Empowering Work and Life: A Conversation with Louise Gilbert, Director of The Intime Collective

Louise Gilbert, the dynamic Director of The Intime Collective. In addition to her leadership role, Louise wears many hats – a professional speaker, soon-to-be-published author of ‘Make Work Work for You,’ executive coach, mentor, and facilitator. Her mission is clear: to empower people to bring their best to both work and life.

Defining Moments and Authenticity in Leadership

When asked about defining moments in her career, Louise reflects on the journey rather than a single event. Small wins, authenticity, and staying true to herself have propelled her forward. “I try to stay in my lane where there’s less traffic and be authentic to who I am and what I stand for,” she shares. This approach has led to validation and recognition, contributing to her influential position today. As a leader, Louise believes in the power of diverse ideas and draws inspiration from various contexts. Encouraging her team to explore and discover, she advocates for the importance of divergence before convergence. Her leadership style is adaptive and inclusive and she incorporates playfulness and a safe space for experimentation, guided by the idea that “creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Louise addresses gender-related challenges by normalizing conversations around diverse needs. For example, in face-to-face workshops, she ensures inclusivity by providing sensory processing tools such as fidgets as standard practice. Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is evident in the initiatives implemented within her organization. Louise emphasizes the need for leaders to be curious, to seek to understand first and to make their implicit assumptions explicit to work towards creating a work place suitable for the world of work.

As we look ahead to 2024, Louise is gearing up for the launch of her book, ‘Make Work Work for You.’ This project is a testament to her commitment to supporting leaders in creating a more significant impact. When asked about her leadership impact, Louise modestly notes, “We’re just getting started!” – a promising statement that suggests more accomplishments are on the horizon. Louise attributes much of her success to relationships, emphasizing the importance of connection in personal and professional growth. Throughout her career, she has actively sought mentors and valued the guidance and wisdom they provided. Today, Louise pays it forward by playing a mentoring and coaching role for others within and outside her industry, recognizing the transformative power of mentorship.

Louise Gilbert’s perspective on work-life balance goes beyond the traditional narrative. She defines it as a life of fulfillment in all aspects and actively works on three key strategies. She emphasizes minimizing ‘work-life contamination,’ recognizing the potential harm of work stress impacting home life. Secondly, she advocates for preventing ‘work-life whiplash’ by consciously acknowledging and managing the shifts between work and home. Lastly, Louise engages in small experiments, trying things that benefit her work, home, herself, and the community. The key is constant experimentation, allowing her to find what truly works. As a seasoned professional, Louise anticipates significant trends shaping the future of work. The increasing rates of burnout and work-related stress, combined with the shift towards the gig economy, underscore the need for organizational-level systemic change. She highlights the importance of addressing the needs of marginalized groups, such as women and neurodivergent individuals. The rise of AI and technological advancements calls for a reevaluation of our approach to work, emphasizing the concept of energy of the mind over traditional work-life balance.

To stay ahead of emerging trends, Louise actively participates in various communities and groups focused on the future of work. Her advice for young women aspiring to leadership roles in her field is empowering: leadership is a behavior, not just a position. She encourages them to start now, observe, seek guidance, support, and feedback from diverse sources. Within The Intime Collective, Louise prioritizes continuous learning and development. Feedback loops are ingrained in every aspect of their work. Reflecting on the founding story of her business, Louise emphasizes the importance of being close to customers to learn and adapt. The ability to evolve based on client needs has been crucial to the success and growth of her organization.

Louise Gilbert, in her insightful perspective, underscores the need for all leaders (to enhance their capacity to navigate complexity. In an environment where clear-cut solutions are scarce, cultivating the ability to lead through uncertainty becomes crucial. Louise advocates for actively building this capacity, encouraging experimentation and nudging forward to drive meaningful change. She is covering this in her book.

Self compassion in Leadership

We see that self compassion is a cornerstone of Louise’s leadership approach. She recognizes its significance in fostering strong connections and navigating the intricacies of leadership. In cultivating self compassion within her team, she emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and labeling challenges. This simple yet effective approach creates a foundation for normalizing challenges and not getting hooked into the emotional seduction they often bring.

Navigating Setbacks and Challenges

Louise’s journey has equipped her with a toolbox of strategies to handle setbacks and challenges. One approach she leans on often is that she approaches challenges with a true sense of excitement, gamifying them in her mind and exploring alternative solutions. Having a safe place to land, both within herself and with her family, provides crucial support during challenging times.

Shaping an Impactful Legacy

Looking ahead, Louise envisions a legacy as an influential woman leader that extends beyond 2024. Her commitment to the principles “I am enough,” “Let your driving force be love not fear,” and “Always be ready to punch above your weight” encapsulates the essence of her leadership philosophy when it comes to leading herself. These mottos reflect self-empowerment, a focus on positive motivation, and a willingness to exceed expectations – values that she hopes will inspire others to reach new heights in their leadership journeys.

Louise shares three personal mottos that have been instrumental in her leadership journey. “I am enough” emphasizes self-worth and confidence, reminding leaders to embrace their capabilities. “Let your driving force be love not fear” underscores the power of positive motivation in leadership, fostering collaboration and growth. Lastly, “Always be ready to punch above your weight” encourages leaders to challenge themselves, exceed expectations, and strive for excellence.

Louise Gilbert emerges as a distinguished leader whose journey is marked by resilience, vision, and an unwavering commitment to growth. Her ability to navigate challenges and shape the future of leadership is not only an inspiration for women leaders but resonates with individuals aspiring to make a positive impact. With a focus on embracing complexity, prioritizing emotional intelligence, and fostering a culture of continuous learning, Louise encourages a holistic approach to leadership that transcends gender boundaries. Her legacy, grounded in self-belief and positive motivation, leaves an enduring mark on the landscape of leadership and serves as a guiding light for those seeking to excel in their professional journeys.