Being Present, Planning for Pleasure, and Using Your Intuition

Season 4, Episode 8

Guest: Christine Renaud, CEO, Braindate by e180

How do we focus more on being, rather than doing? Christine Renaud, CEO of Braindate by e180, shares her perspective on the elements she leverages to live a more present, balanced life: intuition, energy and pleasure.



Podcast sponsored by JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa.Turnberry resort logo.

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Meet our guest:

Photo of Christine Renaud in red shirt with right hand over ear.Christine Renaud is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur and graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she completed her master’s in education as a Know Fellow in 2008. She is the CEO and co-founder of e180, a B-Corporation founded in Montreal in 2011 whose mission is to reinvent the way humans learn around the world. e180 is behind the innovative technology product Braindate, which has over a million users and has been used by the Skoll Forum, TED, Danone, Amazon and Airbnb, among others, to generate more collaborative learning among their members and employees.

In 2022 and 2023, Braindate was nominated for the Webby Awards, which are considered the “Oscars of the internet.” Since then, Christine has distinguished herself as a sought-after editorial writer and speaker, sharing her experience with collaborative learning and her vision for the future of learning at events such as the World Innovation Summit in Education (Doha, Qatar), SXSW & SXSWedu (Austin, USA), Morgan Stanley Women’s Leadership Summit (Chicago, USA), C2 Montreal (Montreal, Canada), Creative Mornings (Montreal, Canada), re: publica (Berlin, Germany) and Tech Open Air (Berlin, Germany).

Christine Renaud was recognized in 2021 as a Most Outstanding International Impact Entrepreneur by the Quebec Businesswomen’s Network and in 2018 as one of the Canadian Inspiring Fifty, honoring 50 women shaping the future of technology in Canada. She also won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 by Startup Canada and was selected as one of the “Most Innovative People in the Events Industry” by New York publication Bizbash in 2015.

Most recently, she co-founded La Cabane, a creative learning center that allows children to learn by leading a meaningful life, surrounded by their families and rooted in their community. In 2021, she also published her first book, Effrontées, telling the story of 21 badass Québécoises.

When she’s not thinking about the learning revolution, she’s homeschooling her daughters, harvesting her flowers for some quirky creations, getting her hands dirty in clay, dancing under the disco ball of La Cabane, fermenting something, or boiling the maple sap from her communal-living-house in the country.

Christine's social media links:
Instagram: @_christinerenaud_


More about our host:

Photo of Courtney Stanley, standing.Courtney believes that transforming past experiences into impactful conversations through raw, authentic storytelling challenges the status quo, connects people from all walks of life and results in great change for the world.

  • Courtney is the youngest member to have ever been elected to Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) International Board of Directors
  • She is the recipient of Smart Meetings’ Entrepreneur Award, MeetingsNet’s Changemaker Award, the Association for Women in Events (AWE) Disruptor Award, the MPI Chairman’s Award and MPI RISE Award.
  • Named Collaborate and Connect Magazine’s 40 under 40 and a Meetings Today Trendsetter.
  • Recognized as one of the event industry’s most impactful change-makers.
  • Serves on the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, AWE’s Board of Directors, MPI’s Women’s Advisory Board, is a Meetings Mean Business Ambassador and is the co-founder of the award-winning movement, #MeetingsToo.
  • Named as a 2020 Meetings Trendsetter by Meetings Today

Connect with Courtney:


Editors note: The following transcription was facilitated by AI program and proofed by our editors. Although it is very accurate, there inevitably will be some mistakes, so please consider that when reading. Thank you.

Courtney Stanley  
This episode is brought to you by JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort and Spa. Hello, everybody. This is Courtney Stanley and welcome to another exciting episode of Dare to Interrupt, a listening experience where you have the opportunity to sit in on honest, unfiltered conversations with leaders who are considered to be the most influential, inspiring and innovative women in the world of events, hospitality, business and beyond. Throughout their careers, these leaders have dared to interrupt conversations, their own comfort zones and sometimes even societal norms to hustle toward their greatest levels of success. 

I am thrilled to introduce you to today's guest. Here with us we have Christine Renaud, CEO of Braindate by e180. Christine, it's great to have you here with us today. How are you?

Christine Renaud  
I'm great, Courtney, super happy to be here, too.

Courtney Stanley  
And how was my pronunciation of your last name?

Christine Renaud  
It was fantastic. Great job.

Courtney Stanley  
I was looking at your LinkedIn profile and something unusual caught my eye something in your profile headline that I loved. And I have to ask, what exactly does Witch in Training mean?

Christine Renaud  
So that's a great question. A Witch in Training refers to, I would say, my newfound interest for all things related to nature, and the female cycles and the female contribution and energies. And it's something I've been exploring for the past, I would say, two or three years. And it's something that I care for enough that I want to have more conversations about. 

So hence, I put it in my LinkedIn profile where it probably doesn't belong as of the standards of Lincoln, which makes me very happy, too.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, you know, breaking the standards is always exciting. And I think it leaves room for more interesting conversations. Have you had a lot of people ask you about Witch in Training? Do they message you on LinkedIn? How is that going?

Christine Renaud  
Um, yeah, that's such a good question. Again, it's really funny, because I kind of put it there as a way to generate a conversation. And I do see a lot of people when, for example, somebody is writing to me on LinkedIn, or an email, they will kind of go into confidence mode and tell me, you know, oh, and by the way, I'm also a priestess, you know, or they will share a part of their identity that could connect or relate to the idea of a Witch in Training, or even kind of just be very excited for me creating the space for them to be thrilled by just the idea of exploring what it means to be a witch in 2023. 

So yeah, definitely much more interest from women in business than I thought I would have.

Courtney Stanley  
What does it mean to be a witch in 2023? For somebody who's never heard the terms, you know, witchy or, you know, those fun ways that some women do describe themselves in 2023? How would you explain it to someone who's just hearing this for the first time?

Christine Renaud  
So my connection to witchcraft started when... I've been an event tech for for over 10 years. And so,  I'm in a space where I have my masculine energy. So, I use those those terms like masculine/feminine as a way to refer to what the world has called feminine or masculine energy for centuries. 

So, just the idea that masculine energy that is not just associated with men, but everybody has, is also on a spectrum, let's say of those feminine/masculine energies. So, masculine energy would be like the productivity, the go-getter and courage, and feminine energy would be more linked with a kind of contemplation, creativity, the act of creating connection, community, you know, the sun, the moon, these are all kind of, like, within traditions in terms of knowledge that belongs in different cultures. 

Like a [unintelligible] of those ideas and so many cultures, and so I've been in event tech for such a long time, and when people were asking me, "Did you ever have a problem raising capital. [Do] you have a problem being a woman in tech?" And I was always like, to be honest, I really don't--I performed pretty well. I've never felt that the fact that I was a woman was a problem in my industry. And to a point like, I will save you all the details, but I I felt that it was close to a burnout, and that my energy was actually depleted. 

So, I started to dig deeper into what was the problem, where was my energy going? Just to notice that I was actually, with the help of a couple of coaches and people around me, and women around me, just to notice that I was so rooted in what is called masculine energy that I had completely forgotten or never even really connected deeply to, like, the sensuality, the pleasure, the creativity, the contemplation, the you know, the kindness, the love, that comes also with being a creator and a caregiver, which we are as women by biology. 

So, it brought me to kind of a vortex of a new concept, such as pleasure and sensuality, and eventually witchcraft, has a connection to really powerful women, to women that have been historically so powerful, because they were the healers. They were the healers of their communities, they were the powerful women of their communities, as a blessing and a curse, because we know what happened to many of those women. And when you start looking into witchcraft, it is like a spiritual practice, and to be honest, I'm on that path, and I will not call myself necessarily like a witch, as of now, because I'm on the part of discovery. 

But for me, the idea and the glory of witchcraft is to reconnect with those ancestral, like those--ancestral, like tradition and practices--and intuitive connection between women among themselves, and also women with nature. So, that's my exploration.

Courtney Stanley  
This is so fascinating. And I think that there is so much to dig into here. And I want to back up a second, because I think when you first used the word witchcraft, because I think when people say witchy, it's like, kind of making it cute, you know. It's like, oh, I'm a little witchy, you know, versus using a word or saying something like practicing witchcraft. 
I have a feeling that there probably are quite a few people in our audience that would be like, "Hang on, like, what exactly does that mean? Like, practicing witchcraft?" Can you give some examples of how you practice witchcraft in your life, whether it's in business or it's in personal or both?

Christine Renaud  
I think for me, the first practice for me is simply to reconnect with my intuition, is to embrace the idea of energy. And to, you know, I love the title of your podcast, Dare to Interrupt, and I love the way you presented it as like, there's a kind of a conversation going on that energies are, I don't know, "hippie," you know, that it's kind of something that people say that cannot be trusted. And in some ways, you know, it's people that are not scientific. 

Scientific in their mind, are not rational in their mind. That idea of energy, like either you believe in energies or you are a rational person. It's like--you can't be both. And for me, there's something so powerful about reconnecting the idea that you can have a rational, scientific mind and still embrace the fact that there are things that exist that we can't yet explain with science. And that's something that is beautiful. 

And that's something that as women, historically we've been connected to. We've been connected with our own intuition, we've been connected with reading people's energies, we've been connected with things that to date that science can't yet explain, but that are still very powerful. And so for me in terms of practicing witchcraft, there is a sense of reconnecting with the unknown, finding the word, then the potential and the idea of energy being something of meaning and the validity--that's the word I was looking for--the validity of our intuition, the validity of energies between people and inside ourselves so that for me right now, that's my practice in witchcraft. And then there's obviously a connection with nature. 

Again, to embrace the fact that it's not because I walk in the woods and I cannot yet feel an animal being close to me. Like, it's not because I can't do that right now, that it's not something that humans have done over centuries. And it's something that I'm really curious about. So, for me, my practice of witchcraft right now is more in the realm of, yeah, embracing intuition, and starting to practice being more present to things that I can't explain but I would like to connect with as part of the lineage of women that have connected with these things in the past.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, when you were painting the picture of just immersing yourself in nature, and you know, taking a walk through the woods, the word that came to mind for me was presence. Because I do think that a lot of times, we are moving at such a heavy, yet quick, pace through life that we struggle with presence, which we know can lead to a lot of anxiety, and where depression, depending if we're looking forward, which would be more anxiety-ridden thinking. Or if we're looking backward, which could be linked more toward depressive thought. 

There are a lot of people who like the idea of having intuition but struggle to actually really feel connected to it. Is there anything that you do in your practice that helps you to hear that voice? Or feel that knowledge of your intuition?

Christine Renaud  
Beautiful question. You know, I think that it goes with slowing down, and it's so hard, especially for people in our industry where there's not always an end of the day, you know, like, there's not always "I close everything at five," because even if we try--because of the way that the industry is set up, and because of the people we work with--but I don't think there's...when you call it a practice, I really think it is one, and any practice requires time, and devotion, and repetition, and trust, and learning. And, you know, you think about your yoga practice, or you think about an instrument you learn, or you think about language that you're trying to master.

It all takes days and days and weeks and months and years. And that has to come with another way of living. It's just like....I don't think it's something that it's a mindset. It's not something that you can just be like, "Oh, I'm going to be intuitive for 10 minutes on Saturday nights," you know? It's something that requires a shift in the way we live our life and in the way you talk about presence--I think it's such a beautiful word--and the presence to ourselves, you know, in the presence to our own thoughts and the presence to, you know, feeling and the sensuality... being not just like sensuality, in the meaning of like, you know, desire and sexuality, but just in being present to all of your senses. This requires so much time, and I think that's why for me, witchcraft has definitely a very spiritual connotation. 

You know, I think people that are deeply spiritual. It's something that they try and embody, at any moment of their life. So yes, that intuition, I think is it is a spiritual practice. And I think it it is something that I find very exciting, and it helps me to reconnect with my my desire for a more embodied spirituality.

Courtney Stanley  
How does your intuition show up for you? What is that experience, like? Like, for me, a lot of times, it's just it starts out as a nudge or a feeling of discomfort, where I'm being asked to take a step back and pause and think and feel. And what usually ends up happening for me is, the more that I ignore the subtle initial nudge, the stronger that nudge becomes, and a lot of times it can actually show up as anxiety in my life, depending on what the situation is, how long I've ignored it, the importance of a conversation I'm avoiding might be. Yeah. I'm looking at Christine's face right now. 

So...a lot of times that's how my intuition shows up. At first, it literally is a physical nudge. And it can be a positive thing, too. It's not always a negative thing. But I'm curious when you do connect, and you are present with your intuition, what does that feel like for you?

Christine Renaud  
I think that's so interesting. For me, it's oftentimes kind of a flash. It's very visceral. And sometimes it does come with fear. You know, because when your intuition is strong, and it validates something that's kind of a very powerful feeling. 
You know, it's kind of a like surfing. For me, there's kind of this like, yes, surfing feeling of riding a wave of, of knowing, you know, energy. And that's really empowering. It's rough when it's like, "Woohoo!" Like everything, my rationality, people around me, like, everything points me toward the direction of like, a yes for this. But my heart is saying no, and I can't explain why or, you know, my words are not as strong as they should be like. So, yeah, it's for me...intuition comes...if it's something that I feel will be validated, or an invalidating force, something I'm working on with other people, for instance, it feels like a big wave of energy. And I feel when it's something that will kind of ask for me to raise my voice against the consensus. I feel she's tinyer. 

You know, she's more of a little child. She needs to be listened to, and like you said, taking a step back. But yeah, she feels like I need to protect her. And I need to make space for her to express herself. Because she's not as confident, she's not as strong. Yeah.

Courtney Stanley  
That's so interesting. If I think about what you just said about your intuition, showing up as a little girl, and you having to care for her, essentially, and that becoming almost a motivator for taking action, because you feelit's your role to protect her. So fascinating. For me, I almost feel like it's the opposite, where it's like, I have an older, wiser version of myself that knows better. And so out of respect for my whole self or a higher version of myself, it's important for me to take those indications from my intuition and apply them. 

Even if I'm not entirely confident in the decision I'm making. I know that if my intuition is guiding me a certain direction, that it will make sense eventually, as long as I align myself with whatever that internal nudge is, so it's just so fascinating that people experience intuition so differently, you know, from the visceral feeling to maybe kind of like a nudge, like in your stomach or a feeling in your chest, to seeing or visualizing your intuition or feeling that it's a youthful spirit versus an older spirit. It's just absolutely fascinating for me, and I wonder, have there been specific moments in your life, whether it's in your career, or it's within your personal realm, where you either have or haven't listened to that intuition? And what happened if there are specific examples that come to you?

Christine Renaud  
Yeah, definitely. And you know, I think that's why for me, she's still sometimes a little girl. I think it's because I don't fully embrace her. You know, like when she shows up sometimes I'm like, "Huh, are you sure about this? I don't trust you," you know, and it's like--and I totally think it's my own patriarchy. It's my own patriarchy voice, you know, saying like, "Doesn't make sense." Like, it's patronizing her, basically, you know, inside it's kind of my heart. And that's why I think for me, the whole kind of process of letting her be and letting me be an intuitive person is creating the space for me to to really let her express herself, because right now sometimes I just don't really want to listen to her. 

To be honest--and that's the thing that you're you're talking about as well--is like, in so many of my decisions, often hiring people, or working with a partner, or and she's saying like, "I don't think so." On paper, this person is great, and all the signs are there. And then she's like, "I don't, I don't know why, but no, I don't think so, not that person." And then I'm like, "No, but we can train them, we can train him, like, oh, no, no, what?" I'm going to compensate in other ways, you know,  like the other voice, the roommate, as Michael Singer calls him or her anyway.

The other voice is like, "I don't know, I can manage this." And then, almost inevitably, you know, she was right. Like, when I meet somebody that I should not work closely with, and she tells me. So, if I don't listen to her, it can take years. But almost inevitably, I realized that she was right.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, that I can definitely relate to regardless of whether I decide to listen in the moment or I go my own direction. It always ends up in the place where it started, whether there were seeds of doubt, or just kind of nudges that I knew were there but I didn't necessarily agree with.

Not that I didn't want to acknowledge it, but I didn't agree or trust. It always ends up the same at the end, where if I did listen, I can see why. And if I didn't listen, I can see what happened. A couple of things that you mentioned earlier were sensuality, and pleasure, and the importance of those couple of things for women. And I'm going to ask you to speak to women in business specifically, Will you help to clarify what you mean by sensuality, which I know you did a little bit before, but I'd love to just re-emphasize it. And then pleasure as well. What is that? What does that mean, when you say that those things are important, and why are they important for women in business?

Christine Renaud  
I think, I mean, that's my own experience, and something that I've seen so many times around me as well, including in my own family. It's just like, and that's something I am happy to talk about, because I think it's important. But, you know, I've been so productive all my life, since I'm like, 8 years old. I was working on on my resume. For real, I was doing volunteering. I was busy from 7 to 11, you know. 

Even in college, my friends would go out. I would not go out because I was on too many committees, and I've always worked to create my ideal life, you know. To create the settings for my ideal life to show up. And then, to a point, it's just like when is it going to end, you know? Like, when are you going to reach this point where everything is so perfect that you can finally take care of yourself, and even in my self-care, you know, in my yearly planning was like, "Okay, this year I want to read 60 books to improve myself. 

Even in my self-care it was demanding very always, or never enough, always demanding. And to a point for me, what I realized is that if that room in my daily life wasn't there for pleasure, and pleasure being doing something that makes you feel good, without having any responsible responsibility toward any type of growth, you know, or results, and sensuality being the pleasure of the feeling like you like a woman, the feeling your own body of feeling your, you know, your, your, your beauty, feeling your creativity through all your senses. And again, sensuality can mean that sexual pleasure, but it can also mean just feeling pleasure from all of your senses and your presence in the world. I did not have any room for that in my life. I didn't even recognize that it was something that I needed.

I remember there was a famous post with my friends on Facebook, maybe like five years ago, that I was like, "How do you hobby?" I don't understand hobby. Like how do you find a hobby? How do you find time for hobbies? Why do you hobby? I always want to produce something, you know. 

If I think about a hobby--you might be in an online course, that would be fun. You know? And my friends, I think they pitied me but they also they were very kind, and then to a point it's just I realized that all of this pressure that I put on myself constantly led me to, you know, drinking too much, or led me to, you know, to having like body image issues and then doing the yo-yo diet, and you know, and that realization was really, really important for me, because it's like I was always judging myself for not yet having resolved those issues. And come on, you know, just don't drink the whole bottle of wine. 

It's not difficult, having this harsh talk toward myself, turn to a point, just realize, like, you have no place to let go of the pressure, you have no place in your life where you can just be in and be present and have fun. Something's gotta give; you have to find this somewhere, somehow. And for a lot of us, it's by going into something excessive that feels good at the moment, but on the long term really depletes your energy and your self esteem. So, that's definitely, it's not for me, it's not resolved. But it's definitely something that I'm happy to talk about and connect with other women about because they think that as women in business, and oftentimes, and not only, but as mothers, like it never ends. And it's hard. It's really hard.

Courtney Stanley  
What do you think was the turning point for you? When did things change?

Christine Renaud  
I think it's when I realized how much...I homeschool my girls. I work in, in tech, in business, but I also work in education to create a new place for children to be able to learn by leading a meaningful life. And, you know, like I said, that I homeschool my daughters and I invest so much in creating a space for my family to thrive. And then to a certain point, discussing with my husband, that is an amazing man--very thoughtful and loving. 

Because, like, alcohol is a big problem, you know. I invest so much energy in creating those amazing life experiences, and just try to create those memories. But a couple of days a month, mommy is really impatient. And she can't get up in the morning because she drank too much, you know? And it's like; that doesn't work. There's something there, so I really have to just look in and understand what was going on. And that for me, that was my family, it was my girls.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, and I so appreciate you being open about your own personal story. I think that there are so many things in the description of how you felt and how you moved and behaved that are incredibly relatable, especially to working women and further than that ambitious, goal-driven women who love to feel productive, and create and move forward and make progress and grow. And I had to stop myself from laughing when you were talking about hobbies, because I used to hate when people would ask me, what do you do for fun? I used to hate when people had asked me that question, because I would be like, I don't know, like, I go have dinner and drinks with friends, but there weren't any actual hobbies. 

And it started to bother me to the point where I made more of an effort to go and do things that I might enjoy. Or, my best friend who's also very witchy, she recommended that I try to practice activities that I enjoyed as a child that I no longer do as an adult. 

So, I started to tap more into art and more into music and movement. And that's how I started to create more joy in my life. And as you put it, more pleasure and I think sensuality, too. But I had to laugh because even on dating apps or on whatever, they would ask like, what are your hobbies? And I'm like, I don', food, friends. I don't know what else to say. And I think that's so relatable, especially for women who are so focused on their personal growth or development, their career. 

And I think there has to be a means to an end for myself and for a lot of other women who you have to feel like, if you're doing something, it's for a purpose. And a lot of times people will talk about the shame of rest, and how if you aren't doing anything that's productive, you feel restless and guilty, because you should be doing something productive instead of being able to just rest and breathe. So, I just I found this incredibly relatable. 

And I think I'm at a point where I need to, or I desire to, continue to find different ways to create more pleasure in my life. And so for you, what are some of those things when you decided you'd change your life in a different way, and focus more on presence and sensuality, and on pleasure, what are some of the things that you incorporated into your own world that have helped you to become a different version of yourself?

Christine Renaud  
Thank you. Thank you for sharing, because I really think it's important that we talk about these things. And I appreciate them, the way that you're related to what I mentioned. There is now the conception that sleep might be what will make you win the gold medal. You know, it's not just the extra rep. It's also like, the sleep is important. And that's something that's not easy, again, like the roommate in my head doesn't agree with it sometimes. But the pleasure and the sensuality and the joy and rest, and sleep, and good food, and all of those things, that they're beautiful, and they're necessary for performance. 

Even if I still want to perform, I'm still excited, I still have so many things I want to accomplish. And I'm not ashamed of that. I'm not ashamed to be ambitious. But like you said, the idea that you're resting and doing something pleasurable is not a waste of time. When we die, we won't remember the third email we sent at midnight, but we will remember those moments where we connected with ourselves and people in nature. 

Something that I am still discovering what brings a lot of pleasure in my life. I go back to the word you mentioned earlier, the age of the presence. I was talking to one of my coaches, and I'm always a bit late because I'm always trying to finish something. And swh was like, "Did you like enjoy the woods you bike through?" Or, "Did you enjoy the little dog that was walking on the street." Were you present were you just thinking "I'm so late. I'm gonna have to pedal faster." Were you present and, for me, a huge source of pleasure has been to be present in the moment and breathe in and enjoy. 

I'm such a such a lover of humans. And I'm such a lover of quirkiness. And I mean, I live in Montreal--quirkiness is all around, all the time. There's so many people to watch and things, people to connect with and things to laugh at. So just being present for me has been a huge, it's not a hobby, but it's something that brings me a lot of pleasure. And in terms of hobby, for sure, like growing a garden and cutting my own flowers and taking the time to put it in my house. 

So, that's beautiful, fermenting stuff, you know, like brewing some potions with things that I live on the counter for three weeks, and then they become a soda, which also really helped me with my alcohol consumption, for sure. But just like, yeah, like growing things, transforming things, and not, "Oh my god, at six o'clock, you know, I need to do the dinner for the girls!" Like, more just as a form of art, as a form of creation, creating things from nature, like flower arrangements and delicious things to drink or eat. For me, that's a huge, huge part of my pleasure. Yeah, and that night, also taking the time, you know, to, like, it's super cliche, but light that candle and take that bath and meditate and dancing by myself. 

These are all things that bring me a lot of pleasure. And then, you know, two weeks ago, I was like, okay, my team, my husband was okay, don't interrupt me. I'm gonna do my pleasure session, because you have so many things to do. I have to dance. I have to stretch. I want to do yoga. There's three books. I was like, "No!" And then I was stressed. That doesn't work. So, I'm still I'm still trying to figure it out sometimes.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, yeah. And I love your example of going from point A to point B, where it's like, "Okay, how many things can I cram in between point A and point B. "At least that's how I think of it. And I do this all the time. Like, I feel like I pride myself, I know I pride myself, on multitasking and accomplishing a lot, and being as efficient as possible. But I think what comes with that is exactly what, you painted a picture of for us, which is a lack of presence. 

You know, I even think of the little drives that I have between my house and the grocery store or somebody's place or a meeting or happy hour or whatever it is, and how many things I tried to tackle in between just a, you know, 20-minute point A to point B drive. 

So, I actually think for me, this is going to be one of the biggest takeaways from this conversation, is just making a small change and looking at those pauses within my day and making an effort to not fill them, not make sure every space and every single part of the day is full with to-dos, but rather creates an opportunity to breathe the air and be present. 

And also allow yourself to be pushed in different directions in that space and time for meeting new people, or just even being with yourself for a moment to not having your brain so clouded with so many things. Yeah.

Christine Renaud  
And that's a big thing for me. It's like I have this, this conversation a lot. And it's something I talk about, when I do brain dates and events, like, I always put the topic about--which isn't business. And there's also for me, the revolution is us with ourselves. 

But it's also like, what happens if we show up in the workplace with those values, you know? What happens when we embody presence, and we give people permission to be more present, to be more compassionate, to have fun, to experience pleasure in the workplace, you know, to be more contemplative in the workplace. 

All of those things that oftentimes are seen as soft skills. Even for people who work with with men constantly, like, "Oh, you're weak. You don't stand up enough." No, I want compassion. I build community. That's what women have done. 
For centuries, we've built communities. And that means sometimes that you shut up and that you listen, and that you show up with love and grace, you know, and that's not being soft, it's being beautiful and powerful. Like what happens when we bring tat those powerful women, you know, feminine features in the workplace, and we stand up for it. That's what I'm excited to see as well.

Courtney Stanley  
I'm excited to see more of that, too. And what I appreciate about today's world is that we're seeing so much more research point to the value and critical importance of some of those skills that have been classified previously as soft skills. 

So, things like compassion, and I would say more than anything else I'm reading right now, empathy. Empathy has become the number one skill for leaders to need to sharpen in order to be effective. And I know this also somewhat falls into the two categories that you spoke about earlier, where you are defining masculine energy and feminine energy. 
And if you were to help describe to the audience what each of those might look like, in the workplace, we talked a bit more about the feminine side of things with compassion and empathy and intuition and community. What does the masculine side look like? And how do you balance the two, or when do you know when to pull a bit more masculine energy in versus maybe another situation you need more feminine energy?

Christine Renaud  
Yeah, that's something I've experienced to a point last year--I took a sabbatical. And so when I was really in the feminine energy to a point I was like, "Hey, I need a bit more like you know, [unintelligible] on this movement. I needed more of that. 

And again, I think I just don't have better words, you know. Some people think about the ying and the yang, those those the sun and the moon, you know. It's very polarized, but in terms of what I've seen described as masculine energy, it's everything that has to do with [unintelligible]...I said that, like the productivity, the courage, the, you know.... God, if you ever gave birth, you know, what type of strength it means to to give birth so, I don't want to offend anybody, and I'm definitely not an expert in feminine and masculine energy, but I will leave it at that, that it's more about the do, and I've always been in the doing so much, you know, and I think also in the masculine energy there is a bit more like a rigidity involved. 

Whereas in the feminine energy, you have a bit more of that, the softness, you know, involving, and kindness, and that's something again, that my life coach told me.... I think that's that's also some part of that masculine feminine energy. So, for me, naturally, I go very masculine. 

So I don't, yeah, I'm trying in terms of, of my of my daily life, I'm trying to, I think it's very physical, exactly what I worked with, what you heard, like tightness and holding things together, you know, and just like letting him view and letting the softness and the water come in, you know. It's something that I try and catch myself having to do.

Courtney Stanley  
I find, once again, that to be very relatable, I think I have quite a bit of masculine energy as well. And I think, you know, you're a CEO, you're a founder, you're an executive, you know, there are, I think, certain masculine traits that sometimes, if it is the do, and you're constantly doing and pushing forward and creating and making progress, I think that there are really important qualities that help you to get to the place that you're at today. But that said, I do feel the need a lot of times for more feminine energy, where I'm able to just breathe, take a breath, settle into a different side of myself, that maybe doesn't come as naturally. 

So, I really appreciate that you gave a picture of what both of those types of energies look like and have also described some of some of the things that you do to help create more of an environment for tapping into some of those different energies that you may not, you know, feel come as naturally to you. I'd like to, first of all, just acknowledge that this has been such a great conversation because it's so different. And I loved when we first started talking. 

You were like you were saying things about witchcraft and energy. And immediately it was yes, for me to ask you to participate with me in this because I just think it's important, and it's not talked about a lot. And I think you're right, that when we open doors like this, more conversations come in, and people get excited or curious to hear more. So, I want to close today's conversation with a final question for you. And that is to all of the people that are tuning into this conversation. What is one thought that you would like to leave them with today?

Christine Renaud  
Okay, I'm gonna say something. I would say plan for pleasure. So, you know, the comment, what I thought I would say at first was, "Oh, bring in more pleasure in your life." But based on the last thing you just said, it's also like, plan for contemplation, like, plan to have the space to stop and breathe, plan to have, you know, 30 minutes on your bike, right, instead of having to rush to be there in 10 minutes. 

Plan for pleasure or plan for contemplation, plan for the space for you to be able to express that, that softness, and then the kindness toward you, and then other people, and I think it will feed your do, it will feed your productivity in new ways. But it will also feed your soul and your happiness, for sure. And I'm wishing myself that as well.

Courtney Stanley  
Yes, I'm receiving that, too. And I love that you said be kind to yourself and others. And I think that there's once again, there's so much in this conversation that people could take away and they could try and practice new things. And a lot of it would be, I think, very beneficial. 

But I think also, trying not to push into the do; I must do this, to change this and really being gentle with yourself, that this conversation isn't meant to add to the list of more things to do, but to open up more space to just be. And so I really appreciate this conversation today, Christina, and I want to thank you so much for sharing your insight, also your personal story and your energy with us today and audience. I want to thank you all for listening. Share what you learned from this episode with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following @MeetingsToday and @Courtneyonstage, and be sure to never miss an episode by subscribing to Dare to Interrupt on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.

Be present, plan for pleasure and keep daring to interrupt my friends. Until next time.

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About the author
Courtney Stanley

Courtney is a keynote speaker, writer, podcaster and career success coach with a background in experience design, community engagement and leadership development. Courtney is the host of Meetings Today’s “Dare to Interrupt,” a podcast that provides a platform for the event, hospitality and tourism industry’s most influential and successful women to share their stories of adversity and success, unfiltered.