An exciting 2 day conference is taking place in Culver City, CA this upcoming weekend on March 2nd & 3rd. Tatjana Luethi and Jose Callaber are the co-creator dynamos behind MERGE, a conference for women who want to merge profession and passion. Find out more at: MERGE CONFERENCE. and read below for Tatjana’s inspiring story.
Imagine you grow up in a world that is famous for chocolate, cheese, bread and the banking system. So, you mold yourself into a chocolate-cheese-bread eating Swiss banker. However, at some point in life you seek something deeper, more meaningful and authentic than what meets the eye. I’ve always wondered what lies beyond my social and cultural conditioning? And what happens when you step into that zone that lives deep beneath the surface inside your own authentic essence?

It’s this kind of curiosity living at the center of my core, that has propelled me forward into all kinds of adventures. I’ve moved across continents and I’ve switched careers, I’ve started and co-founded companies, I’ve initiated women’s groups and gatherings, I’ve been involved in real estate and built an environmentally-conscious home with my husband, and I’ve always enjoyed organizing and hosting varies events with focus on environmental and social consciousness. So, you know, life has been interesting, yet definitely I’ve also experienced its ups and downs, and many doubts. However, one thing remained the same: I’m a big advocate for justice and equality, authentic and genuine interactions, generating a healthy culture, and promoting corporate social responsibility & environmentally sustainable business practices. Regardless of where I am, or whom I’m with, you’ll definitely get a dose of that.

After the economic crash in 2008 and the crippling of our society, I was embarking on another deep inner journey; questioning, pondering and reflecting not only upon myself but also upon our society, our economy, well the entire paradigm we live in. What does it mean to “exist”? What does it mean “to be” when old structures of society fall apart? What happens to you and your identity when the very same structures and systems derail, those that we have derived and formed our identity from? How do you build and contribute to a new, sustainable system, society and economy, while the old one is crippling away under its own weight?

Well, long story short, I was on a new quest. Not only was I driven to find out, but also, I made a pact with myself to no longer sell my soul to the corporate world. In 2010 I came across a series of recorded interviews called “Women On The Edge Of Evolution” facilitated by Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward Thomas. A year later I enrolled in some of the courses they offered around self-growth and self-development. I have been an active student ever since. This has resulted in my initiating and launching a local women’s group with other students and coaches from the same organization who share similar ideas and visions as I do.

In 2012 I contacted Jose Caballer from The Skool, whom I knew from Art Center College of Design, the design school we both graduated from. I expressed to him that I want to switch my career from being a traditional print and packaging designer, into a User Experience designer (also known as UX Design). I related to him that I resonate with the user-centered approach, as it seems to be of a more holistic, human-focused method as to how, or rather, as to why we design a product or service. Therefore, I’d like to explore this approach and its power to gauge, influence, and cause social change. In other words, how can I utilize the UX approach in combination with technology to impact people, their behavior, their lifestyle, and especially, their belief system? I also mentioned that I recognized women were joining these women’s courses in growing numbers, looking to express a deep desire to contribute to a positive change in the world. I wondered, how do you channel deep values as such, and manifest them into a new system, a new economy, a new government, a new paradigm? The structure was somehow missing that which would allow the baby to enter the world.

A few weeks later I started working with Jose at The Skool. Our partnership and collaboration evolved pretty quickly. He invited me to be part of his online show called “This Week In Web Design”, and I sat in on all of his online classes. A few months into it, I was blown away by what I discovered. Here it was, the “structure”, the process, the method that would bridge the gap between a deep inner value, and manifesting those into the external world. It appeared to me that Jose and his teachings represented the midwife that would allow for those values to be birthed and manifested into the world. Finally, after 10 months of pregnancy, the baby could be born!

So here we are, launching, producing, and hosting our very first conference together called MERGE! A 2-day conference for women who desire to merge their personal and professional experience and background with a meaningful, purpose-driven and prosperous livelihood as a creative expression and vehicle that makes a profound contribution and difference in the the lives of others and our society.

This is what I stand for, not only for myself, but also as a model for other women, enabling and facilitating them in their own unique creative self-expression and leadership. We are in a time where we can no longer afford to be shy, timid, doubtful, or invisible! It’s time to step forward, and embrace our unique feminine values, attributes, and qualities, so as to heal and re-balance a world in flux! It is critical for us women to embrace our own authentic power and wisdom, in order to contribute to the creation of a new kind of culture and leadership!

This is why I’m producing MERGE! I’m doing it from a deeper space of my own unique and authentic contribution, as a higher form of creative expression that goes beyond the local, small self. I’m doing it for a better and healthier tomorrow, for you, for me, for all of us, and certainly for the generations to come.

Please join me in that collective vision on March 2nd and 3rd 2013 in West Los Angeles and explore with me what happens when you utilize your authentic creative self-expression with a deep sense of relatedness and understanding for the unmet needs of our world.

Reprinted with permission from Tatjana Luethi.