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Meet Ursula Franco Block: The Dynamic Founder of Creative Connector & Expressive Arts Coach!

We had the pleasure of meeting Ursula Franco Block at WebSummit Lisbon 2023, and were immediately struck by her dynamic presence. As the founder of Creative Connector and an expert in end of life care, expressive arts coaching, and leadership development with EGS, Switzerland, Ursula has dedicated her life to helping others find fulfilment and meaning. Through her unique approach to coaching, she empowers individuals to tap into their creativity and connect with their inner selves. Her work in end of life care is equally inspiring, as she seeks to help individuals live their best lives until the very end. Join us as we explore the fascinating life and career of Ursula Franco Block, and discover how her insights can help you lead a more fulfilling life.

1: Ursula, can you share your journey in becoming a Coach in Expressive Arts for leaders and companies, especially your association with EGS, Switzerland?

For many years, I have connected art (especially theatre, and later flamenco and collage) with human resources management and leadership in order to bring the philosophy and mind-set of artists to organisations to enhance the relationships within teams.

Besides my two books (The CEO of the Stage: and “Break the Fourth Wall”), in the last three years, I have explored the world of art therapy in short courses (TAE Perú 2019: “Creativity, Art and Imagination”; Goldsmiths, University of London: “Dance Movement Psychotherapy Taster” and “Non-verbal Communication: the Art of Conversation through Body Language”) and these experiences reaffirmed my belief in the healing and connecting power that is involved in the practice of art as well as the simple act of looking at art.

Given that my focus is working with organisations and groups, I found the Phd program in Expressive Arts Coaching and Consulting at EGS as a way to enhance my practical foundation in this discipline and gain more understanding of the theoretical foundation and tools of expressive arts.

Often, resistance to the art world within companies is: 1) due to the bias against art as “not serious” (as if playing and making art were incorrect in this environment), or 2) because art is thought of only as a form of entertainment, and not as a source of methodology for finding solutions or new perspectives in our lives or in organisations. And for me, EGS has given me the tools to empower my practice as consultant.

2: We were lucky to meet you at Web Summit, Lisbon, 2023! How was Web Summit in Lisbon for you? Tell us all :)

I must say I found about this event thanks to a friend this year, never heard about Web Summit before so I went with a lot of curiosity. I was amazed by the amount of human beings (70,000 humans walking, running, moving from conferences to gatherings or the next cue 😉) .

I think it was a good experience not only for the content itself (some more juicy than others) but for the serendipity as it happens with us. Meeting new people, listening a seed during a lecture that you can connect with your own history. And it definitely was the place to practice LOMO, Love Of Missing Out, because it is impossible to be everywhere and you will miss a lot of stuff and you have to be in peace with that. The first day I was so naïve that thought I could arrive from one pavilion to another just in time, but you had to trust your gut and make your curios schedule work for you.

3: As an Official Psychological Safety Coach by Leader Factor, how do you contribute to fostering psychological safety in leadership?

The first step is to understand what it is and how we can create or destroy psychological safety for our teams. We don’t realise that 43% of a team performance is related to this, no matter the resources, strategy or even the purpose if the humans in your team can not be their authentic selves, express dissent or even have their voices heard. On Leader Factors Assessment are 12 questions, and when I do the trainings the simple exercise of answering them is enlightening.

One of the many things we talk about in this training is about intellectual friction vs emotional friction. In order to have real conversations and grow together we need to invite respectful dissent, but sometimes we prefer the politically correct answer and silence to avoid conflict.

4: How did you establish yourself as a Creative Connector and Founder of #HechoConMeraki? Tell us more!

I decided to quit my job almost 2 years ago to study at EGS and also to offer a new approach as a leadership and communication consultant. Meraki is a word in Greek that my dad once shared with me and it means doing the things you do with love, your soul and your creativity. And for many years I said to the teams I lead: let’s do this with “meraki”, so now that the name of my project as a 'solopreneur' that believes in connections is “Hecho con Meraki”. I had worked these years with colleagues from London, Israel, United States, Spain and will keep open to new possibilities. This year I have worked remotely from different places although I am based in Lima, Perú. I really love the freedom to travel, work and create new services and products.

6: What aspects of human leadership do you emphasise in your coaching practices?

I will say curiosity, humility and play. I had just launched a new service called CURIOSIAJE (a word I had invented that is the mix of 3 things I love and represent who am I: curiosity, learning and travel (and I do not only mean traveling outside or in a plane but for experience).

Other themes I work on are related to having meaningful conversations and well-being, resilience and self-care through art. No one can take someone where they haven’t been, and my practices always include self-awareness as a key element.

This 2024 I will put more focus on my project about legacy. I trained as and End of Life Doula and I want to put in practice some of the knowledge I gained during this training with change management, legacy as a leader / organisation.

7: In what ways, do you integrate communication and wellbeing into your coaching philosophy for individuals and organisations?

Art is the foundation and the diverse modalities I can use that give me an interesting scope to try different things from creative or autobiographical writing, collage, drawing, movement & clown. I think one of the programs I have, Creative Resilience is a good example of this mix of communications, arts and well-being.

8: What advice would you give other women who are looking to develop their leadership skills?

I will say, learn different things, try, play. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have in one or more people. We often think, what can I do If I am alone or not have the millions of “followers” but what I will say is: stay true to your soul, have your support and challenge network, don’t loose faith in the possibilities.

9: What obstacles do women typically encounter in leadership roles, and how can they overcome them?

We have to know our biases and work on them. I will put my personal example as a woman that decided not to have kids, I believe in other maternities and adore my god daughter and son, but when I was 28, I realised that I didn’t want to become a mom, the society penalize women like me because we are not “fulfilled”, “there is something missing” or, as one person told me, “this is a kind of love you will never experience”. I admire and respect the decision of every human about having child’s, I wish the LGTB in my country can have the opportunity and that adoption systems work better. And I also respect women and men like me that decided something different for their life’s.

10: Lastly, what is life like In Peru? Do you recommend it for fellow female digital nomads/entrepreneurs?

Peru is a beautiful country with bad politicians as many of Latin-American countries.

We have jungle, highlands and sea, the diversity of our territory is delightful, you can go to the most known cities, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, Lima, Tarapoto or to other places and find amazing landscapes. We are a friendly society and I have seen more digital nomads in the building I live in and in my last trip to Cusco. I guess, that you have to give it a try and experience it, as any other place in the world.

Connect with Ursula:

Instagram: @ufrancoblock

Linktree: (Here you can find my course in CREHANA and my report on Beautiful Leadership)

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