Interview with Tulia Lopes, co-founder of the AWE Summit

The AWE Summit this year will take place at the Volkshaus in Zurich starting at 10 am on the 1st of October. During the first day of the event six women leaders will perform on stage talking about what success means to them and the correlation between successful and fulfilling life? All these women are successful entrepreneurs, career women and mothers, who have found the precious seed of living a fulfilling and meaningful life. They certainly have a lot to share about the challenges along the way and the inner wisdom they’ve built while chasing their dreams.

The second day of the AWE Summit is a workshop: Speak Up & Earn and the focus will be placed on “mastering communication and using every speaking engagement to boost your business and career”.

 This is the second part of our conversation with the founder and CEO of the AWE Summit Tulia Lopes. This time we are getting more intimate with Tulia about her personal life journey and what living a life on purpose means.


Tsitaliya: Why do you think stories have become so important in the the way we market ourselves and our businesses?

Tulia: Stories have been told through generations to pass information, knowledge, to build relations, to inspire. Stories are emotional which is why people remember stories, not facts. Plus each one of us has a story to share. Stories engage and make businesses “human”. When you see a top leader, telling a personal story you feel close to that person. The title doesn’t matter any more and a bond is created. We need to trust before following. And this is why storytelling is crucial in business presentations nowadays. “They” finally got it. :-)

Tsitaliya: Do you feel you lead a life on purpose?

Tulia: I believe deep down we all search for a “purpose” in life. It can be the purpose of life itself, or our own purpose. I believe once we feel there is a purpose to be here on this earth, we start searching for it. It can be overwhelming sometimes, however, once it “hits” you, once you feel it, once you get that “aha” moment, then all falls into place and the mind and heart rest. The anxiety is gone. You have this inner confidence that you are in the right path.

Since I left college – I studied Architecture- I took upon my shoulders several different challenges = opportunities. I have this “almost compulsive” need to be out of my comfort zone; a constant need for learning. In other words, I am constantly challenging myself. However, there are times in life when we feel we need to create some professional stability, and settle down.

I’m from Brazil where the word stability is not really part of our daily lives; we have this subconscious “warning” in the back of our minds that makes us to be in an “alert mode” and ready to reinvent ourselves constantly. Therefore, stability which leads to the believe that “I have a safe job, a safe future”, was never part of my life. And the European crisis in 2008 confirmed that to me, that stability doesn’t exist. We have to be ready to start over and over as many times as necessary. I had a small business back in the time in Spain and was one of the directly affected by the economy crush. It was a tough experience, however, a very important one in my life. It helped me find my foundations again and what I believe is my purpose.

Back to your question, having an inner certainty that we all have a purpose and that whatever happens in our lives it is part of our learning and growth as human beings, helps us to take every step in our lives as an opportunity to make a difference and grow a step further. Everything is for a purpose, everyone has a mission to fulfill.

My own mission I believe is to move people into action and create a positive impact in their lives, to help them find their own inner strength, and purpose.


Tsitaliya: Why do you think is important for every woman to find her purpose, to know her talents and to follow her dream?

Tulia: It is important to everyone, especially women, to “have the certainty” that they have a right to “dream”, to “aim” for something big, meaningful for themselves. I’m not talking about aiming the best for the family, the kids and your husband. I’m talking about you as a person.  It is perfectly ok (and indeed necessary) to make time for your own goals and dreams. I see all the time women, especially mothers, who tend to put everybody else as a priority, and forget they also have the right to achieve greatness.

Tsitaliya: Confidence and women – how can we start building our confidence (it might be not as public speakers, but in life) – can you give us three significant steps how to do it?

Tulia: I believe it should start from the time when we are children. I keep telling my friends “please stop raising princesses because your girls might end up choosing frogs”. If we empower our girls from the beginning, using assertive and empowering language, they will develop strong. We should also not forget to teach our boys how to respect women. And everything in parenthood happens with examples, kids replicate what they see and experience in their homes and schools. Communication is KEY for this. Your choice of words can literally empower or disempower your kids. Stay aware.

You might think that it is impossible to turn back time and fix what you have already learned from your parents, but I disagree. I strongly believe everything starts with self-awareness. Once you decide to “dedicate time for yourself and your development you start asking what do I want?What would make me feel happier and stronger?” Right there at that moment doors start opening and answers show. However, many of us don’t find the time to go through the process, which is not an easy one, so it feels easier if we stay out of it. It requires first the willingness to change. To summarize: start your confidence journey with a serious conversation with yourself to uncover the areas you believe you should improve, and need support with.

Second define who can help and where you can find support. Reach out and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. Give yourself permission to “have”, and “be”. Finally: Commit to it.