Resilient people are strong at their core (mind/body/spirit), they have the ability to bounce back from failure. Also, many of the resilient people I’ve come across have experienced adversity on some level, but knew deep down that giving up is not an option.


Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marion Weiler.

Marion Weiler serves as trusted Executive Advisor, Growth Strategist, Leadership Expert, Mentor and CEO at Weiler International LLC. She advises and guides people-centric and mission-driven businesses and leaders to realize their full potential and create new levels of brand loyalty internally and externally based on a culture of teamwork and collaboration, and as a result achieve high impact and growth. As a global citizen and former Senior Executive of industry-leading global firms, Marion has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges businesses and leaders face as they navigate through the complexities and biases of corporate environments, particularly complex when dealing with intercultural differences and sensitivities. Visit www.weilerinternational.com for more information, or follow us on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/weilerinternational/.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

I was the girl who knew deep down that there was more for me. More for me to be, and more for me to do than complying with what was the norm, the thing to be and to do as a girl growing up in southern Germany, an environment that had clear gender roles and expectations.

While growing up in a happy home and parents who always supported me, being formed by the environment into how to be, or how to conform to societal norms of “how things are done” within the given structure — I decided to leave behind a seemingly perfect future and life that was “meant” for me.

Instead of choosing a track that would lead me to graduate 10th grade, followed by a job that would contribute to the family income to top off the main income of the future husband, and eventually turn into a part-time gig once children came along, I did what I haven’t had experienced or seen done in my extended circle, which was aiming for my big dream of climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, without sacrificing starting and growing a family.

As the years went by, I observed people go through waves of anxiety, mistreatment and feelings of inadequacy related to their work leaving them with fear of not being able to provide for their families, yet with what felt like no other option than sitting it out and enduring the emotional abuse in return for a steady paycheck.

I was determined that when I would be at the top of the corporate ladder, I would change all that for as many people as I could. And as I was growing in my career and ultimately “landed” in the top ranks of leading organizations, my desire to make an impact only grew larger, especially as I was witnessing poor leadership coming from the highest levels of organizations.

I knew I wanted to create a corporate world where suffering no longer has a place, people are treated with the respect they deserve regardless of who they are and are given an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Fueled by my desire to make things better for everyone and still being that girl with big dreams, I left my executive role at an industry-leading firm and started a global advisory firm, which I’ve been steadily growing throughout the pandemic while raising my four daughters.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Due to my husband’s job offer overseas, I left my leadership role at an industry-leading firm covering Marketing operations of 52 offices and 2,200 real estate agents and moved to Germany with our four girls. As I was looking for my next professional role, I was often getting asked two questions during job interviews: do you have children, and if so, how many?

And unfortunately, as soon as I would tell prospective employers I had four children, it was the end of the conversation.

After one year, I knew we needed to move back to the US and seek opportunities there — to pick up where I left and continue to advance my career. But as importantly, to avoid having our four young daughters face similar roadblocks in the future.

So I reached out to my recruiter back in the States and after only a few months, he presented me an offer to become part of the executive team as SVP Marketing for a leading affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty, overseeing marketing for its 26 offices across various markets, 1,000 real estate agents and approximately 3.6 billion dollars in sales volume.

It was a no-brainer to take the job and move again — for the second time in less than 2 years having to relocate and re-acclimate our family of six, which came at a cost, yet was absolutely worth it, because I wanted the girls to be independent and choose how they live their life.

The lessons I’ve learned are that as long as you believe in yourself and don’t give up, despite what everyone else is telling you or the resistance you might experience, success waits on the other side.

Also, when you feel like you are at your end and the world has turned its back on you, dig even deeper to find the inner strength to continue. It builds your resilience and makes you even stronger. It doesn’t do you any good to blame others or circumstances, but rather hurts you. When you take full responsibility for everything that happens and focus on the things that are in your control (like in this case the decision to relocate back), you’re on the way to break through any boundaries, because then you are in charge of your future and destiny.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Serving as a trusted Executive Advisor and Growth Strategist, I advise and guide growth-oriented yet mission-driven businesses and leaders to realize their full potential and create new levels of brand loyalty internally and externally, particularly complex when navigating cross-cultural differences.

What makes my company stand out is my approach to (intentional) business management and leadership, starting with the people inside and outside the organization, who drive the results instead of the more common approach of doing it the other way around where results are the primary focus.

As a global citizen and former Senior Executive of industry-leading global firms, I have a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges businesses and leaders face as they navigate through the complexities and biases of corporate environments while dealing with intercultural differences and sensitivities.

Again and again, I’ve found that the majority of businesses are too focused on sales and bottom-line results, and don’t have an intentional and overarching organizational alignment to operate highly efficiently while creating a “place to be” experience.

What I mean by that is that these organizations don’t focus enough on their internal structures and investment in people to create an environment that is the foundation to excel at every level, which leads to employees losing care because they’re not led to care, and clients are dissatisfied with the support they are getting. As a result, such organizations experience high employee turnover, and low client retention. On the contrary, organizations who align their organizations with people, experience profound brand loyalty, large scale impact and unprecedented sustainable growth, often without having to increase budgets.

EXAMPLE:

My employer was a premier and leading standard development organization whose mission was to ensure building safety. The non-profit mission-driven organization was the only player in its field, but when regulations changed and the market opened to fierce for-profit competition, it led them to having to rethink every aspect of their business to stay relevant and financially sustainable.

Addressing the challenges, I was tasked with developing a road map for its continuous success in a changed regulatory and competitive environment, and advised and consulted the President, SVPs and Board of Directors to develop and implement insights-driven strategic initiatives that started with the people aspect.

To enhance growth, strengthen the company brands, increase client satisfaction, increase the effectiveness of the workflow, increase sales and secure ICC’s competitive position, we needed to elevate leadership, processes, programs and systems to meet the needs of employees, clients, and partners.

The plan I developed identified organizational growth opportunities to attract and retain talent, increase existing clients’ business and referrals as well as partner programs that would expand our reach and impact significantly.

Key results driven by these changes included increased overall revenue by 10 percent, increased overall efficiency of work output by 25 percent and increased client satisfaction by 12 percent. Furthermore, the executed efforts based on my developed “go-to-market” strategy plan generated 1.5 million dollars (approximately 10%) in revenue in the first 18 months, and newly developed programs based on the executed strategies contributed more than 2.5 million dollars in revenue and brought in over 360 new report applications, which equates to approximately 25%.

“Marion has a history of exceeding expectations and her outstanding multi-tasking abilities along with her meticulous eye for detail are reflected in the exceptional quality of her work. Marion’s international background and multicultural experiences make her a truly exceptional asset, and she has been extremely effective because of her appreciation of, and sensitivities to the various cultures and personalities within the organization.” — Testimonial from the Executive Director

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Mark Johnson who hired me as a Marketing Coordinator when I first started my career was a mentor who continuously pushed me towards my potential, and reaching higher levels of exposure, confidence and career advancement. He saw my potential and believed in me more than I believed in myself at the time. During the 7 years I worked with Mark, I grew from being an entry-level employee who arguably had a lot of raw talent and drive to succeed, but was missing the confidence, experience and roadmap to grow professionally and personally.

Through Mark’s guidance and mentorship, I grew to build and oversee the business and marketing operations, developing the strategic roadmap for the organization and working as a trusted advisor to the board and executive team.

I remember early on when I was part of higher-level meetings, I would be too shy to speak up. Especially due to my upbringing in Germany, I was raised to not question those in higher positions or of authority, especially as I was at least 15 years their junior and the only woman at the table. Mark pushed me to speak up and share my ideas in the meetings, and become more assertive and confident, and ultimately part of the decision-making team.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

I believe that how we do one thing is how we do everything. Resilience spans across personal, professional and organizational boundaries, and I believe in a holistic approach where we build resiliency to support personal goals aligned with professional aspirations. Failure in life and business is inevitable, yet, getting back up is necessary and resilience serves as a foundation to a fulfilled, successful and balanced life, both professionally as well as personally.

Resilient people are strong at their core (mind/body/spirit), they have the ability to bounce back from failure. Also, many of the resilient people I’ve come across have experienced adversity on some level, but knew deep down that giving up is not an option.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?

Courage is the ability to move forward despite the fear, not the absence of it. As such it represents resiliency. However, I believe there is so much more to resiliency beyond courage. It is also trustworthiness, strength in terms of mind/body/spirit, as well as a deep knowing and wanting that comes from a place of taking responsibility for everything that happens because there is no room to be a victim when we are looking to achieve our goals and grow.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

My grandmother who despite many challenges and losses throughout her life never gave up and kept her positive outlook, humor and kindness. She lost her brother and father a week apart in the second world war, her sister to sickness, had a husband return from war with one leg, and raised her four children mostly alone while my grandfather was working to support the family. After he passed away when she was in her late fifties, she picked up her life again and lived with us until she passed in her late 80s. She was fierce and determined, and had dreams of travelling and exploring the world, but never had the opportunity, so she always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

Yes, many times.

In my mid twenties and graduating from college in Germany, I had a dream of pursuing my MBA in the States. Realizing that education in the US came at a significant cost — especially compared to the German education that is free — I came up with a plan to make it happen.

While everyone told me it was too risky, or not possible because of the cost, I started looking for ways to make money while finishing my undergraduate degree. One year, three simultaneous jobs later, and an acceptance letter to a private university in Honolulu Hawaii later, I went off to pursue this next level of my growth journey.

Since I was an international student who neither had a work visa nor a credit history to pass the qualifications for private housing or taking on side jobs, I stayed in a hostel until I made friends with another student who I roomed up with during my studies.

I worked through summers, took extra classes in an attempt to stretch the money I had saved up prior, and ultimately graduated 3 months earlier at the top of my class.

This is only one story of many I could share with you. As far as I’m concerned, nothing is impossible.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

The importance of resilience and embracing change has been a lesson I learned early in my career when I realized that my role at a glamorous global powerhouse “that millions of girls would kill for” (as they said in the movie “The Devil wears Prada”) was misaligned with my core values, beliefs and purpose.

Following the end of my employment, I found a new role and launched my “aspiring” career as a coordinator at a non-profit organization within the construction industry. It wasn’t glamorous, but it paid the bills. And what started as a junior-level role with little thrill in a male-dominated industry evolved unexpectedly into a launchpad for being a leader, role model, and mentor.

Starting out as the only female leader at the table heading up business operations in an engineering-focused and primarily male environment, I reached my dream of being part of the executive management team for world-renowned global companies being in the fortunate position to empower businesses and leaders to reach their full potential, often while navigating significant change and pushing through invisible ceilings & boundaries.

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I’ve cultivated resilience through embracing change. As mentioned previously, I believe a life well-lived is one that is in alignment to who I am and who I want to become. As such, I never took a no for a no, or other peoples roadmaps, but rather tried different ways and approaches to move things forward in accordance with who I am. Previous stories speak to that fact (childhood upbringing, relocation to the US).

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

Step 1: Understand your goals, values (who you want to be and do) — I knew I wanted to be a business leader and mom. I also knew I wanted to create a corporate world where suffering no longer has a place, people are treated with the respect they deserve regardless of who they are and are given an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Step 2: Find a resilient role model and surround yourself with resilient people — I’ve always felt drawn to resilient people, both on a personal as well as professional level. There was so much inspiration and valuable lessons to learn from them.

Step 3: Keep a positive attitude — It would have been easy to get discouraged, frustrated or even angry at the fact that I was clearly discriminated against in my job search due to the fact that I have 4 children. But I knew that such an attitude wouldn’t help me get my career back on track, and as it turned out, reach even higher levels than I did before.

Step 4: Face your fears (but never give up) — I was afraid when I realized that despite my experience and effort, I couldn’t find a position that was nearly the caliber I had prior to my relocation to Germany. I felt like this was the end of my career. And just as much, I was afraid of what it would mean for everyone to acclimate back to the US after such a short time in Germany, which had a big impact on my husband and children as well. But we did it anyway and worked through the challenges together.

Step 5: Try, then try again (get creative and resourceful) — it seemed like I tried everything to get a comparable position in Germany, but nothing worked. But I kept networking, and through introductions got an adjunct professor role at the local university in the interim, which was very rewarding although unpaid, until I secured the offer back in New York.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe that there is a better way to business than what we currently see and know on a large scale –

A way that puts the people in the center of all solutions.

I want to create a corporate world where suffering no longer has a place, people are treated with the respect they deserve regardless of who they are and are given an opportunity to reach their full potential.

I’m passionate about helping people excel, connect and inspire, leverage team members’ strengths and align them with the needs and goals of organizations that are here to have a positive impact in the world, because I believe that by coming together and run businesses with greater intention and emotional intelligence, we can push through ceilings and boundaries and truly make the corporate world a better place.

I also believe it has a ripple effect on how people show up every day in their lives and for the people who need them, which has a positive impact on families, societies, and communities.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Marie Forleo has been a big role model and mentor for me. She succeeded because of her resilience, hard work and over-delivery of everything she does. I’ve been part of her B-School ever since I first played with the idea of starting a business 5 years ago. Her mantra is that the world needs the special gift each one of us has, and I’ve finally mustered up the courage to launch my business last year in pursuit of the better corporate world I envision.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Yes! They can visit www.weilerinternational.com/news, or follow me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/weilerinternational/), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/weilerinternational), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/weilerinternational/).

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Author(s)

  • Savio P. Clemente

    Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 Best-selling Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor

    The Human Resolve LLC

    Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 best-selling author, syndicated columnist, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC. He has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been featured on Fox News, The Wrap, and has worked with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, BuzzFeed, Food Network, WW and Bloomberg. Savio has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad. His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. Savio pens a weekly newsletter in which he delves into secrets to living smarter by feeding your “three brains” — head ?, heart ?, and gut ? — in the hope of connecting the dots to those sticky parts of our nature that matter to living our best life.