Research & Events

We document and analyze narratives by women+ willing to share their true experiences of life in the business setting.

Oftentimes, the interviewees feel alone, thinking their trials and tribulations are unique. When brought together, the testimonies point to universal themes around a lack of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Through the experience of story-sharing and conscious leadership practices, we lift each other up.

The first round of research focuses on the financial services sector.

Innovative thought leadership that promotes humane approach to business through the power of storytelling about workplace realities

Story Excerpt

“I was shocked. As soon as I resigned, I realized there was going to be no humanity in the offboarding process. I was no longer available as a resource, so there was no need to treat me as human? Just a cog. After spending my whole career with one firm, it was such a bummer. It reinforced my decision. If I had only known what the exit interview was going to be like…”

-Asks to remain anonymous

Dare to Care


We apply rigorous social-study research to the collected stories, with an emphasis on narrative approach in anthropology. We place our findings in the context of other curated DEI business research. We then present our thought leadership, coupled with proposed conscious solutions, at speaker events and industry talks.

“The best research you can do is
talk to people”

~ Terry Pratchett

Upcoming Events

Uplevel Your Potential: 

Energy Codes Book Study Group

Virtual – Zoom
Most Sundays, January 7th, 2024 – April 21st, 2024

Explore the Energy Codes®, a set of principles and practices you can easily fit into daily life to unveil your authentic self, increase self-awareness and build confidence. Join Ivana from January 7th onwards for 12 experiential sessions, covering Dr. Sue Morter’s book chapter-by-chapter. Most Sundays at 10:00-11:30 am PST until April 21st. $150 to $250 sliding scale for all 12 sessions. We have only a couple spots left! Sessions are recorded for your convenience if you can’t attend live.

Croatia Bay

Obliger, Rebel, Question, Upholder? 

4 Tendencies Workshop

Virtual – Zoom
January 19th, 2024

Trying to get a new year’s resolution to stick? Find out how you are pre-wired to respond to internal and external expectations (like the plan you just made to go to the gym four times a week). On Friday, January 19th, 2024, Ivana will host a 2-hour Four Tendencies workshop from 10:00-12:00 PST to learn the model and make it work in our favor at work and across all relationships. Cost is $35-$50 sliding scale.

Croatia Bay

Stop Ghosting Yourself, Start Loving Yourself Workshop

Virtual – Zoom
February 16th, 2024

In just 2 hours, learn the 6-step Inner Bonding process for deep inner peace and joy amid life’s challenges. Through interactive exercises, understand the underlying purpose of the 6-step process, get comfortable with each step, and learn how to apply this reliable technique in your every-day life so you can start living with calm, clarity, and centeredness. $35-$50 sliding-scale.

Diagram explaining the process of not ghosting yourself

Watch this space! More events coming soon.

Want to stay up to date?
Past Events

Rest & Receive™

All-Inclusive Women’s Destination Retreat

October 9th-19th, 2023

Courageous Being, in partnership with Her Mystery School, presented Rest and Receive™ Croatia — a specially curated retreat designed to help participants rejuvenate their whole selves over 10 restful days, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Croatia and the Mediterranean.

Our leisurely journey began in Zagreb, Croatia’s captivating capital, and then took us to Istria, a picturesque triangular peninsula at the head of the Adriatic arm of the Mediterranean Sea.

During this experience, we explored spectacular locations of ancient history, including Roman temples, Colosseum and basilicas, medieval towns in refreshing natural settings, mystical stone hills, and ancient Goddess sites. We also spent time in vibrant city settings, romancing our taste buds with gourmet organic food bursting with vitality.

Built into the retreat were rituals and skillful workshops that taught retreat goers how to amplify, maintain and return to practices of self-rejuvenation on-demand, continuing after our trip.

Croatia Bay

Come Grow:

Fearless Female Leadership

New York, New York
Thursday, September 28th, 2023

We gathered in the heart of NYC for an inspiring discussion about leading with intention in life and the workplace. 

This free, invitation-only networking and learning event brought together 25-30 women, fostering interconnectedness within a diverse group of women who represented both today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. 

A panel of fearless female leaders from ZanaAfrica Foundation’s Board shared success tools from their extensive and diverse personal and career paths.

Courageous Being was proud to sponsor this event, as it wonderfully harmonized with our mission to empower women+ to become conscious and effective leaders both in business and their personal lives.

SWAY | Live, Ivana Polonijo

WIPN Lunch @

2023 PlanAdviser National Conference with speaker Ivana Polonijo

Scottsdale, Arizona
Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

The WIPN lunch at the 2023 PlanAdviser National Conference featured an enlightening session by Ivana Polonijo from Courageous Being. The talk centered on the effectiveness of harnessing your Influential AF (Authentic Fullness) powers as a potent strategy to stand out in a crowded market and connect with people on a profound level, while also raising the critical question — is the financial services industry ready for authenticity, compassion, and true leadership?

This session looked at the realities of financial services today. We investigated whether you can be successful with an authentic-self-at-work approach, considered the role of personal branding, and gained insights into the opportunities to cultivate a fulfilling career in finance today.

Attendees left with a fresh perspective on how to navigate and thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of financial services.


SWAY | Live, Ivana Polonijo
SWAY | Live, Ivana Polonijo
Ivana Polonijo, PhD
Courageous Being Chief Soul-utions Officer & Founder


Six reasons you should never use your Influential AF Powers

San Diego, California
Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

Embracing your authentic self is a powerful strategy to stand out in a crowded market and cultivate profound connections. But is the financial services industry ready for it? Or is it a hot mess of historical insults and present inequities where your efforts will be fruitless? In this session led by Ivana Polonijo of Courageous Being, we explored the dynamic fusion of Influence + Authenticity: a crucial combo for achieving success in finance today.

SWAY | Live, Ivana Polonijo

Experience Success without all the Stress

Portland, Oregon
Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Courageous Being was thrilled to team up with the WIPN (WE Inspire. Promote. Network) Oregon chapter to host this unforgettable and empowering event!

It was the perfect blend of enjoyment and personal growth, featuring delightful wine tasting, fun networking, and an easy-to-apply emotional freedom technique workshop led by the phenomenal tapping expert, Helen McConnell.

Beautiful evening with authentic business women eager to learn and grow… and have fun! 

A special thank you to Helen for sharing the power of tapping with us! And heartfelt gratitude to JP Morgan for sparking the event and sponsoring our speaker!

Experience Success without all the Stress Event

Reimagining Retirement by Endeavor Retirement:

Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon |
Mental Health in theWorkplace Edition
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 : 11 am PT

Join a talk to “get real” with industry experts and discuss the connectivity between mental health in the workplace and DEI initiatives, and how this connectivity impacts the future of our retirement plan industry. The expert panel will address: 

  • A more holistic approach for mental health
  • Methods for arming the financial services industry with tools and resources to better achieve DEI
  • The financial impact of DEI initiatives on your business and your clients’ satisfaction


Reimagining Retirement Event Flier

WIPN Leadership Summit

Dallas, Texas
February 23-24, 2023

We are proud members and leaders of WIPN: WE Inspire. Promote. Network. — a nonprofit that advances equity and opportunity for women in the retirement industry.

Recently we helped organize and host a Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX, where we presented an Engager exercise to the Chapter Co-Chair group.

There were laughter, tears, and frank conversations during and long after the icebreaker.

Ivana Polonijo and Rebecca Lavallee