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My Innovative Journey

Images of Helene

Recently, I reached 2000 connections on LinkedIn, which made me realize how much an introverted girl from Paris has worked to develop a network in a country I immigrated to 30 years ago with no connection. 

One of my most significant sources of pride is that I've had the opportunity to meet almost all of my LinkedIn connections in person. These interactions have been about sharing stories and collaborating on projects, but they've also underscored the value of personal connections in our professional lives. Many people I met professionally have become friends, enriching my life with excellent discussions and connections.

Yet, many of you may have only heard a fraction of my story and thought it would be a good time to share more. 

I was born and raised in Paris and have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years. I studied business at the prestigious Science Po School, then earned an MS in Creativity and Change Leadership from the Center for Applied Imagination at Buffalo State University. 

I worked in advertising, sales, marketing research, HR, and a start-up.

I started my own business 20+ years ago as my way to balance (or at least try to, as balance suggests that we can do it all perfectly) the intellectual challenge of working and continuing to learn and grow while raising three children. Creativity, innovation, and pioneering new products and services have been my driving forces throughout my career. In the middle of my job and pregnant with my third child, I also returned to school to get my Master's. 

As an Innovation Strategist, I love to help answer the question, "How can we be innovative?" I thrive on supporting teams with processes, tools and frameworks that facilitate collaboration through training, coaching, and facilitation. 

I believe in user-centered design and apply this principle in my client work. My programs and engagements are always customized since each client has unique needs and constraints. One of the things I love the most about being a consultant is working with all types of clients, sectors, and company sizes, from packaged goods to tech, fashion, and non-profit. 

Last fall, I published my first book, Fire Up Innovation: Sparking and Sustaining Innovation Teams, which I jokingly call my "COVID baby" since I spent the COVID years working on it. My goal was to prove to myself  that I could write a book (it had been on my wish list for years) and to share what I learned from 30 years in the creativity and innovation field. I wanted to blend theories of Creativity with the practical parts of my work as a practitioner, as most books on the topic tend to be either academic or tool books. 

My goal, based on a conversation years ago with my roommate when I was studying for my Master's program in Creativity, was to "make problem-solving sexy." 

In this new adventure, I applied the skills I teach my clients:

  • Getting out of your comfort zone.

  • Trying new things.

  • Learning as you go.

  • Using visual thinking

  • Iterating or pivoting when needed.

  • Discovering synergies and opportunities. 

I am proud that this book offers the knowledge and approaches I use with my clients to a broader audience. It has generated interest from many podcasters and almost 40 five-star ratings on Amazon!

Innovation is about taking risks, trying new things, and creating new paths when things do not go as planned. I apply the same principles to my personal life. Since my divorce six years ago, I have participated and learned a lot from group therapy and processing emotions, going to workshops at Esalen, starting a meditation practice, and enrolling in a leadership program called Flow Genome Program. I also started "opposite practices," where I started activities that I was not familiar with and initially seemed scary to me. I started to rock climb (I am afraid of heights) and have been taking singing lessons for over a year.

Singing has always been intimidating as I thought I could not sing, and as humbling as each lesson is, I am progressively learning to use my body and voice to sing in tune. 

What's next for me is about staying open to possibilities and considering new ways to impact others and the world.

This fall, I will be an empty nester, considering my options to reinvent my life.

I am interested in strengthening opportunities for deep discussion and potential partnerships, whether on a business, a project, or a board. 

What's new in your life and career? How are you reinventing yourself? How may I support you?

Let's share experiences, conferences, business opportunities, deep discussions, and consider new ways to collaborate.

Reach out and message me to share your news, schedule a virtual or in-person coffee, and discuss how we can help each other and make a difference in the world around us. 


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