meet maria katrien heslin …


Our world is absolutely amazing and holds tremendous promise for even deeper enrichment. It takes each of us loving what we do, sharing our greatest gifts and living our lives with humor, creativity, vibrancy, purpose and compassion to maximize this global potential. I strive to thrive in those facets daily, and my purpose is to help others claim them too!

I’m a Mindful Career Coach, meaning that I help people identify, attain and thrive at the type of work that makes them feel happy, fulfilled and successful. I often infuse principles of mindfulness into the career coaching process, to help my clients and I dig deep and uncover, with purpose and focus, the type of work that best suits their skills, strengths, personality, work style, work habits, financial goals, leadership style, location and personal mission.

My own life and career path have prepared me well for this role, and of all the types of work I’ve engaged in throughout my career, I can’t think of anything that’s been more satisfying than helping people boost their joy, impact and success!

Growing up with an artsy mom and a businessy dad, I was heavily influenced by both. One minute I was determined to be a painter and then next, a CEO. I ended up kind of doing both: owning two marketing firms, where I did plenty of logo designing and other creative work for clients, and later serving in a COO capacity as Deputy Mayor for the world’s greatest college town (no bias here), Bloomington, Indiana. Here I am being sworn in by the very cool Mayor Mark Kruzan, who served Bloomington for 12 years, adding an arts district, and keeping the economy strong, the people safe and the downtown vibrant.

2012 Inauguration Thrive

So with both halves of my brain needing constant stimulation, my own career path was robust and divergent, to say the least. I’ve worked in retail, restaurants, the corporate world, marketing, nonprofits, higher education and government. I’ve been a (mainly ballet) dancer, owned three businesses, worked as a freelance writer, and directed an animal shelter fundraising campaign and a successful mayoral campaign. I’ve served on seven boards of directors, am past president of a women’s leadership organization, and am a State Council member for the Humane Society of the United States.

I’ve directed communications for several organizations and co-authored a text used by 30,000 IU Kelley School of Business students. I’ve won a National Writing Competition for Daytime Drama, and interviewed Mick Jagger, who was kind enough to get me tickets and backstage passes for a concert in Europe. I also met Keith and Ronnie in Keith’s hotel room, but that’s another story.

I’ve worked in so many different capacities and fields because I had so many interests and skills. The only rules I operated by were that whatever I did, it had to add to my skills and knowledge, give me at least some joy, and let me contribute to something good in some way. It had to, on some level, make me thrive.

And thrive I did. I earned two Master’s degrees, in Journalism and Arts Administration, and became the first and so far only female Deputy Mayor of Bloomington, Ind. In that role I reinvented the budgeting process, directed an innovation effort saving $6 million, managed the City’s 750 employees, and developed the City’s first strategic plan. I also was a founder

of the City’s arts district, and designed the logo for and name the trail that runs through the heart of downtown Bloomington, the B-Line Trail. I even got to design its bridge, a 16-ton blue diamond!


But I reached the point in my life where I wanted a new challenge. I’d been through a period of about 5 years where 11 close friends and family members passed away. I felt time was of the essence to shake things up and give to the world in a different way.

I realized that more than anything, I wanted to help other people feel about their work and their life how I felt about mine. The thousands of people I met along the way in my various jobs weren’t all thriving. In fact, many were going through the motions, or frankly a bit miserable.

I noticed that when people were unhappy at work, their performance suffered, the organization was less able to innovate, and their coworkers weren’t terribly inspired either. Often their lack of professional joy bled into other parts of their lives too, impacting their health, relationships and activities. I knew there had to be a way to help.

One day after taking yoga by the ocean in my home away from home on the Jersey Shore, I sat on the pier and pondered how amazing and tranquil I felt while doing yoga. If you’re a long-time devotee, a dabbler or even someone just a little yo-curious, you probably know what I’m talking about.


For me, yoga is mindfulness in action. While practicing yoga, my other concerns aren’t there. I’m focused on the present, which on that day was the gentle sea breeze, the soft waves rolling in under the pier, the vast deep aquamarine ocean before us. My mind is in the moment, completely focused on the moves, what I see, hear and feel before me, and I’m thriving.

Taking that contemplation further, I wondered: What if there were a way to realize this state of bliss off the yoga mat and in other parts of my life? Even in my work? And what if I could help others experience the same thing? Turns out, I could do just that!

The seeds were planted for what would become my coaching business, Thrive Coaching & Development.

what makes me thrive …

Personally, my family, friends, dogs, cats, reading, traveling, drinking coffee by day and dry red wine at night, helping animals, shopping, writing, practicing yoga, meditating, walking, spending time in Manhattan and the Jersey Shore, laughing and absorbing arts and culture are my thriving basics.

Professionally, I thought I was thriving before, but the joy I get from helping others realize their professional dreams is unmatched. I work with college students, recent graduates, career changers, seasoned professionals and people eager to tackle new, bold callings and major life goals. Infusing elements of mindfulness into my coaching approach boosts client outcomes tremendously.

My hope for this blog is that we share some fresh stories, tips and solid information about work experiences, job searches, career changes and how to really love what we do so we can all learn from one another and thrive together!

connect with maria …