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Tia Kansara, WIA Catalyst, London, UK

Tia is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur. The youngest to ever receive the Royal Institute British Architects honorary fellowship, she is the co-founder of Kansara Hackney Ltd, the first ISO-certified sustainable lifestyle consultancy, and CEO of Replenish Earth Ltd, the first Net Positive!


WIA: How did you come upon the Women’s Impact Alliance (WIA)?

Tia: I was quite lucky! I was part of a community that promotes women, and someone recommended that I apply. They said, “Why don’t you check this out?” And I did!

I remember looking at the website and seeing Amelia Earhart. I was so curious about this incredible woman. Through her and others, I learned more about the type of women who become part of WIA, women my age who often don’t put themselves forward, and who regularly face imposter syndrome. Whilst learning more about the WIA community, I felt how helpful it would be to me. I wanted to learn how to heal generational ancestral trauma from my life. It was becoming obvious that I would somehow need to connect all of these different pieces from my ancestry and ethnicity to divine a new existential reality for myself.

I remember seeing other women on the website, also social entrepreneurs; many identified with being planet-first really spoke to me. That was when I realized I’d arrived home because I wasn’t looking for general business coaching. I wanted a deeply intuitive and emotional experience with a level of camaraderie that I don’t find in society.

WIA: What was your situation when you learned about WIA?

Tia: I was in the Winter 2015 cohort and was moving from the UK to India to join a research team at the Centre of Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT). I knew design and research for smart cities in India would become a very important issue, and that’s exactly how I wanted to apply my Ph.D. research.

WIA: What was your experience like being a Catalyst?

Tia: I loved it. My experience has been really positive. I remember finishing my cohort and thinking we should have an alumni gathering, and that’s why I spearheaded the governing aspects of the Alumni Association, which was amazing and great fun. I had just come out of a community where I did something similar, so this felt like a natural way to give back.

WIA: Tell me about your coach and your relationship with your coach.

Tia: I’ve had two coaches, Karen and Sharon. Karen was brilliant. She introduced me to bodywork - I’d never experienced this much connection to sensations and feelings! She had such refined attunement that it rubbed off on me. With any loud aspirations…she’d suggest backtracking a couple of steps to understand why my tone had changed. Imagine having that much sensitivity. Changes in my rhythm would deepen her curiosity. And we would relate that to some magical past moment that would uncover something telling. It’s almost as if you find something in the present moment that relates to a past memory and the physical somatic experience of that memory. You go all the way back to the first time the event happened. It could be childhood, and it could be teenage years or whenever. I call it the ‘domino effect’ to return to the moment for re-narration and then forwards to the present moment healing everything related to it along the way.

I was intellectually led before I met Karen. This was the beginning of my journey to get into my body and feel things. I realized I was living in my emotional pain body. Previously I’d felt really uncomfortable talking about my emotions, and I’d easily become avoidant. Karen helped me to see what it was that I needed to open up.

With my second coach, Sharon, I wrote down everything I wanted to work on. The alignment with her was perfect because of her expertise in executive business coaching and relocations. What an epic journey. I remember one of the best questions Sharon ever asked me, for its simplicity, yet so complex to answer, was, “what are your emotional needs?”

The question surprised me so much that I didn’t know how to answer it when it related to my relationships. I meandered around answering it; it made me squirm, trying to vocalize these to others, never mind myself! What I was learning was the intensity of being in a relationship and clearly communicating what my needs were/are.

Sharon has seen me through this entire process of a long-distance relationship whilst also appreciating that I was on a deeply personal journey of transformation in Kauai, one that I equate to a rite of passage.

WIA: How did your coaching experience impact your social work?

Tia: Massively. Everything that I do has a connection with the planet and the self. So for me, the bridge between myself and my relationship with my mission is this consciousness.

WIA: Would you tell me more about Replenish Earth?

Tia: Replenish Earth is really simple. We’ve structured our economic growth around waste. Replenish is about closing the gap between wasteful behavior/design and a nature-positive, net-positive impact on the planet. Replenish Earth has given millions an immersive, multi-sensory experience of nature with exhibitions, conferences, retreats, and online content. Replenish Earth has created foresight tools to develop moonshots for executive leadership and created thousands of jobs for people who value the Replenish Ecosystem.

WIA: How did your WIA coaching experience influence how you lead?

Tia: If I couldn’t lead myself, I wouldn’t be comfortable leading others. I’ve realized the deep inner work that must take place for me to hold any space for another person.

WIA: What was your experience like engaging with other Catalysts?

Tia: My experience was, “I’m not doing it alone.” I still have this wound of not feeling comfortable asking for help. But I think I’m slowly learning how to manifest, ask and claim where necessary. In our group chats, we were able to connect on topics that are often too personal to share. It’s actually quite tough to meet a group of women doing the work simultaneously because their work is so personal to them. I’ve desired a better container to be comfortable with that and have more trust in this community to help hold me up. Because I think we come from different cultures and mindsets about what a woman can do - even that in itself, I’m finding a good opportunity to lean into that.

WIA: How would you explain the Women’s Impact Alliance to somebody you think would benefit from this experience?

Tia: A beautiful quote comes to mind: “If you want to do well, do it yourself and if you want to go further, do it together.” You discuss things with your coach that you wouldn’t share with anybody else. You develop a level of trust that you didn’t know was possible. My coach may tell me things she doesn’t tell anybody, and I feel just as appreciative of that vulnerability that this is truly a place where I can be vulnerable without being judged.

WIA: Can you please share your thoughts on the WIA as an organization?

Tia: The organization has been like an arrow, really focused on helping to transform the lives of many women. I only know a few other organizations, like the WIA, that provide such a high level of affordable coaching. It feels like the organization had met me when I needed it most, but who knew I needed it? It’s really about being seen but in this intimate way. So I love that this organization is an example of why this way of communicating and relating with each other really works.

WIA: One word to describe your coaching experience?

Tia: Reciprocal. It’s just a beautiful relationship with my coaches and with Jane, the organization, and just being part of her journey.

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