Maggie Jonckheere is an ex-social worker & corporate manager turned life & health coach for professional nerds.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I am originally from Belgium and studied social work there. After finishing my studies I worked for a few years and then decided to travel to Australia. I ended up studying sports massage there, I’ve always loved biology and this was the perfect way to learn more about the link between body and mind. After that I lived in the UK for a while and established a sports massage practice. I then sold my business and moved to Malta. This is where I got into the corporate world and where I suffered from Breakdown 1.0 and Breakdown 2.0. During Breakdown 1.0 my body simply said ‘nope’. Breakdown 2.0 was a mental breakdown, and that is when I got myself into therapy, CBT to be exact. I went from seeing things in black and white, right or wrong, 0% or 100% to… at least somewhat more in the middle 😉 I also learnt that I have ADHD, which explained a hell of a lot. After a few years of being a corporate trainer and manager, I wanted to go back to my roots: helping people to help themselves. But this time also by working on the body! So I studied nutrition, health and wellness coaching for another year, and started doing exactly that.
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!”
I have always felt like my life purpose, my legacy if you will, is to help people grow. To make a difference in this world one person at a time. That’s why I studied social work. And no matter which job I did afterwards, I’ve always ended up in managerial and training roles. A few years ago, on my birthday, I got back in touch with that feeling of wanting to work with people one-on-one. That’s when I decided to become a coach.
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 and health coach, and I help fellow professional nerds who feel stressed, tired and uninspired to stop overthinking, get healthy and find a community for a balanced life. My work consists of one-on-one coaching sessions and workshops about themes such as stress management, mental fitness, body & brain health and social wellbeing. I provide my coaching and workshop programs to both private clients and corporations. My approach is a little different in that I work on six pillars of health: physical, mental, social, vocational/financial, environmental and spiritual (life purpose). Clients are always in control of the topics of the sessions, but we usually end up working on all of these domains in some way. I also use CBT and positive psychology techniques with my clients, to combat fears and beliefs which are holding them back.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I am proud of making my massage practice profitable within a year, in a country which was new to me. Establishing my current company and watching it grow from nothing in yet another country is something else I am very proud of.
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?
I would like to see more empathy, more emotional awareness and better communication skills.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?
I think we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. From experience, no matter how clever and competent you are, we still have to fight that little bit extra to be heard and taken seriously. But I am confident we will get there.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Make sure you have worked on yourself, before you throw yourself into big projects such as a big career change, entrepreneurship or even a move to another country. Overthinking and lack of self-esteem can cause unnecessary stress and hold you back in ways you don’t even realize.