Mila is a keynote speaker, culture scientist, and visionary who partners with leaders, businesses, universities, and communities to drive change, instill empowerment, and courage in the way we lead and cultivate our human capital through diversity, inclusivity, innovative fluid culture, catalytic conscious actions and leadership development.
Mila believes every human has limitless potential to be and become their best versions when the constant epidemic of fear is shifted into courage and empowerment. Her research on The 3 Degrees of Fear provides insight on how our identity and ability to perform at an optimal level morphs when we experience fear at a nuanced level. She uses her research to train, coach, and impact businesses and organizations to elevate retention rate, increase culture of trust, innovation, morale, performance, and most importantly a sense of belonging.
Mila has spent over 20 years in researching and learning the evolving culture of people and organizational behaviour around the world. In addition, her career includes her contribution as an Engineer, TPM for fortune 500 companies and an educator which then led her to becoming the CEO of her own company - Chief of Hearts.
Mila’s background is in Human Conditioning, Organizational Communication, Public Relations and in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
THIS IS MY STORY...
Child Abuse That Broke Me
I was a quiet and introverted young girl who saw the world from a different perspective - A perspective of wanting others to embody kindness. As a child, I was a slow learner and wasn’t “smart” according to society’s label. I was constantly called fat, ugly, dumb, black skinned, and stupid. I was physically, verbally, and mentally abused by my teachers between the age of 8 to 12.
The abuse went on everyday during the school week and looked for refuge at home. I felt the safest when I was at home with my mum, dad, and siblings. I dreaded going to school as I would replay the experience of getting slapped, knocked on the head, my head being banged on the wall , my hair pulled - as that occurred everyday without fail. I contemplated suicide at the age of 11 and 12 as I could not take the abuse and remained silent with the fear of disappointing my parents that I wasn’t good enough.
Cruelty At Its Finest
Having a close lens scrutinize every part of my identity was killing me. Not a day passed by that I did not hear toxic words about my image, weight, and about my worth. I had strangers spew hateful words, my relatives spew condescending words not only about myself but of my mum, dad and my siblings. I have never witnessed this calibre of hatred in my entire life before. I witnessed this kind of jealousy, back stabbing, wanting others to fail, and two faced words kind of behaviour during my teenage years.
I became a bulimic during my secondary school years as I wanted to fit into society’s beauty standards. I vomited my meals. I did that for 4 years of my teenage years. Until, one day something snapped in me......
I started replacing my hatred towards my self worth and self with love. I blocked out all the cruel relatives. Their constant cruel, toxic words affected my mum in a detrimental manner. I witnessed her crying from the hateful words spewed onto her by her own siblings. She would not stand up for her self or speak up as she felt oppressed by her own siblings' words undermining her ability. It became too much for her to take to a point where she had multiple strokes and a final stroke which paralyzed her. That was the learning moment for me that words have power and how important it is to use words with kindness and actions with empathy.
Relapses Allowed Me to See
The Person I Am
Life isn’t linear, growth isn’t linear, success isn’t linear, struggles aren’t linear, and neither is failure.
I learnt a valuable lesson during my corporate career that failures do not define who I am, my skill set, my worth in life, and my ability to continue to shine. Corporate America is indeed a dog eat dog world regardless of the false culture it has been packaged in the name of PR and marketing. I somehow ended up in teams that were controlled by petty tyrants.
My childhood of getting abused flashed right before my eyes. Only this time, I wasn’t a child and the abuse wasn’t physical but it was abuse that stripped me of my voice, oppressed me of my identity, pigeonholed me as a foreigner, and reduced my worth. To be picked on everything I did and for my character to get defamed wrongfully shackled me. Fear was instilled in me everyday by my managers and was reprimanded for speaking up. Projects that provided growth to me were removed when I disagreed or brought light to improvements. I was treated worse than a 3rd class citizen. I held on for so long as I was the breadwinner for my family. To experience abuse again for 2 years pushed me to contemplate suicide again. I felt worthless because I was reminded on a daily basis by my managers that I had no skills and I was not capable of anything.
I lived in fear and anxiety every day for 2 years reliving my childhood. I was afraid to share what I was going through as I saw what had happened to my other colleagues who disagreed or challenged these managers. This was when the love in me pushed me to speak for myself and for those whose voices were stripped.
I walked away from my corporate career to save my own sanity and myself. At this point, all I wanted was to see kindness on earth. The hate injected into us through society, work, schools, in our families is powerful to destroy us. Why not channel that hatred into something that will allow us as humans to become continuously. This is when I took time to recover from trauma for over 10 months and started my movement on “Fear Has A Face”.
What Broke Me, Made Me
Events in our lives occur and recur to warn us, push us to make a change. I was broken 3 times in my life by hefty experiences and all of them were supposed to happen for me to learn, grow, think big, and to make an impact not only for myself but for others.
The final experience of abuse during my thirties truly was a catalyst for me to take action and spread strength to those who have buried theirs.
I learnt valuable lessons that life isn’t linear, we are entitled to our happiness, growth, we can pick ourselves up without needing validation and the words or feedback of others does not define us. We define ourselves.
Creating a safe space for our humans to grow, learn, build, and impact exponentially. When we become catalysts of heartship, we are empowering our humans to have their voice, build their identity, and to take ownership.