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Can Women Have It All? Series

Spotlight #5: Mônica Zionede Hall

Mother’s Day and International Women's Day may have passed, but our celebration of remarkable women continues! Welcome to the latest instalment of our series, "Can Women Have It All?" where we introduce you to another extraordinary mom.

Throughout this series, I've had the honour of conversing with a diverse array of women who excel at balancing careers, families, and personal aspirations. From entrepreneurs and accountants to lawyers and business owners, these women defy stereotypes and inspire us with their stories. Have you seen our previous conversations? Check out what Janani Jayachandar, Jaerey Velasco, Lena Wong and Tracy Ho had to say. 

The next person on our list is Mônica Zionede Hall. On her LinkedIn, she shares that she is a Consulting | Coach | Trainer & Facilitator | Mentor | Speaker | Proud Mother | Meditator | Yogini | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advocate | Board Director at RESOLVE | Lifelong Learner. While this encapsulates a lot of her roles, it is safe to say that she is not only incredible but also an inspiration to us all. A bit more about Mônica is below. 

Mônica Zionede Hall, Founder & CEO of FELIZ Consulting, brings with her over two decades of experience in corporate training and coaching, serving Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and individuals not only in the APAC region, but worldwide. With a BA in International Relations and Politics and certifications in coaching and various psychometric tools, Mônica is committed to personal development and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her clients include prestigious organizations such as Securities and Futures Commission, MetLife, Richemont Group and leading law firms. Alongside her corporate work, Mônica is a proud advocate for DEI, serving as a Board Director for RESOLVE Foundation and volunteering with several NGOs. She is passionate about making a positive impact through her work and enjoys traveling, reading, listening to interesting podcasts, going on hikes, playing pickleball and doing yoga. She is the mother to two “kids” and a dog - a 19-year-old daughter on her way to university in the Fall, a 17-year-old son in his two years of IB and a 15-year-old Hong Kong rescued dog. 

Here is what Mônica has to say!

How do you navigate the balance between your career, family, and personal aspirations? 

I feel this is a common question especially to women. The first step is to be kind to ourselves, understanding that some days or weeks will be more balanced than others. For me, staying true to my priorities and values is key, along with doing my best to manage my time effectively. Despite the perception that running my own business for nearly nine years might make balancing easier, it actually requires a great deal of effort and discipline. I allocate “proper time” for work-related tasks such as meetings, proposals, training, and coaching, ensuring I'm not interrupted. Likewise, I make sure to set aside “proper time”  for my family and friends, rather than squeezing it in between work tasks. This includes planning hikes, coffee shop visits, lunches, and monthly book club meetings, as well as spending time with my husband and kids during the week and on weekends. As for my personal aspirations, they are aligned with my values and the goal of balance of career and family. So, it falls into place, and I just keep going. I like to use the analogy of “riding the wave”. I do my best to “ride the wave” of life.

Can you share specific strategies or routines that have helped you maintain this balance? 

Sure! One of my regular practices is mindfulness meditation, which I do every morning using the Calm app for just 10 minutes. It sets a positive tone for the day. I also do 3 things I am grateful for and write my mood that morning (all part of the same app functions).  I also do 25 push ups every morning to get my energy up before starting the day! As for other strategies, I prioritize journaling and avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings throughout the week. If I have meetings spaced out, like at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 3 p.m., I ensure there's ample time (or I try to!) in between or leave the afternoon open. On busy weeks of corporate training, where I need to expend a lot of energy, I take a day off in between sessions to recharge, maybe go to the beach or do a longer walk. So, this often involves activities like beach visits, morning walks with my husband, or listening to podcasts or audiobooks. I believe in alternating work tasks with personal and family activities to maintain balance. 

I also believe in exercising regularly to keep a healthy mind and healthy body. I play pickleball at least once a week on Sundays, I do walks two to three times a week, and go to the gym at Soho House at least once a week too. In terms of other specific suggestions, the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear has been instrumental in shaping my routines, and I highly recommend it. The podcast episode on journaling with Dr Rangan Chatterjee is also amazing!

What challenges have you encountered in trying to "have it all," and how have you overcome them? 

We all encounter challenges in life. That is part of being a human. Can we have it all?! Or do we already have it all?! Is this a question that we ever ask a man? Here is some food for thought to question our biases and double standards. I think “having it all” is also a state of mind, which requires being grateful and reflecting on where we are.

In your journey, how important have support systems, such as family, friends, or workplace support, been in achieving a sense of balance? 

Support systems have been incredibly important and crucial in my life! I feel very fortunate to have a solid group of friends and a few in particular who have been my rock in my personal and professional life. The past two years have been particularly challenging with my mother's passing during the COVID-19 pandemic, my brother's battle with ALS, and my daughter embarking on a gap year in Brazil after finishing high school  (the empty nest thing is real- at least for me! In many ways it has been like life grief to me).  Amidst these personal challenges, managing and expanding a business has also proven demanding. While my business has thrived, even during the pandemic, I could not have done it without my family support to keep it all moving forward. So, having my husband, friends, family and supportive clients too has been crucial! 

How have mothers' events like mum meet-ups helped you out? 

As my kids are older, already 17 and 19 years old now, I don’t attend these kinds of formal mum groups anymore. I remember participating in playdate groups in Hong Kong and Singapore, and that was amazing and necessary at the time. With older kids, the dynamic has changed, and in my experience, I tend to have smaller group gatherings with people who have gone through similar journeys with third-culture kids growing up in Asia. However, for my 17-year-old son, we have a group of five moms on WhatsApp, and we call our group MOBS (Mother of Boys) - we really help each other and our teenage boys. With my daughter I have other mother friends all over the world and we support each other with calls, messages, tears and laughter at different moments. So, mum meet-ups and connections are for sure important!

Thank you to Mônica for sharing her insights - it’s great to learn from someone who has experienced different stages. If you're seeking a supportive community of like-minded women who can assist you in both your personal and professional life, be sure to check out our upcoming events and connect with some amazing women.

Feel like you need more support? I also offer one-on-one coaching to help you unlock your inner wisdom and achieve balance in all aspects of your life!

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