Brazilian Lawyer, Legal Consultant, Leadership
& Lawyer-to-Lawyer Coach
Founder of Brain U Coaching
Pamela: Welcome to Lawyer of the Week. I am very pleased to introduce our lawyer this week. Let me tell you a little about our guest.
FERNANDA ALEM-FREITAS is a Brazilian Lawyer, Legal Consultant, Leadership & Lawyer-to-Lawyer Coach, and Speaker, working in a multicultural, dynamic, yet mindful set, with clients in Brazil and around the world, focusing on cross-cultural coaching skills, high performance, and assertive communication leadership. Fernanda is the founder of Brain U Coaching, a Brazilian-based coaching and mentoring business, and produces weekly videos on Youtube.com/c/brainucoaching channel.
She also functions as Leader-Legal Coach – Strategic Coaching Partner at the renowned Brazilian-based Consultancy & Recruiting Firm Salomon, Azzi.
Academically, she has a degree in Law from the Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, a post-graduate degree in International Corporate Governance from Harvard University, a Master’s Degree in Banking and Financial Law (LL.M.) from the Boston University, and she is a Specialist in Communication of Leaders by MIT-OCW, trained and licensed by the ICI-Integrated Coaching Institute, Brazil – USA.
Fernanda is also licensed as International Legal Consultant by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia (D.C. Bar), has sat as researcher and consultant in comparative law for the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as has worked for many years as Lecturer in International Law in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Pamela: Welcome Fernanda.
Fernanda: Thank you very much, Pamela, it’s my pleasure to be here and thanks for inviting me.
Pamela: Yes, we’ve known each other for a while. I really admire Fernanda and her energy, her positive mindset and what she is doing with her business. So we are going to ask her the lawyer of the week questions, and the first question is what, when and what made you decide to become a lawyer?
Fernanda: Well Pamela that was in my teenage years. I can still remember that day. I was actually chatting with my mom about my passions in life and about her career, about my dad’s career and we got into a very nice chat where she told me “You should do what you really love to do.”
And, so I thought you know I really love to help people, I really love to communicate, and I really love to write. I thought to myself, well my family is pretty much involved with the law. I actually have my Dad he is now a retired superior courts judge in Sao Paulo Brazil.
My whole family has a history of being related to law, and then my mom was a teacher. I thought to myself these both things make sense to me, so she told me well “a law degree will do it. I thought” that’s kind of mindset that I want to be into. I want to go and develop myself and have other people being helped so why law school so then I decided to go to Sao Paulo and get my law degree, and I’m so pleased that I did it.
Pamela: Oh that’s wonderful Fernanda, I’m sure all of your clients are pleased that you did too [LAUGH].
Fernanda: Thank you.
Pamela: When you come with a heart to help people, it’s nothing but a good thing. I’m sure that you have made major contributions to all of your clients both coaching and your legal clients. Now tell us about your practice, your biggest wins, and your biggest challenges.
Fernanda: Ok, You know I’ve been for over twenty years now into the legal business, working in Brazil, in Latin America and the USA and with Portuguese speaking countries so basically I have a multicultural, multidisciplinary work for this past years.
In 2014, I decided to kick it up a Notch and got my studies focused on coaching, so I got licensed by the ICI, the Integrated Coaching Institute of Brazil, the USA in 2015 and that was such a great decision in my life.
I work today with mostly the legal industry and with clients in Brazil and abroad and on that I mean clients that do some business with Brazil or work with Brazilians and then need to adjust some cultural issues and it’s a very good thing for me to be able to help and guide and assist these clients in getting used to other culture and to other systems.
It’s been a win-win situation for me being a lawyer-to-lawyer coach and leadership coach. Especially because it matches my lifestyle well. I have a husband and two kids, so it’s a good thing for us to have a work-life balance.
Working with clients around the world and online coaching gives me some time that I can balance my schedule very well. So, it’s a win-win situation for me being a lawyer and being able to provide some guidance as a lawyer-to-lawyer coach. Not only in Brazil but also worldwide to people that somehow would do work or connect with Brazil and Brazilians.
Pamela: That’s really wonderful, what a great service that is. How many languages do you speak Fernanda?
Fernanda: I speak English, Portuguese, my native language, and I speak some Spanish too and a little bit of Italian, I try that. And you know Pamela as everything in life there is a good side and the bad side so of course there are some challenges to it.
When we’re talking, and you know that very well too, when you are giving your services online, worldwide you have to be very focused, very organized and it’s not easy, right? I’m a coach, but I’m a human being. We know that you have to have a strategy; you have to have a plan and stick to it.
One of the challenges has been, being able to keep up with the follow-up to all of my clients, being able to stay in touch with my public, in general, be it through my articles, my Internet posts, or my videos and comments to it on my YouTube channel brainucoach. So you see there always a good side and a bad side, so it’s kind of juggling a lot to me, but it’s working! I’m very pleased with what I’m engaged in right now.
Pamela: That’s wonderful, yes. You know Fernanda because I always think about how as coaches and consultants that we have to raise a high bar for ourselves. I love what you said about balancing your own life because we can’t set an example for our clients or tell them to be mindful and not to be stressed if were stressed all the time.
One of the things that I have done over the years it’s about eight years now is I start my morning with meditation, and I live close enough to the ocean where I take my dogs for a walk on the beach in the morning like I did that this morning. And, people say, “That’s really great that you do that.” But it’s really a religion [LAUGH].
Fernanda: I know, I know.
Pamela: So what habits do you adapt for yourself? We’re going to talk a little more about that later on but are there any habits that you like to create for your family that helps you in this regard?
Fernanda: Yes, of course, I mean we, I can tell you that one of the things that has kept us very close is meditation too but meditation in a kind of a mindfulness practice. It doesn’t need to be you sitting in a room, or it could be like more why you’re talking about walking, like mindful walking or mindful biking. I love to bike with my family, and we also are a family that likes sports. So, we play tennis a lot. It’s kind of a religion. Three times a week we get the four of us my two kids, my husband and I and we play at least a match. And then we get all relaxed, I mean we have that family bond it’s very good.
Pamela: That’s very good Fernando, that’s excellent, excellent, excellent. Now, who is a perfect referral for your practice?
Fernanda: That’s a tough question, Pamela. You know having worked with global clients and global partners, what I can tell you is that it’s very satisfying it’s very impressive to me when I receive emails, when I receive LinkedIn comments, when I received phone calls telling that I’ve made a difference in someone else’s lives. I have worked for the past two years with the biggest law firms in Sao Paulo Brazil. I have worked closely with the human resources legal personnel as well, especially in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This makes me very grateful for this opportunity. These are the kind of people that spoke out great things about myself and could be with referrals to my work.
But, more importantly, what I’d like to share with you is how gratifying how pleased I am to be able to offer somebody else referrals too. So, when I think about your work and yourself as you told in the beginning of this interview, we’ve been knowing each other for a while, and I felt very confident and comfortable to refer your work to people that need to be in touch with a great coach like you are.
That’s a great thing about our work. I always tell my clients and my friends and colleagues it’s a two-way road you know you give, and you receive, you give back, and it keeps going that way it’s wonderful.
Pamela: Yes, thank you so much for saying that Fernando and I feel the same about you. I admire you and what you have done. The next time, you and your family which I was going to say that you and your family to travel to the US, especially I think Miami that I did want to make an opportunity for us to really meet and have a chance to chat.
Fernanda: Thank you so much I appreciate that Pamela.
Pamela: Ok so tell me what legacy do you want to leave in your legal and leadership coaching practice?
Fernanda: Very good question, I think it’s so touching this question that it goes beyond words. What I can tell you is that if in a digital era, in a digital world we can share our knowledge, we can share our passion and I can tell you that today most of my work is for free. I share a great deal of information articles, post, and videos online.
If I can have these people get in touch with the coaching tools, the coaching process. And, in the future, if I look back, and I see most of the people in the world having self-knowledge, having self-control, having the opportunity to have a coach and coaching process into their lives, that will be a legacy that I want to leave. So sharing my knowledge, sharing my passion with the world as far as I can and as much as possible, that would be something that would be a dream to me.
Pamela: That’s excellent Fernando I love that. Now we did touch on a little earlier but can you name one thing that you do that manages your stress level individually.
Fernanda: Oh sure yeah, as I told you mindfulness practice is something that I love. I mean, I recommend to all of my clients and you know I work with lawyers and some of them are reluctant with when we say about meditation and mindfulness practice but this has been a hit, a big hit in so many ways.
I can tell in so many ways, and I can say for my family we do love to do mindfulness breathing. You know it does help not only to lower your stress level but to help you get focused and to be in the moment and to be less judgmental of yourself of the world around you. So that’s something that has been helping me for the past two years.
I do this every morning and every night and during the day if I have an opportunity like a one-minute, five minutes it doesn’t matter just a little bit until thirty minutes. Every time it’s been helping me a lot.
Sometimes, Pamela, I do alternate the practice of mindfulness so sometimes I go from mindful breathing to mindful waiting, to mindful listening, to mindful walking so it’s super fun and it’s something that has been helping me a lot.
I follow the practice MBSR which is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. You probably know, from the line of work Jon Kabat-Zinn. This has been something that I recommend actually to your followers, to your viewers if they have not been in touch or if they want to kick it up a notch on mindfulness practice.
You can get a nap; you can listen to music and just do mindful listening, it’s a wonderful tool in coaching to help you focus on a great communication too.
Pamela: That’s great Fernanda, and I wanted to, because a lot of people won’t really know what you mean when you say mindfulness. Can you kind of break it down a little more for our audience?
Fernanda: Sure, thank you for that. It’s an opportunity for everybody to understand better what we are talking about.
Mindfulness is for you to be in the moment. I mean if you get the strict sense of the word it just means being in the now, focused, paying attention, not only to your surrounding but to yourself. It is being in a state of mind that you pay attention and you don’t want to change anything.
You just notice and sometimes let it go, if it’s something like for instance, let’s take this moment now let’s do an exercise here Pamela.
Fernanda: I’m talking to you and if I do a mindful exercise right now. I just noticed that probably my shoulders are a little tight, I just noticed that. I don’t want to change it. I just breathe in. I just do a quick stop and breathe out focusing on my shoulders and being released.
I don’t want to change that much I just want to pay attention and be nonjudgmental to that. So by doing that naturally, I increase my focus. I diminish my level of stress. You don’t need a nap; you don’t need music. We don’t need anything just a few seconds, and I’m in touch with this moment again.
Pamela: Yes, that’s great, that’s wonderful. You know as I said I walk on the ocean, well not on the ocean but on the beach. When I’m very mindful, you know I hear the waves I see the beach I’m just you know right there. And then another time I could be thinking about this client and an appointment, and that’s not mindful so [LAUGH]
Fernanda you really described this in an excellent way for the audience because you know, you can be at work and you could be anywhere, like Fernando said, and just be right there. That’s a wonderful explanation, and I love that, thank you so much, Fernando.
Fernanda: Thank you, it’s been my pleasure.
Pamela: Ok one last thing let me just ask you is there anything about you that you would want the audiences listening right now to know.
Fernanda: I want to actually thank you and your audience for being here with us, and I wanted them to know that I am at their disposal too. I can work in partnerships; I can arrange your schedule as much as you can. I’m sure that my kind of work is very similar to yours.
We put our clients first. We put our client’s interests first. As I told you, I have great clients online. So my clients, my friends, your audience, your friends to touch base with me. I’m at your disposal, go to my YouTube channel, and subscribe its brainucoaching.
There are lots of videos there, I speak in Portuguese there, but there is also a subtitle in every video. It’s my pleasure to be here. I thank you so much; I’ve been doing a great deal of work between the US and Brazil so feel free to touch base with me. Thank you, Pamela, I’m very honored to be here, and it’s been a pleasure.
Pamela: Thank you Fernando and we will have her links below, her, on my blog so you can actually have all of her contact information. Thank you so much, Fernando, and I really appreciate you being our Lawyer of the Week.
Fernanda: Thank you, my pleasure, Bye, Bye.
Thank you for joining us for Lawyer of the Week. We hope to see you again next week!
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