Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Izabela Lundberg is the Founder of The Legacy Leaders Institute, creator of the High Performance Impact Evolution™ method, and Author of The World Messenger: From Fear to Greatness.
With over 25 years of experience, Izabela brings her successful transformational executive leadership advisory, coaching, and keynote speaking to Fortune 500 companies, top NGO's, and fast-growing disruptive tech-companies, to solve their most pressing challenges.
Izabela is a Forbes Contributing Writer and member of the Forbes Coaches Council .
Hello Izabela. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We would like to start by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background, career milestones and your journey as a business leader?
Izabela: I grew up in former Yugoslavia as a happy and creative kid that dreamt of being an Olympian. Unfortunately, early on in my life, there wasn’t much investment in women’s sports, but as this dream died, another was born.
Soon I realized that I wanted to be an educator working with children to preserve their goals of what they wanted to become in the future. Sadly, that was cut short due to war in my country, where I became a refugee over a night.
At that time, I was just a teenager that had so many dreams and aspirations vanish, alongside my family members, home, identity, and a sense of belonging. But I found my new purpose quickly by helping refugees through Red Cross & Amnesty International, first at my hometown and later upon my escape to Sweden and the US.
This journey was not easy, but it gave a new meaning to life by helping others during their greatest need. After over a decade of dedicated work with Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organizations, I obtained something that money cannot buy: an intimate relationship and wisdom from people from over 120 countries. I was a voice for the voiceless at national and international platforms as an advocate, speaker, and thought leader. After 15 years of working in this space, I transitioned into Global Advisory, Consulting, and Executive Coaching capacities within highly diverse environments.
What originally attracted you to Leadership Coaching as an area of specialisation?
Izabela: During my Advisory and Consulting efforts, I realized how often I wore multiple hats, including providing coaching and mentoring support. As my conversations with executives and leaders became more partnership-driven, thought-provoking, and creative, I realized how much those efforts expedited and solved individual and team issues. The rest is history.
Has your leadership journey been influenced by your background and/or any business leaders?
Izabela: The fundamentals of my early leadership journey started at home as a little girl. It started with the tremendous influence of my father and grandmother, then with some exceptional teachers along the way. That foundation helped me as a teenager to survive the atrocities of the Balkan war and navigate my life on my own in five different countries, before immigrating to the US.
During that period, I had a chance to see the good, bad, and ugly, on so many fronts, ranging from educational, religious, governmental, and political institutions and systems. These painful experiences and life lessons gave me a preview into what types of “Leaders” exist and why we have the problems we sadly see over and over today.
I was also fortunate to meet genuine “Thought Leaders” along the way that shared similar values and led with trust, honesty, transparency, and integrity. Today, I am connected to some of the top Global Thought Leaders and had the pleasure to interview them for my book and podcast, as well as collaborate with significant global initiatives. And this is just the beginning!
What are the key challenges you have faced in your career and in your journey as a business leader?
Izabela: Early in my career, I had to work on my confidence and skill set as a business leader and as a foreign woman in the corporate world. As an Immigrant to the US and a former refugee, my path was not easy on many levels. I felt that I must constantly prove myself to my bosses and peers. For example, English is my 6th language, so I worked hard to perfect it. I had to start all over with my undergraduate education for the third time due to moving from one country to the next. I was then able to finish my master’s degree in Leadership and Organization Development.
The more I excelled in my career, the harder it became to navigate office politics and maintain a steady tempo. This often led to burnout. I realized that I must take care of myself and put myself first. If we don’t advocate for ourselves or take care of ourselves, no one else will. Despite many challenges and obstacles, I always kept my attitude positive, with solid confidence in my abilities that help me succeed as a business leader today.
You help transform Organisations and Executives into Global Leaders and Partners. What’s your process and methodology for this?
Izabela: Excellent question! All transformations require us to rethink how our enterprises create value today and in the future. As a result, companies need to think big and strategically focus on building partnerships with global leaders that share their values and capabilities. To achieve this, we focus on defining and designing organizational capabilities that support mission, culture, process, technology, talent and integration. Ultimately, we want to ensure that transformation goals and key objectives are supporting the organisation’s business strategy.
In 2017 you founded the Legacy Leaders Institute. Please give us an overview of what the Legacy Leaders Institute does, their value proposition, and their target market?
Izabela: Legacy Leaders Institute is our premier organizational development platform focusing on strategic leadership advisory, coaching, and training. We are passionate about working for organizations ready to dominate their market and spread their valuable mission worldwide.
Our track record includes working with a handful of fast-growing startups, Fortune 500 companies and their high performing innovative leaders. In the past five years, the teams we have advised, coached, and consulted with have been instrumental in expanding their reach, ranging from “Organizational Transformation & Development”, “Culture & Effectiveness Improvement”, to “Executive Talent & Team High Performance & Engagement“, “Organizational Risk Assessment & Management” and “Crisis Prevention & Intervention (Local & Global)”.
We love working with globally responsible, inclusive, diverse, reputable, and innovative organisations that want to further develop and grow through trusted and strategic partnerships.
Let's talk about your book "The World Messenger". What is this book about, where did the inspiration for this book come from, and who is its target audience?
Izabela: My book “The World Messenger: From Fear to Greatness”, is a message of hope, healing, and inspiration, with tremendous opportunity for a reader to take action and overcome whatever may be holding them back.
The Inspiration for the book came from my childhood dream of being an invincible Olympian and my journey coupled with powerful stories of professional Coaches, Athletes, Olympians, and Global Leaders. The targeted audience ranges from high schoolers to seasoned Thought Leaders who feel stuck and need to discover their purpose or great strategies to move forward.
Before we conclude the interview, what advice do you have for aspiring leadership coaches?
Izabela: The business landscape is changing dramatically, and as a result so are client’s needs. All aspiring leaders should think about a new and different way or style of coaching as old methods are no longer effective. With the right tools and support, almost anyone can become a better and successful leadership coach. Don’t get discouraged! Keep learning and fine tuning.
Thank you Izabela for participating in this Q&A session. We wish you all the best.
Izabela: Thank you. It was a pleasure to speak with you.
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