A life peppered with dance, faith and family—as winding as the Paraná River—this is the story of Carola Berra…
So how does a mother of four, an elementary school teacher, wind up reinventing herself, starting a new career path utilizing body language and effective communications—reaching out to the private and public sectors—grooming both in the art of “Deep Listening?”
Let’s go back and find out…
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in 1969) Carola was the youngest of a brood of eight children (six brothers, one sister).
“We were a large and loving family, tight-knit and yet full of diversity. As they say, “En la cantidad esta la variedad” (In quantity is the variety).”
Carola’s mother, while a hands on mom, was also an elementary school teacher, while her father Jorge was a surgeon and also a professor at a medical school. But it was perhaps her eldest brother Jorge who shook the middle-class lass from her comfort zone of horse-back riding and hanging out with friends.
“My big brother was involved with the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo). This was the human rights group so deeply involved in finding the children kidnapped during the Argentine Dirty War. He provoked deeper thoughts and a free-thinking attitude which would serve me well as my life progressed.”
Raised in a traditional practicing Catholic family, Carola had strong religious leanings and attended many Christian retreats as a teen-ager. At the age of seventeen, while attending one such retreat, Carola met Pablo, the man she would ultimately marry (the marriage has spanned twenty-six years and is still going strong).
My mission is to enable anyone, from any walk if life, with the ability to re-emerge from the status quo, through different communicational strategies—utilizing games, body exercise and drama.
“Pablo was twenty-two when we met. He was studying law at the time. Four years later we were married. Fifteen days later I was pregnant!”
The couple’s first son, Joaquin was born. By this time Pablo was a practicing attorney and Carola decided to go back to school (Colegio Maria Auxiliadora) to get her teaching credentials.
Two-years into this idyllic but staid life another son was born (Mateo) and two years later daughter Magdalena arrived on the scene…
“I had my own kindergarten at home and so I quit teaching and became a full-time mom,” Carola says with an easy laugh…
The growing family moved into a big home in the rural suburbs of Buenos Aires (Lujan) and that’s when Carola became something of a hobbyist, albeit in the physical sense—playing tennis, taking dance classes and very much living the life of a middle-class mother and wife of a successful man—but she soon began to bore—a sort of intellectual atrophy set it.
“When my daughter was four I took a job as a manager at Argentina’s first Howard Johnson hotel. It was pivotal in that I learned management skills, the ability to communicate with a diverse collection of people.”
And then death came calling, but so did new life, and to complete the trifecta, a change in career course.
“My parents passed away within five-months of one another; shortly thereafter I had another child Simon. It was at this time that I also began working with my brother Juan.”
The loss of her parents, the birth of a boy and the coupling of a new business venture with her brother propelled Carola into a journey which would ultimately define her future.
“Juan was immersed in religion, spirituality and philosophy. He created workshops, a school of New Humanity and Creators based upon the prevention of addiction (Juan had previously worked with addicts).
“I was both absorbed and captivated and soon began my own workshops working with students, parents and teachers in the communications side of the issue of addiction.”
Meanwhile, Pablo had created his own Post Graduate School of Law at the same time becoming a valued consultant for family businesses.
“I’d found my niche. Workshops in communication seemed very much my bailiwick. I felt I’d been gifted with the skill-set of guidance, of moving people along—enhancing and empowering.”
By 2012 (utterly frustrated by the direction of politics in Argentina), Carola, Pablo and their family made the move to Weston, Florida. Pablo immersed himself in research at FIU (Florida International University), returning monthly to maintain his school in Buenos Aires.
Carola, transitioned seamlessly, simply applying her communications skill-set and culling from her spiritual journey by creating workshops for fellow ex-pats. Her initial workshop De Desterradas a Reinventadas (From Banished to Reinvented) found her engaged in the process of adaptation of the expatriate in their new environment.
Whether conflict resolution or addiction prevention, Carola’s reach spans from the homeless to the top tiers of the social and intelligentsia stratosphere…
“My mission is to enable anyone, from any walk if life, with the ability to re-emerge from the status quo, through different communicational strategies—utilizing games, body exercise and drama.”
Carola is currently working with the Instituto IDEF|Empresa y Familia (Argentina) where she leads the Family Behavioral and Best Practice of Communication Department. She also lectures on Corporal Communication at the CESM under the Spiritual Companioning Program.
Latinarrific salutes Carola Berra…