Pre-pandemic. We have busy jobs, doing important things, working hard, travelling, the usual. Then:
Mariska needs surgery, this triggers a hidden burn-out. She does not return to her job.
The pandemic hits, and the consultancy Rudolf works at, leading workshops about strategy, brand positioning and employee engagement, loses nearly all its clients and Rudolf his job.
Sounds like bad times. But we were both more happy than sad about these events. Why, we wonder?
We did like our work, the content of our work. But it seemed we spent the vast majority of our time in meetings, working on urgent projects that were then cancelled, or getting caught up in politics. All this took most of our energy, caused stress and made us less productive and creative. A sentiment shared by many others.
Given this situation and the fact that already at university, we worked together very well, we realised this was the moment set up our own consultancy.
Our combined working experience covers the essential aspects of a modern organisation: strategy, brand, internal communication and employee engagement, and leadership coaching.
We represent two sides, the consultancy and their client. They often need to work together but seem to live in two different universes, resulting in a lack of understanding and insight. However, we would be able to avoid this when working together in one consultancy.
Quite early in our venture, we realised we also wanted to use this opportunity to help people to increase their well-being and productivity at work. That would be by integrating strategic mindfulness into our approach.
For us, mindfulness moved out of its esoteric niche several years ago. It became a mindset that made us more open-minded, less judgmental, more aware of our authentic selves and better at making the right decisions—time to share these benefits where they are needed.
And that is the story of why we founded The Athena Group.
Athena Associates is a corporate and brand strategy consultancy. Here we focus on developing innovative strategies and compelling brands and delivering them through employee engagement.
Athena Academy is our voice for a wider audience. We offer training and lectures, publish articles, papers and books, and provide a platform for guest contributions.