Hi, my name is Kristina. Here is my full story, it’s long but hopefully it gives you a glimpse of who I am, how I became a coach, why I’m passionate about what I do, and whether I might be a good fit to work with you and/or your team.
One of the hardest questions for me to answer is where I’m from. I don’t feel any one answer fully describe who I am. I wish “global citizen” was an acceptable answer 🙂 I was born Liu Xiaonan (my family call me Nannan) in Northeast China, a city called Shenyang. I moved to Germany when I was 10, moved back to China when I was 12 (to a different city, Beijing), and moved to the US when I was 14, first to Burlington, Vermont, then to Chicago. I’m so grateful for my parents to have taken me to so many places at a young age. Even though it was not easy at the time but the experiences taught me how to be strong, resilient, and adaptable. It probably also planted the seeds of my love for travel and adventure.
Today, it’s been over two years since I completed my one-year journey around the world with Remote Year while building up my coaching business and working on my Doctor of Psychology dissertation. Being able to travel while working is something I had only dreamed of before but now I’ve actually done it! It was such a transformative and profound experience that I am publishing a book about that experience, The Inside Out Journey, coming out in Q4 2021. I am often amazed at how good life is to me. At the same time, the road to where I am today has not all been smooth, but I am grateful for all the experiences I have had that has led me here and I am passionate to show others how to live the best possible life for themselves.
My love for learning and my curiosity in many fields also manifest in my formal education and different jobs that I’ve had. I got a Bachelor and Master in Accounting from University of Illinois – Urbana-Champagne, worked in Deloitte Tax and Audit for 2 years in Chicago, then spent 2 years in internal audit at Amgen, a biotech company outside Los Angeles. Even though I had great experiences and worked with fantastic people, I didn’t feel that auditing someone else’s work was fulfilling my need to add value, and therefore decided to pursue an MBA with the hopes to make a bigger difference. I chose INSEAD because, first it’s a great school (it got ranked No.1 in the recent few years by Financial Times) but even more importantly, it is in France which satisfied my love for French culture and food and my desire to travel. I left the US at the age of 26 and spent one of the best years of my life at INSEAD – 6 months in France and 6 months in Singapore.
Working in Singapore after Business School
When I graduated, I got a job with Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness company in the Singapore regional office and spent an amazing nine years there. I rotated through 4 different roles – starting with leading the commercial work stream of a business transformation and systems implementation project to spending four years in the corn seeds business, my favorite role at Syngenta, doing product and portfolio management, marketing, and strategy. My last role was in business improvement, helping different business units making sustainable business changes. Syngenta fulfilled so many values I have – constant learning, contributing to a greater cause (in this case providing food for the world and improving the lives of smallholder farmers), meeting and working with people from all over the world, traveling all around Asia and globally.
In 2015, while I was enjoying my corn role at Syngenta, I wasn’t sure if working in a corporate role is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I also questioned whether I was in the right relationship. I knew something needed to change. After some searching and reflecting, I decided to study psychology, a subject I had been interested in since high school but never pursued due to the practicality of my mind. From one class at the College of Allied Educators in Singapore (similar to a community college in the US), it led me to do a Doctor of Psychology program at Professional School of Psychology based in California . The studies was as much an experience of learning the theory and practice of psychology as my own journey of self-discovery and self-development.
My First Exposure to Coaching
During this time another important event happened. I got the privilege to work with an executive coach as part of a Women Leadership Program that work offered.. That was the first time I experienced the power of coaching. A few months later, I went I got exposed to Co-Active coaching during a one-day session as part of a decision making course. The Co-Active model “had” me at the first cornerstone, which is “People are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.” I realized this is the way I want to view people.
Getting Trained as a Coach
After this class I went back to Singapore and started my year-long journey of Co-Active coaching training and certification. This is still THE most life-changing experiences in my life. Through it I was able to understand more of who I am, what I want, and most importantly it enabled me to confront my fears and self-limiting beliefs. The reason I have launched my own coaching practice today and have gone on Remote Year is mostly due to coaching. Of course other self-development work also contributed and built up to it, but without coaching I wouldn’t have been able to muster up the courage, or at least not at the time that I did, to quit a good, well-paid corporate job to travel the world and start my own business for the first time in my life.
Coaching & Life Transformation Program
This program is the culmination of everything I believe in in life and all my knowledge, passions, experience and expertise, many of which are unrelated to coaching such as personal financing, exercise, meditation, and plant and animal medicine. I attribute the birth of it to my life-changing experience of being on the road for 12 months with my Remote Year Ohana group which took my personal development from all the previous work to another level. (See my blog posts documenting this experience and my book that will come out in Q4 2021).
The experience is continuing to give because the last piece of the missing puzzle came in month 9 in Peru – spending a week in the Amazon jungle doing Ayahuasca, Kambo, and San Pedro. Now I can finally say that the program addresses all parts of you – mind, body, heart, and spirit. I have personally experienced the benefits of developing myself through multiple approaches – coaching, traveling, reading, meditation, studying psychology, being in a process group, traveling with a group for extended period of time, various workshops and seminars, being in nature, and now finally plant medicine – and I passionately want to share it with everyone who wants to embark on this journey. Because I know through my own experience, that as long as you want to change, have belief, and are willing to put in the work, transformation will happen. I hope you give me an opportunity to help you discover what is YOUR best life, whether it is through the transformation program or through coaching. Thank you so much for reading and I look forward to hearing from you.
With much love,
Educated in psychology and business
Kristina has a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) focused on organizational psychology and group process
She did her doctorate dissertation on the topic of Transformative Learning (TL) focusing on her Remote Year experience as well as prior TL experiences such as meditation, process group, coaching, and more
She has an MBA from INSEAD, and MS and BS in Accounting from U of I – Urbana-Champaign
Kristina was born in China, raised in the US, lived in Germany, France, and Singapore
She has traveled the world in 2018 with Remote Year while coaching and doing her Psy.D dissertation
She enjoys working with people of any background and culture
14-year work experience in multinational companies
- She has worked 14 years in three multinational companies in the US and Singapore in agribusiness (Syngenta), biotechnology (Amgen), and public accounting (Deloitte).
- She has experience in a wide range of areas including business improvement, portfolio management, strategy, planning, and marketing. She has managed teams and worked extensively with cross-functional and cross-regional teams.
- In her years of corporate experience, she also developed expertise in workshop design and facilitation, training, and people and team development.
Strengths and passion
- Kristina is a big believer in the Clifton StrengthsFinder and continuously leverages her strengths in work and life
- Her top 5 strengths are: Input, Relator, Individualization, Arranger, and Learner
How her strengths serve her and her clients:
- Her Input and learner talents drive her to never stop learning. She constantly updates herself with the latest findings in psychology, personal development, and leadership
- Her Relator talent gives her the desire and ability to connect and deeply understand each individual
- Her Individualization talent allows her to see the uniqueness and strengths of each individual
- Her Arranger talent gives her the ability to juggle many activities in her life