Clarissa Kristjansson PhD
Clarissa Kristjansson PhD, internationally known menopause educator, holistic menopause coach, podcaster and author. Creator of the THRIVE program blending the best of East and West to empower women to be ‘response-able’ for their menopause, empowered and in charge.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I had a challenging childhood as my parents separated when I was young. I Had a wonderful grandmother who was my role model and showed me that women are strong and can achieve anything if they focus on it. I immersed myself in my studies and became interested in neuroscience, leading to my Ph.D and the start of an amazing 30 years in some of the world’s biggest corporates.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
My turning point came when I was 50 and unbeknown to me in perimenopause (the years leading to the menopause). I suffered a number of health issues which made me rethink my lifestyle and diet. This was the start of my journey to coaching other women in midlife.
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 initially coached women struggling with stress, anxiety and sleep disorders but began to see a common pattern amongst my clients regarding their age profile and issues. That led to researching menopause and writing my first book which became a bestseller. This launched my menopause coaching career. I recognised an unmet niche that although there is a medical component to managing menopause there is also a great need to learn to empower and advocate for ourselves through this life transition.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
I had been part of a small start-up in my early 40s and knew some of the pitfalls of starting a business namely cash flow, the need to build trust and a market presence. There is always a risk that you want to buy all the tools to get your business going before you have the money coming in.
Then there is imposter syndrome, something many of us can relate to – that eternal inner questioning of whether I am good enough. Having a coach who supports you in the early days is very important and joining a business community that has your back and helps you to build a referral network is key.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
The pandemic made me pivot my business from face-to-face to fully online. Initially, I lost revenue but today I regained ground and grew. In uncertain times, I focused on building a suite of offers at different price points.
On reflection Covid was positive – my podcast and social media grew and I used the time to build my network through online networking groups, many of which I still attend today.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
Building a community through my podcast and newsletter have been the most rewarding part of the journey. I also have learnt so many new skills since leaving corporate -business and professional. My love of continuous learning is a source of joy.
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?
Focus is key. It is easy to be distracted with shiny new stuff but it dilutes the impact we can make.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
My personal motto is Jump and Grow Wings on The Way Down. You have to dare to try and to fail but on the way you grow and learn from your mistakes.
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’s leadership today?
I believe we have made some progress. We are far from embracing gender equity.To women to grasp more leadership opportunities, resilience and the ability to bounce back are key. Women need strong networks that help sustain success and balance work, life and family. Thirdly, find a job that has an impact and that can only be defined by ourselves and in doing so we can define our careers.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Don’t be afraid to pivot. Your purpose can and probably will change through your career as you change.