Dominique Mas in the founder of Lead With A Twist, a program that combines yoga and leadership to train emerging leaders how to embrace mindfulness, self-awareness and inner strength in their work. Drawing from her years of teaching experience at international schools around the globe, Dominique conducts workshops and coaches clients in a softer side of leadership. She is driven by her belief that self-aware leaders are the key to an ethical, compassionate and connected world.
Name: Dominique Mas
Company Name: Lead With A Twist
Job Title: Founder
Based in: NYC
Originally from: The South of France
Superpower: Taking risks to follow my heart!
A woman in history you admire & why:
No need to think about this one – Mother Theresa! I am not religious in any way but she is the perfect example of self-leadership and leadership of others. So many people followed her because of her soft skills and her service. She did not need anger, aggressiveness or any of those negative emotions. To me, she is the perfect example of what leadership in the 21st century should be: not loud and pushy; simply human and compassionate.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
Dr. Seuss says it best! “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
I love that idea of freedom of choice. We are always better together to think, reflect, share and inspire each other but ultimately we are our own leader. My motto is, “Lead yourself to lead others!”
What inspired you to start your current venture?
Having worked in schools all my life, I was really curious to see what the world outside of my bubble looked like. I knew I wanted to bring two of my favorite things together – yoga and leadership. I also knew that I wanted to continue to support others to grow as I had done in schools. After some thinking time, the idea for Lead With A Twist started to emerge and the moment came when I couldn’t go back!
I am helping to shift the leadership paradigm. We are over the age of the tyrant leader and we need to ensure leaders are self-aware and reflective!
What are you and your company doing to make history today?
I am helping to shift the leadership paradigm. We are over the age of the tyrant leader and we need to ensure leaders are self-aware and reflective! Both my workshops and my coaching practice push others to grow as they consider new ways to approach their leadership of themselves and others.
What is one thing your company has accomplished that you are most proud of?
The company is in its infancy but both sides of my business (workshops and coaching) are growing fast. When I was starting out, I was advised to choose one or the other, but I knew that didn’t suit me. I’m so happy that I listened to myself.
I am extremely proud that I was able to follow my gut in allowing myself to keep variety in my job. I am still learning, still frustrated sometimes and still making mistakes, but I grow from them. I can proudly say that my biggest accomplishment is to have created Lead With A Twist and followed my heart.
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
I am reaching out to colleges to deliver workshops for their student leaders on the theme, “Lead Yourself to Lead Others”. The workshops combine brain-based coaching and yoga poses to encourage self-awareness in student leaders. The ones I have done so far have been a success in encouraging students to reflect on their core values and consider what it means to have a growth mindset. I am really excited to work with more colleges to inspire emerging leaders! These young adults will be in charge of the world sooner than we think!
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
There is still a great deal of resistance to the idea of a softer type of leadership. This comes from both men and women, as we continue to equate softness means weakness. While there is a growing understanding of the need for self-reflection and mindful presence in leadership, it is still not a widely accepted fact. I hope that by working with emerging leaders in colleges and startups, I can support the shift towards a normalization of the softer skills needed in leadership, such as emotional intelligence and empathy.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
I love the fact that so many companies are starting to bring in meditation or yoga practices for their employees. I hope this trend continues to grow. I hope that we will start to see more leaders who are better equipped to lead themselves with awareness, so they can take a step back from a challenging situation to reflect and listen, allowing several perspectives to shape their leadership.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job? (Or if you’re willing, share a story of a time you screwed up & how you recovered!)
I’m so glad you asked for just one, I could write a whole internet about this! With no experience in marketing or selling myself, I had no idea where to start. Instead of seeking advice from someone who knew what they were doing, I just made it up myself! I wasted so much time worrying about posting on social media and then beating myself up because I didn’t have time to write a blog post every week. Eventually I learned that relationships are the way to go. We really are better together. I started asking for help and that’s when the magic started to happen!
What were you doing before your current role?
I studied Educational Leadership and worked at outstanding international schools around the globe. I lived and worked in London, Barcelona, Manila, Bali and Hong Kong before moving to NYC five years ago. I started working at a school here in NYC, and launched Lead With A Twist in October 2017.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
Just do it! To me, attitude is everything — if you don’t know something, figure it out, ask around, do research…but don’t let it stop you. There are so many resources out there if you look for them.
Recently, I found this note in one of my (many) notebooks: “Be afraid of the things you know, not of the thing you don’t know.” What this means to me is to get out there, take calculated risks and trust that you are an intelligent, resourceful human being who can figure it out.
Are there any great resources you have discovered?
I have to give so much credit to the Dreamers and Doers group. I would not be anywhere near where I am now if it wasn’t for the support I have received.
Fun fact about yourself:
I am a surfer and pretty much every trip I take is to a surf destination! I also surf in NYC… in winter… in the snow!