Ingrid Nouwens – Connecting People Through Powerful Illustrations – 004

Here is what is shared and discussed in this episode:

Links and Resources

  • Ingrid recommends these books to aspiring entrepreneurs on owning your unique personality as a creative person:
  • Ingrid is a big fan of Ted Talks, watches them often and randomly, and gets inspirations
  • She can be contacted through:

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Ingrid Nouwens is from Maastricht, The Netherlands. She is married with two kids aged four and six. She started her company, Imare, in February 2017, leaving a very successful career behind of ten years, with a multinational company as an HR Business Partner and Talent Development Consultant.

With Imare, she combines her passion for drawing and her passion for people, using the skills she has built over the years.

It took Ingrid quite some years before she decided to leave her job and go on her journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Contrary to what we might think, she actually liked her job. There were many opportunities and she enjoyed the environment.

But she did struggle at times. She started asking herself “Is this truly me?” and “Can I fully shine?”

Ingrid had other passions in life that she wanted to explore. She also felt different and could not always bring value the way she wanted to. I think we can all relate to that. Haven’t we all been in situations or circumstances where we couldn’t live up to our full potential?

Her way of doing things was much appreciated in her company, but it still kinda felt that you always had to proof that your way is also a way that can work and bring some value. At times it was difficult. She knew she wanted a change, but not exactly what.

She always liked making illustrations from childhood, she was a people’s person, and a very good listener. Her last manager within her corporate company, a visionary and visual person, was looking for someone to make visuals at meetings and workshops and asked Ingrid if this could be an opportunity for her. This was like music to her ears. She had the talent for art but she thought she wasn’t good enough. She always saw her talent as just a hobby.

It went well, but after a while she got challenged by someone. “Do you want to do this in your company, or do you need to take the step and create your own thing?” That person also said: “If you want to fly like an eagle, that’s fine, but you are asking the chickens how to do it.” “You have to find people who take you to your direction.” She needed to find people who were also passionate about the things she was passionate about.

Suddenly things came together and she knew she had to decide to leave her company and the secure environment that came with it. Her manager felt sorry for the team but was happy for her, and Ingrid felt more empowered. She felt it was the right thing to do, but having the right persons at the right moment supporting her, made it so much easier. She had a guardian angel, she says.

There were people who advised otherwise, to wait and to look for settlements, but she told them that leaving her job had nothing to do with the company. Why should they pay for her own decision and future?

It was a decision taken with her heart and mind. Leaving her former job did not feel like a risk. As she says: “I’m not going to find it here (in her company or a different one), I have to do it myself.” She did so with immediate effect. It was the best decision she had ever made.

It does look easy, but to come to that decision took her years.

As said, she found her direction combining her passions, talent and skills at a perfect intersection! However, she started combining what she thought were separate worlds: Business and Art! On top of feeling insecure about her qualities. What I take from this is that you have to explore and come to better insights!

By being a graphic facilitator and capturing situations, she can make people understand things better and make them connect more to each other. She doesn’t only draw what she hears, but also what she sees and feels. The white elephants in the room. Often the unspoken and the unknowns define a situation. She brings these in the open, using metaphors, providing a new language based on images, and rightfully calls herself a ‘Creative Connector’.

A simple drawing captures more emotions than a beautifully drawn image as it leans more to raising questions of what the drawing is about instead of how it was drawn. People like how she captures situations with metaphors. It sticks with them, they start thinking and acting differently. “Now I see the picture”, is a comment she has often heard.

She works with small teams, big teams, facilitating small meetings to big company events. Even individuals occasionally.

Ingrid believes that everybody has a unique story. You have to be yourself and not live the stories of other people. She did not ask for a settlement at her former job, because her time was then and there. That’s the way her story went and everybody should make his or her own story.

By doing what she truly loves she can be a great example to her two young kids. And what bright kids she has. Ingrid’s six-year-old daughter calls herself beautiful, because she is brave, and being brave is beautiful. Wow!

Money does not always equate to success. Success to her is being able to have conversations like on this podcast, connecting with people and doing what she loves best.

Imare, her company name, means image and sea. The sea is always in movement and connecting the world. She is all about making connections through powerful illustrations: connecting ideas, people and situations. Creating connections is creating movement.

For Ingrid, the best part of starting her own company is that she has the freedom to do what she loves to do and be able to do it everyday.

She searched and tried hard to be where she is now, to make things work, to do what she loves, and what makes her happy! In the end, she got there.

Go! Jump! Don’t think you will fall, because you might actually find out you can fly!