WeAreFutureLeaders Speaker Spotlight: Cara de Lange

Cara De Lange copyWeAreTheCity speaks to Cara de Lange, Wellbeing mentor, speaker and author of Softer Success.

Cara is also one of the keynote speakers at our upcoming WeAreFutureLeaders conference on 24 May.

Cara de Lange is an international wellbeing mentor, author and speaker. She runs workshops and talks focusing on relieving stress and changing people’s mindset to prevent burnout. Her powerful techniques and tips, based on her studies, research and life experience, are transforming the lives of hundreds of people. Her program Prevent Burnout, Find Balance enables individual clients and corporate teams to create a more harmonious, peaceful and productive life.

Cara has 20 year’s corporate experience as an Executive Assistant, mainly in fast-paced multi-national companies such as Google (where she spent 11 years), Reckitt Benckiser, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Having experienced her own personal burnout Cara established her own business, Softer Success, dedicated to helping people slow down, tune in and develop wellbeing strategies. Cara is an associate of and works closely with the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). She is also a member of the organising committee for International Stress Awareness Week.

Cara is contributing guest author for Thrive Global. Her book ‘Softer Success’ – Prevent Burnout, Find Balance & Re-define Your Success had a sell out launch at Waterstones Clapham, London and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Cara speaks 5 languages Dutch, French, English, Spanish and German.

At the conference, Cara will talk managing stress, life balance and your mental wellbeing. This includes stress coping strategies and when to recognise the signs of burnout and mindfulness. Discover the full agenda for the day here.

WeAreFutureLeaders, now in its third year, is a conference aimed at women (below Director level) who wish to progress in their career or who are preparing for promotion. This is not a conference that labours about the lack of women in leadership positions, this full day learning event where our guests will gain real tangible skills that they can take back in to the workplace the following day.

You can find out more about the conference and book your place here.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I’ve worked for International companies such as Google, Saatchi & Saatchi, Reckitt Benckiser for 20 years. Following my personal burnout I established my business Softer Success, dedicated to helping people slow down, tune in and develop wellbeing strategies. Now I go into organizations and run workshops and talks focusing on relieving stress and changing people’s mindset to prevent burnout. My program ‘Prevent Burnout, Find Balance’ helps clients and teams create a more harmonious and peaceful life. I am absolutely passionate about helping people to find more balance which is why I wrote my book ‘Softer Success’ which helps women step away from the superwomen ideology, be more gentle with themselves and look to re-define success on their own terms.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes and no. I went to university in the Netherlands then left to work for the Olympic Games in Sydney which was my dream since I was a teenager.  Then I moved to the UK and got the job at Google (yes this was part of my plan). Working as an Executive Assistant allowed me to work in various international industries along side high profile execs.

I did not plan my burnout. It was a huge wake up call. Now I am on a mission to reduce stress and burnout all around the world. I would love to see a society that is more peaceful and balanced. My vision is that in the next few years I want to revolutionize how people work. My program ‘Prevent Burnout Find Balance’ should be embedded in organisations.

In an article by the World Economic Forum on January 2019 it states that ‘preventing poor mental health should be as important as treating it’. I am passionate about supporting that.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

Many. Traveling internationally to different destinations. Meeting inspiring people and helping people to live a more peaceful life. My best days are when people come to me after a workshop to say how relaxed and calm they now feel knowing the ‘Softer Success’ tools will make a difference in their life. Or how after using the tools in the last months have been the most peaceful ever.

What do you think WeAreFutureLeaders guests will gain from your talk?

I want to raise the awareness of our Futureleaders to make sure they look after themselves and their teams so they can be optimally productive. To inspire our FutureLeaders to find more balance in their life.

What are your top three tips for success?

In my book Softer Success I write about ‘re-defining success for yourself’

After all what is the point of being successful if you are stressed, overworked and overwhelmed? I would like to invite women to look at their life to understand what success means for them.

My three super simple tips for success are:

  1. Know your stress triggers
  2. Know what you will do to manage this stress
  3. Use this strategy to manage stress every day

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

Dealing with difficult people and ego’s

Managing cash flow

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

My grandmother. An incredibly strong woman who dealt with some major issues in her life.

My friend who is a doctor and has two children. One of them disabled. She has incredible pressure but manages so well and has such great love for her children. An amazing woman.

Arianna Huffington at Thrive Global. She is feminine, honest and on a mission to help others

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Asking for help. Way too many of my clients and women that come to my workshops are afraid to ask for help.  My book ‘Softer Success’ shows women simple tips on how to ask for help, say ‘no’ and learn to set boundaries.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Less competition. I see so much of it in organisations. And there is still a taboo on talking about ‘stress’ and mental health. This needs to change as I see so many people that are on sick leave because of stress.  No wonder the World Health Organization states that by 2020 work related stress and burnout are in the top health concerns.

We are working too hard, it’s so important to switch off!

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Go with the flow more and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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