Hi! I’m Kat. The only box you can put in is the one labeled curiosity. But I’m not dead yet!
I grew up in Lebanon hating school so much that I failed 10th grade because I was busy reading romance novels. Maybe civil war and strife had something to do with it too. When I realized that education was my ticket out of Lebanon and into a world of independence and adventure, I kicked myself in the butt and got into a U.S. college, where the magic of learning anything I was curious about took over. I was hooked on learning like I had never been before.
Holy cow, the options! I took 21 credits a semester (any courses I could from Anthropology to Theater to Marine Sciences, Music and Electronics.) I found out that ‘discovery’ was my drug. I loved learning about new things and documenting what they meant to me.
My itch for new experiences took me to Boston, Cape Cod, the South of France, Dubai, China, Bali and Mumbai. I worked my butt off, devoured books, traveled to every city I could find affordable tickets to and tried every sport I could (rock climbing, wake boarding, snow boarding, snow showing, roller hockey, cycling, swimming, rubgy.. you name it!).
Then motherhood changed everything for me. My life and my priorities were flipped on their heads and nothing made sense or carried meaning beyond nurturing my babies and spending time with them. All three of them. That’s when I became all about home-made organic baby food, and child development and the harmful effects of sugar and education quality in schools and environmental sustainability so they have a planet to live on.
As I dusted off the rubble of motherhood and tried to make sense of who I had become, I realized that technology without humanity was no longer an option for me. By creating people I had discovered creativity and I was addicted. I did a full career about-face and while I learnt how to be a better parent, I wrote a book and dabbled in art, and got myself certified in all kinds of coaching and people things. I started teaching entrepreneurship and discovered design thinking and fell in love with everything creativity and innovation and social change.
I wanted to touch people’s lives and make them better so I expanded my skill set to include empathy, connection, deep listening and intuition (in addition to observation, reasoning, logic, and problem solving). I developed a framework on how creatives and entrepreneurs fail, and as my husband and I decided to move to the U.S. (for our kids!) I got drawn into yet another rabbit hole: leadership and strategy.
Some people call me a jack of all trades, master of none, some people say I never get really exceptional at anything and they’re right. But they’ve missed the point, because I’m not trying to be. I’m a collector, not a master. I’m a collector of experiences and memories.
The Professional Bio
Dr Katagyna Niewiadomska Shalhoub is an author, speaker and certified coach with experience in both technical and artistic endeavors. She is a certified facilitator in several psychometric diagnostic tools (e.g. Emotional Intelligence) and an accredited trainer and facilitator passionate about understanding creativity, fulfillment and failure.
Shalhoub has degrees in Electrical and Ocean Engineering, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her Master’s degree, and completed her PhD in Marine Optics with high distinction. In 2015, she gave a TEDx Talk on the Power of Distraction at Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi.
Katagyna taught Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Business Schools in the Middle East and Shanghai. She has trained, coached and consulted for multinationals, NGOs and Governmental Organizations.
Select speaking and facilitation engagements:
- International Coach Federation Converge Conference, Prague, Czeck Republic
- Southern Oregon Creativity Conference, Oregon, USA World Coaching Congress, Mumbai, India
- International Coach Federation Converge Conference, Washington DC, USA
- Creative Rehab, Bali, Indonesia
- Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature, Dubai, UAE
- TEDx, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and UAE University, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE