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Joana Wosgrau

Our Positive Woman is Joana Wosgrau, who shares how working with sustainable creativity changed the course of her career and when she realized that being an entrepreneur of her own business was no longer her dream.

1. How did your career start? I am living proof that careers are not linear. Even though I'm a Millennial from the '90s, I was already on an unconventional path. I wanted to choose a career that made an impact. At that time, I believed that only politics could create real mechanisms for change. I understood that with my skills, I should be a Diplomat. However, the Federal University didn't offer an International Relations course, and my parents couldn't afford private college tuition. Then, a high school Geography teacher, who always shared travel experiences from Geography, showed me that this course allows you to combine the worlds of politics, the environment, and the economy. So, I studied Geography at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, participated in the first Ciência Sem Fronteiras exchange program in France, did my thesis there, and returned to Brazil with a strong desire to improve my country's reality. I started as an Environmental Educator in traditional businesses, creating and structuring impact projects for environmental compensation and professional training in various fields: from civil construction to the pharmaceutical industry. I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting to be in so many different areas and places, but in reality, it was just a well-developed systemic and strategic vision that I couldn't yet identify. After feeling frustrated with many companies that talked about change but did nothing in practice, I decided to start my own business. In 2015, I created Brazil's first zero-waste restaurant, Casa Origem, which later became the first zero-waste foodtech in Brazil (it got a nice gourmet upgrade), and after 8 years, I ended that project to tackle others that bring me more personal satisfaction and impact at the root of the problem: the way people think. In reality, the beginning of it all was Casa Origem. Everything I learned in 8 years of running a true ESG business made me see that sustainability will only be possible and accessible to everyone when the freedom of choice is truly available to the majority.

2. How is the business model of UNESCO-SOST Transcriativa structured? Transcriativa is a business and people accelerator that uses Brazilian creativity as a tool for transformation and differentiation. As a Joint Office of the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability (UNESCO-SOST), it is a reference in promoting sustainable creativity and developing essential skills for the future market. Transcriativa works with three pillars:

1) It sells mentoring and soft skills development courses focused on the 10 most demanded skills by the market, according to the World Economic Forum.

2) It sells lectures on creativity, personal development, business, and ESG.

3) It creates unique experiences and events for and with its partners.

3. What was the most difficult moment of your career? Accepting that I no longer wanted the dream business I had idealized, founded, and developed. It was very difficult to understand the difference between stubbornness and resilience – and to feel like I was letting down clients, suppliers, and other businesses inspired by mine. I created Brazil's first zero-waste restaurant, which became the first zero-waste foodtech in Brazil – and discovered that my place was elsewhere. The most difficult moment was realizing I needed to close the project that had been my life for 8 years. But if I had known that a "failure" would lead me to a life where I have the time and energy to be with those I love and work on what I believe in, giving results to those who seek my help, I would have "failed" much sooner. I spent 8 years trying to embrace the world, solve all problems with just one company, and feeling trapped by the expectations of those building the business with me. I wanted to prove that a business against the system, yet within it, fighting all causes, could be profitable and invest in social causes. A truly revolutionary business. But the more I delivered, the more I was demanded. After delving into human behavior, the brain, and the mind's developments, I understood that delivering without clear communication and positioning leads to frustration, exhaustion, and devaluation. With a growth mindset, I take responsibility for what happens. Used to solving others' problems before my own, it was only in 2022, with my daughter's birth, that everything fell into place. With the support of an unexpected network, I reviewed my story and saw all the opportunities I missed by being tied to an idea that no longer fulfilled me. It was the first time I understood that "it's okay to not want it anymore." Look at what I achieved with just one business: I developed a product, a course, obtained zero-waste certification, led by example, gave mentoring, and taught classes. This era ended, and I can see it now thanks to seeking out-of-the-ordinary people to help me break out of my bubble, either by joining communities or getting mentoring from those who have truly been through it. It's worth "shortcutting" with those who have done more and better.

4. How do you balance your personal and corporate/entrepreneurial life? With a lot of help. I have a husband who is a father (and doesn't just help but does his part), colleagues who include children in strategic planning, and great competence. To thrive in business and have a fulfilled personal life, I had to learn to do things faster and more effectively. I trained a lot to eliminate unnecessary tasks – that's the secret to being more productive and efficient. Besides these privileges, I focus on having clear objectives for the period, both material and immaterial, and keep them always in sight. No one prospers without knowing what they want. You can't balance something you don't know. It's also important to understand balance not as a 50/50 division of what's important but as a dynamic balance of what's around us. No one can handle everything, not even those with all possible access, so being at peace with the "plates" that will fall daily is an effective way to balance work and personal life.

5. What is your biggest dream? To live to see a world with equal opportunities. I live so that more and more people can be free and happy – and thus have freedom of choice. The Earth will only truly change when it is free. This is my great dream and life purpose, which I try to materialize by helping people shortcut their way to their goals while keeping in mind collectivity, systemic thinking, and the notion that we are part of an inseparable whole.

6. What is your greatest achievement? Being a good mother to my daughter. I am what I wish to see in the world, in the raw truth. What I mean is, I have the privilege of prioritizing being present in her life, teaching with patience, and understanding that I am also learning in the process. I can apply respectful and positive education, breaking generational cycles in my family. I can make mistakes, see the mistake, humbly admit it, and improve in the next opportunity. These teachings apply to all life aspects, in motherhood, interpersonal relationships, and work.

7. Book, movie, and woman you admire.

Business book: *Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.*

Literature book: *One Thousand and One Nights* (bedside, the most beautiful stories in the world).

Woman I admire: Kamila Camilo, environmental activist and founder of Creators Academy.


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