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Putting kindness at the centre of leadership


PAUL LAMBIS meets a woman who has travelled far and wide and now puts the stories she has heard and people she has met to use supporting other women, and producing an entertaining podcast


Every now and then, you meet someone who is simply inspirational. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to being an inspirational leader, there are a few key traits that tend to apply to all those individuals: authenticity, passion, knowledge, engagement, personability, self-awareness, resilience, and kindness.

Although most of these people are well-versed in a specific area or subject, it is heartening to meet someone who wears many hats and has combined her vast life experience from many countries and jobs to help others make the most of their own lives.

Among many other things, Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis is a life coach, neurolinguistic practitioner, hypnotherapist, author, motivational speaker, director of a global business networking club, and podcast host.

Born and raised in Switzerland, she decided to leave the land of mountains, chocolate and fine watches for “a place in the sun.” However, before setting foot on Aphrodite’s shores, Elisabeth chose Greece, where she began working as a tour guide.

Her 11-year career in tourism took her on memorable journeys beyond Greece’s borders to over 100 countries, where she honed her language skills and learned to speak German, French, Italian, Spanish, English and Greek.

According to Elisabeth, the international tour company she was working for at the time included Cyprus on its list of destinations in the 1980s. “I arrived in March 1982 and immediately felt a love connection with the island,” Elisabeth told Living. “After many years of coming and going, I met my husband and decided to make Cyprus my permanent home.”

At the same time, Elisabeth decided to use her passion for life and her ability to engage and connect with people on a personal level to become a motivational speaker. “I felt that I had so much experience with people and had accomplished so much over the years that I wanted to help people in different areas of their lives achieve their ultimate goals.”

Elisabeth realised that becoming a life coach required a specific set of tools, so she boarded a plane and flew to Dubai, where she would spend the next phase of her varied career completing a course of basic training, which eventually led to a master’s degree in coaching.

“There are so many things which are sitting in our subconscious since our childhood, and I enjoy watching people unearth the hidden potential within, whether it is through hypnotherapy, timeline therapy, or all the other methods that I know. That is my true reward.”

Elisabeth’s other passion is putting her experience and coaching advice into words. Her self-help book The Soul Kit – First Aid for the Soul was written “on the go, between travelling and sitting in airport lounges,” and is ideal for those looking for those little tidbits that will make life easier and more enjoyable.

The response to Elisabeth’s book has been overwhelmingly positive, owing in part to its ease of reading. “I find it very rewarding when people approach me and say how the book has opened a door for change and encouraged them to take a leap of faith,” she said.

Similarly, as Elisabeth continued to open doors of change for her readers, the book itself presented Elisabeth with a new opportunity that shifted her career path to London, where she spoke at the Global Woman Club Summit as a public speaker.

“It was an opportunity for me to share my passion as a motivational speaker with a group of dynamic women from all over the world, and the idea of bringing the club to Cyprus mushroomed from there,” she said.

With Elisabeth at the helm, the Global Woman Club Cyprus established its presence on the island in 2019, connecting the island’s professional women, empowering them globally, and supporting their personal development through education and training.

“We give women access to a wide range of information, knowledge and opportunities to put them into action so they can make the best decisions,” Elisabeth explained. “We also assist our members in developing their brand.”

Elisabeth has also successfully shared her own stories, past experiences and anecdotes from her travels and adventures, while simultaneously bringing a diverse group of people from various backgrounds together through her podcast, Most Memorable Journeys.

“I have had some amazing guests from all over the world on the show, and I plan to take the podcast to the next level by traveling on many sponsored business class flights and staying in destinations around the world while interviewing people in their own locations.”

One of most important things in life, according to Elisabeth, is humour. “A life devoid of humour is futile and meaningless.” The other is kindness. “Kindness has traditionally been one of the most undervalued leadership characteristics. Kind leadership incorporates all the elements of authenticity, transparency, warmth, building trust, and empowering others. This is essential for success.”

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