Alina Gutierrez

Changing your work-life to welcome more freedom and fulfillment is a process and a journey. Here we share stories of women who have done it, or who are doing it. This is a virtual treasure chest -- full of the challenges, struggles, lessons and insights of others -- which you can use to enrich your own path.

This month’s featured “woman on purpose” is Alina Gutierrez, a former customer representative and banker, who realized her life needed a shift. She’s currently designing and facilitating workshops with visual tools to help groups work better together, visualize their future and approach difficult conversations.                          

Describe the big shift you’ve made in your work-life. What led you to that change?

I used to work long hours and I would get home drained. I was losing myself and my essence at work, despite the great opportunities I was offered. I have always had this sense of needing to create and impact and work for a greater good. At the time, we (my husband and I) were thinking on starting a family and just picturing this lifestyle with little ones at home made me feel stressed. I wanted to create something that would help me feel self-fulfilled in my professional self, while still having some flexibility to be able to raise kids and spend time with my family.

What were you most fearful of in making that change?

I was scared to leave a job with good benefits and a promising career, to jump to the unknown. It was a financially risky and a bit unsettling. What would people think? What if it did not work?

How is your experience of life different now?

Nowadays, work recharges me., I am constantly thinking about new ideas and how to approach different opportunities. I get to spend time with my kids in the morning without rushing them out of bed, and I get to do activities with them in the afternoon before starting a bedtime routine. I often work after I put the kids to bed, but I enjoy having the freedom to divide my workday up that way. I can take vacations at any time during the year, or I let my family take vacations by bringing them to visit their grandparents while I work remotely from Colombia.

I might work more hours a week, but I feel recharged because I am constantly facing challenges that motivate me to keep working and growing my practice and myself. I want my boys to grow up with an image of a self-empowered mom who loves what she does and who cares about them and about the community around them.  

What’s your biggest concern in this moment?

Entrepreneurship is a great journey, but it is also a roller coaster. There are up and downs financially, emotionally and in time requirements. Not having enough work causes me to feel stressed,  while it gives me more time to spend with my family. On the other hand, having too much work also creates stress, because I feel I do not get to be with my boys as much. Finding the right balance is hard, really hard.

What are you most excited about going forward?

I am excited about all the possibilities unfolding right in front of me. I am excited to face the challenge of changing the way people work in teams, to bring creativity to the workplace and to help companies have a better work environment so employees are empower and feel happy to come to work. I would love to work with communities and community organizations to use visual tools to create a more systemic impact.  

If you could travel back in time, what’s one piece of advice that your current self wishes that you could tell your former self?

Never let anyone step on yourself or tell you that you do not have what it takes to make it!

About Alina

Alina is a creative consultant from Montreal born in Medellin (Colombia). She is a former banker, a mom of two working to live her dream and convert her passion to her day job. You can connect with Alina online here - Website: visualversa.com | Facebook: facebook.com/visualversa |Instagram: instagram.com/visualversa