched Mothersphere with Tanya Candy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, what was the initiative behind it?
Tanya and I met at a children’s club in London. Our friendship grew and we realised that we had both gone through unexpected experiences at the start of our motherhood journeys. We also found out that philanthropic work had always been an important part of both of our lives, and we decided to come together to organise a fundraising event for International Women’s Day 2020 in support of the UN Women #generationequality campaign. All proceeds went to Bliss charity. This was the last event any of us attended as the pandemic began right after.
Our mission and values were aligned, and we realised how many mothers could benefit from additional support, so we decided to create Mothersphere. We began by co-authoring a book which is due for publication this year, about our respective experiences of motherhood and how we overcame challenges and grew stronger in the process. We have officially partnered with UN Women UK on our book to further our mission of creating positive social change.
Through the writing process we were interviewing various mothers about their experiences and as we were receiving incredible advice and hearing such inspirational stories, we started filming our interviews for other mothers to see. When we shared them with the community on social media, they were very well received, and our network started to grow rapidly. We have since continued these interviews which are now part of our ‘Mothersphere Mothers Connect Series’ on IGTV.
Our objective with Mothersphere has been to create a global empowerment platform for mothers. We support mothers in prioritising their wellbeing and encourage them to thrive in all aspects of their lives. Mothersphere connects mothers to a social network, to events, experts, organisations and services related to the motherhood journey. Mothers often feel isolated and we connect them to a community both in person and online. It has been a very rewarding company to build over the past year, during these challenging times.
Who is the most influential female entrepreneur that you admire and why?
My favorite quote is, “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” by Oprah Winfrey. And this pretty much sums up my answer.
Oprah has always been my biggest inspiration. She is such a strong woman, who is very humble and grounded in her strength. Growing up she was on my family television when I returned from school. And even back then I understood that she was making a difference. It wasn’t just a tv show. She was helping people, inspiring them and creating social change. I have loved following her journey and seeing how she has grown throughout the years. She is very spiritual, and we share similar belief systems, namely the power of meditation, gratitude and the law of attraction. She has demonstrated the value of following your purpose. She has taken on challenges in her professional life such as starting her own network. She is an advocate for education and has demonstrated such generosity. In giving people a voice and allowing them to share the stories, Oprah has had a positive ripple effect across the lives of so many.
What solid words advice can you offer to others who are looking to launch a business in the coaching space?
Coaching is a vocational profession. So, if you are interested in becoming a coach, I would say, “Absolutely go for it!”. With regards to starting your own business it’s quite simple because you can literally start off as a coach and incorporate your own business. When you become busier you can choose to expand, by hiring an administrative assistant and eventually sub-contracting and partnering with other coaches and consultants.
The key is to figure out your niche. I have always felt very comfortable in an executive setting and I naturally took on coaching roles within my previous jobs. I am passionate about strategy and leadership, so my niche revealed itself to me. I bring the unique angle of meditation to my training which I have adapted to my executive audience and I feel like I am fulfilling my purpose in doing so.
My advice would be to follow your bliss. Pay attention to what lights you up and do more of it. What unique strengths and qualities do you bring to the plate? Identify these and build your business around them. Launching and running your own business should feel exciting and enjoyable!
What has been the most challenging yet rewarding barrier you faced and how did you overcome it whilst building Inspired Global?
Moving to London in the early stages of launching my business was certainly a challenge. I had an established network in Bermuda, where I had been living and working for 7 years prior. Moreover, shortly after moving to London I gave birth to my son. I decided to take a step back from working and focused on studying instead. Maternity leave is such a great time to take online classes. I will always remember breastfeeding my son when he was a newborn and listening to my Meditation Certification course on my phone whilst he slept in my arms. Because I loved the subject I was studying it felt very enjoyable. It also connected me with an online community of like-minded teachers. Where I was worried about having to rebuild my network upon moving to London, I have realised that it is very easy to network. I quickly connected with women in my area who had children of a similar age. And I started to receive inquiries from clients who came from referrals or via LinkedIn. Fundamentally I believe you attract opportunities and by having a plan I was able to organically grow my business.
Can you tell us which marketing tools are your most preferred and how they support your everyday business functionality?
For Inspired Global, I don’t do much marketing. I have a presence on social media and have received several client inquiries through LinkedIn. I mainly receive clients via my network, in the form of referrals from past colleagues and clients. Once you have worked with people, they are your best advertising! That being said, I do suggest being proactive. If I think a client would be a good fit I don’t hesitate to reach out and offer them a consultation.
For Mothersphere we are very active on social media, particularly on Instagram where we have grown a large following. It has been an incredible place for us to connect with our community of mothers and share valuable resources with them.
How are you working on your own personal development?
We are all on a personal development journey throughout our lives. I seek to find the right balance at any given time. We never maintain a perfect balance but by living consciously we can make slight adjustments in order to improve our life. Our emotions are our compass. They teach us about the thoughts we are thinking. Certain thoughts create positive, love based, emotions and others create negative, fear based, emotions. I am very conscious about how I feel. Quite simply, I notice whether I feel good or bad, and I also notice what triggers those respective feelings. When I exercise, meditate, practice gratitude, eat a plant-based diet and take time to read and rest I feel at my best. I don’t always manage to do all of those activities daily but aim to come as close as possible. Health and fitness are extremely important to me. I alternate between running, strength training and yoga and I also meditate daily. This way I tune my body and mind and I am ready to show up at my best for all the people in my life.
As part of my personal development and as per Deepak Chopra’s recommendation, before meditating I always ask myself the following questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- What is my purpose?
- What am I grateful for?
How can we know what we want unless we identify our wishes and desires? If our desires are motivated by purpose, we are much more likely to realise them. Finally, when we are grateful we attract more things in our life for which to be grateful. Then I release my answers to the universe, and I meditate. I guarantee that I receive direct intuition related to my desires and purpose and always come out with clarity and inspiration on how to move forward in my life. Finally, after meditating I set intentions as follows:
- A joyful, energetic body
- A kind and compassionate heart
- An alert and reflective mind
- Lightness of being
I make a conscious effort to embody these intentions, and particularly the “lightness of being” when I am with my children. As adults we are often more serious than we need to be, and our children really appreciate playfulness!
How are you looking to scale and grow Inspired Global and Mothersphere throughout 2021?
With regards to Inspired Global, my objective is to continue to work with high-performing executive clients who seek to excel both personally and professionally.
One of the upsides of the pandemic has been that people are completely comfortable participating in coaching sessions, webinars and training online. I look forward to working with several international clients and organisations in 2021.
As for Mothersphere, our aim is to keep growing our community on a global level and become the primary resource for motherhood. We have several projects in store for 2021, including publishing our book and releasing our app, to name a few. We value all mothers and genuinely welcome them to join us in our mission to share our motherhood experiences and empower each other to thrive.
Image taken by Nina Assam