Karly Christ tells us that, “As a long-term expat (over 15 years in 7 different countries) I have made it my mission to help expat women, personally and professionally, as they navigate this beautiful but challenging global lifestyle. Using my experience working in international development and following my husband’s international career as an accompanying spouse, along with my two coaching certifications, I provide women around the globe with the personalized support they need to not just survive but thrive in their expat lives.”
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
Before starting my own business in 2020, I worked mainly in the international development, non-profit sector in various locations around the globe. While living internationally, I learned new languages, experienced life outside of my culture of origin, and gained a deep appreciation for the personal development and growth opportunities that were afforded to me thanks to this global lifestyle. It wasn’t always easy living abroad and changing locations frequently. I often found myself alone, unsupported, and a bit lost. But after 15 years of living abroad in multiple countries, I learned how to thrive in this special kind of life. This is why I started Vibrant Ikigai Coaching. So that I could help other women, like me, as they navigate this beautiful but often challenging expat life.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”
A seed sprouted in my mind many years ago about supporting women in the world as they moved, traveled, studied, and experienced life outside their home countries. By the winter of 2017, that seed had grown a little bit more and my mind started to think and formulate what this journey might look like. However, at that time I was living in Paris, I had a one-and-a-half-year-old and a three-year-old, full-time work, and I was bogged down by city life. I couldn’t find the space in my mind and heart to take my little sapling further. By early 2020, everything had changed. I found myself unemployed, living in Houston, Texas with slightly older, more independent children and with more time for my ideas to be nurtured. I decided that the time had finally come to bring this idea to life. However, I was a bit intimidated to do it alone and there was only one person I wanted with me by my side. And she didn’t even know my idea yet! This is when I asked my co-founder and friend, Chloé Le Gouche, to become an entrepreneur with me. I knew this meant she would have to change careers completely and leave behind her work as a PhD geoscientist, so I wasn’t sure she would say yes. But the mission, ethos and scope of possibility spoke so much to her, that she accepted, and we launched Vibrant in December of 2020! Since then, the vision and direction of our company, and the work that we do, have been a collaborative effort to which Chloé has been indispensable. I am so pleased she said yes, and that we have launched into this work together!
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
I am a life coach for expats around the globe and with my business partner we provide coaching to expat women in both French and English. Using our tools as certified NLP Master coaches, certified ikigai coaches, and trained mindfulness practitioners, we help women navigate the challenges and opportunities they identify in their expat lives. When we help our clients build their self-awareness, develop their potential, and find the path that drives them, we not only help them, but also their entourage, and the people around them… When we manifest our values, our objectives, and the meaning we give to what we do, we positively influence the people around us. By a ripple effect, when we help one person live a fulfilling, happy and meaningful life, we help dozens of others. On a larger scale, I feel we are contributing to a greater mission. I feel like we’re helping the world get better. This may sound ambitious, but when you know that a small seed can create a forest, it may not be so ambitious after all. Our reason is to plant that small seed of ikigai that will create a forest of people who are comfortable in their shoes, motivated, fulfilled, in their place, happy, looking forward to the future.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
Most of our work up until this point has been working with 1:1 clients, conducting group workshops, and group coaching sessions. Seeing how our clients have benefited from our work together is where we feel the greatest level of achievement. We have had clients who have gained tremendous self-confidence. Those who have been able to navigate their change in career with purpose and grace. Those who have told us how lost they felt in their expatriation and how working with us over our three-month program gave them the tools they needed to feel more confident and comfortable in their life abroad. This feedback is why we do the work we do. Making a difference in people’s lives is the goal. It is the whole goal. This is where we feel the most pride and the most gratitude. When our clients succeed, we succeed. Also, recently, we were approached for a coaching project in a big global company. The work was to support employee and management communications within a multicultural team, provide support for their employees through 1:1 coaching, and help them flourish in their professional work. We were ultimately not chosen by this company for the job, as there were numerous other companies applying, but we consider our involvement and achievement. Firstly, we were seen for the work we do and recognized for its value. And, perhaps even more importantly, it shows we are coming to a point where coaching is truly being recognized as a life-changing tool that can help people personally as well as professionally.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
Life isn’t always fair. When you are in the minority, you will experience unjust treatment or biased opinions. This can be incredibly discouraging. This can make you doubt yourself. Don’t let it. Keep the faith. Keep pushing. These discriminatory obstacles will be there, and it is even a greater reward when you still succeed despite them. Every pushback brings us closer to a more equal world.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. See failures as opportunities for growth. Don’t shy away from risks. Know that the entrepreneurial journey is hard and long but so rewarding.