You might find yourself, as 2018 draws to a close, thinking about your plans for the year ahead. According to recent research, 31st January is the day on which most Brits hand in their resignation…
To give you some fire and encouragement for you festive life planning, we spoke to Natalia Bojanic, the Creative Force and Brand Strategist at Form (formnutrition.com) She’s had a wild ride with her career so far and we’re excited to see what she does next.
We speak about being mindful at work, reinvention, the power of curiosity and Life Audits…
HOC: Natalia, reading your background you are such an inspirational slashie. Can you tell us about your journey to where you are today?
Natalia: Thank you. If anything in my background inspires you, know that if I can do it, so can you!
If I had to summarise my journey, I would say that it is definitely one of trial and error, learning how to trust my instincts, never giving up and remaining confident outside my comfort zone.
I am Brazilian, and I moved to London eleven years ago, after graduating with a degree in Journalism, to learn English. I arrived in a country barely speaking the language and managed to build a successful career in Communications.
I used to be a PR Director in the luxury industry working with brands from Land Rover to Dior. After seven years in the corporate world, I quit my job to follow my passion for wellness and went on a self-discovery journey to find out how I could benefit others.
As I didn’t really know what to do, I decided that educating myself was a good place to start, so I moved to the US and became a qualified Health Holistic Educator by the Hippocrates Health Institute; then moved back to the UK to study Naturopathic BioMedicine at CNM. In 2016, I moved to India and got my certification as a Yoga instructor. I am also a meditation teacher with wide-ranging training, from spending time in a monastery in Nepal to attending Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute teacher training – a program born at Google.
These days, I divide my time between being the Creative Force and Brand Strategist at Form (formnutrition.co.uk) – Naturally Advanced Plant-Based Nutrition for Body & Mind, passing on knowledge on wise leadership workshops or helping people cultivate healthy states of mind in my meditation app called Sexy Mind.
Some people might think that I am living the dream. In reality, I now have the freedom to choose what challenges I wish to conquer, and which opportunities are fun to chase.
In a few words, I am a life juggler who is trying to do good in the world!
HOC: How have your skills and ambitions been realised in Form?
Natalia: At Form, we believe that you can realise the greatest version of yourself while being mindful of others. This permeates through everything we do, from careful selection of ingredients to donating a meal to a family in need in The Gambia and supporting the education of young girls in India.
When I decided to reinvent myself, I had one certainty in mind: I wanted to help people, but I had no idea what I could do to have a positive impact in their lives. I was passionate about Plant-Based Nutrition and about the living proof of the positive effects reducing animal protein intake has for overall wellbeing and for the health of the planet.
Luckily, Damian Soong, CEO & Co-Founder found me when he was in the early stages of setting up Form, so he gave me the incredible opportunity of being part of it. When we started working on the brand’s vision & values, I had no idea that within a year of launching that we would be where we are now; bestselling brand in Planet Organic, featured in publications from Tatler to The Daily Telegraph and most importantly making a difference to vulnerable lives in The Gambia and North India.
HOC: We are always running around the world, exploring. What do we need to be of mindful of when we travel?
Natalia: Choose a healthy state of mind!
I recently returned from The Gambia, visiting the Bansang Hospital that Form supports with nutritional aid. We were in the poorest area in one of the poorest countries in Africa. As a fussy eater (vegan, gluten-free, low-sugar, non-processed food diet), the most nutritious, fresh meal I had was a carrot salad! I won’t lie, I did struggle, but it was a great opportunity to exercise my adaptation muscles and appreciate what was available instead of complaining about it. As a result, a deep sense of gratitude for life arose. I have never been so grateful for having Kind snack bars and protein shakes with me!
Before visiting The Gambia, I was in LA and San Francisco, locations where I love spending time, indulging in healthy eateries, exploring new classes at Soul Cycle, and spend time in the sunshine and connecting with brilliant meditation teachers. Making time to have fun and to practice self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity if we wish to reach peak form.
My only non-negotiable health ritual, no matter where I am, is a good night’s sleep, which I can do anywhere in the world.
HOC: Could you share more about the Leadership program you are part of?
Natalia: I am currently on the final stages of the year-long teacher training with Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), a program born at Google in 2007 and developed by the thought leaders in the market in Emotional Intelligence, Neuroscience and Mindfulness.
The course teaches skills that lead to sustained peak performance, strong collaboration and effective leadership. SIYLI increases self-awareness, empathy, communication and resilience. All of these help to create positive emotional and mental states for a strong and inspiring leadership presence.
The program includes sessions on: mindfulness (the science of being present), self-awareness (understanding your thoughts, emotions and habits), self-management (skillfully managing your impulses and reactions), motivation (aligning your values and work), empathy (understanding others’ feelings and experiences) and leadership (influencing with compassion).
HOC: What does Form’s partnership with Heathrow VIP mean for the future?
Natalia: We are very excited with the partnership with Heathrow VIP (read more about Heathrow VIP here in our interview with Priya, head of VIP). When we set up Form, our objective was to make healthy eating and plant-based nutrition available to a wider audience, not only restricted to the fitness enthusiasts.
Responding to the growing global travel trend for wellness, the exclusive VIP service’s luxury menu will feature a range of bespoke dishes that incorporate Form’s nutrient dense plant-based proteins, all designed to make eating well an effortless part of travel. We were really impressed with the Heathrow VIP Chef’s creations. The Matcha Chia Pot is one of my favourite options and we can’t wait to see the new recipes they come up with as the menu will change on a monthly basis.
We know that over the past year, Heathrow VIP has seen a surge in international clients who seek healthier travel experiences with an increase in requests for vegetarian and vegan options, so our new partnership will help make travel even healthier than before.
It’s exciting to see luxury travel catering for the demands of a wellness-conscious audience and we are delighted to keep evolving the partnership and bringing more protein-rich, nutrient dense food to the Heathrow VIP menu to help travellers nourish themselves pre-flight.
HOC: What’s a recent ‘Girl Boss’ moment you’ve had?
Natalia: Holding a baby in a very deprived village in The Gambia who is no longer malnourished due to the Form Feeding Fund.
HOC: Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions and if so, what’s yours for 2019?
Natalia: I firmly believe in everyday resolutions since I started to consciously create my days and managed to turn my life around.
The statement ‘how you live your days is how you live your life’ is something I am constantly reminding myself to ensure I create resolutions and opportunities to use my skills and strengths in a meaningful way on a daily basis.
I don’t think that it is productive to wait for the New Year to start living the life we aspire to live. Having said that, for the past 4 years in January, I do a Life Audit (sexymind.co.uk/blog/2018/1/4/its-time-for-a-life-audit exercise) to assess my priorities, motivations and goals and have it hanging in my bedroom as a constant reminder of what I am here to be.