15 Questions to… SIETAR Switzerland President Dr. Christa Uehlinger

1. What was your childhood dream?
To work like Albert Schweitzer, a doctor, somewhere in the jungle with and for natives.

2. What is your favorite book?
I love books. Oftentimes, I carry one with me J. One book which touched me is “The whale rider” by Witi Ihimaera. Others I liked are “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, or “Nachts, wenn der Garten blüht” by E.L. Swan. I also like children books such as “Die unglaubliche Geschichte von der Riesenbirne” by Jakob Martin Strid.

3. Who has influenced you most in your life?
Different people. Among them my grandmother. She was a fun-loving and adventurous person with a love for cooking.

4. How do you relax?
I follow different strategies: taking a lavender bath, connecting with nature, chatting to a friend, cooking, meeting friends or my godchildren, jogging, having a nice glass of red-wine or just sleeping.

5. Where do you feel most at home?
My base is my flat in an old-town house in Winterthur. From there, I explore the world and feel at ease easily. I feel at home in different places of the world such as the Northwest of the US or Australia. When I’m travelling, my “home” is my sleeping bag and a small pillow.

6. What is your favorite word in a foreign language and what does it mean?
안녕하세요 (An-nyeong-ha-se-yo) which means “hello / good day” in Korean.
When I taught in South Korea, we started the class together by me saying 안녕하세요 and the students repeating it. It turned into a daily ritual which we shared – very nice.

7. What is your favorite music?
Depending of my mood, I’m listening to jazz, classics, pop, rock, world music or music to meditate.
8. Who inspires you?
At the moment, Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis.

9. How do you define success?
I’m most successful if I’m following my intuition and my heart – not thinking about being successful at all.

10. What is your favorite quote by a famous person?
“In uns selbst liegen die Sterne des Glücks“ by Heinrich Heine

11. How would the people closest to you describe you?
Good question. Why don’t you ask them?

12. How do you motivate people?
Treat them as people, create a good atmosphere, use their strength, be supportive and empower even to stretch the comfort zone. However, people can only be motivated if they are willing to let them be motivated.

13. What does leadership mean to you?
I would like to answer this question by a quote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more – you are leading”.

14. Describe happiness in three words. (List three things that make you happy.)
Being in the moment, lying in an tent and listening to the wind moving trees, a smile

15. What is your favorite part of your job?
That I can work with people of all backgrounds and that I’m faced with new questions every day which stimulates my curiosity.

Born and bred in Zurich, Dr. Christa Uehlinger studied law at the University of Zurich. She has worked over 10 years in international business, and has studied intercultural communication at ICI in Portland. She is the founder of Christa Uehlinger Linking People and works as an intercultural adviser and teaches intercultural communication. Christa is an author and has lived, worked and traveled throughout Europe, Canada, the US, India, Australia and Asia. She is the President of SIETAR Switzerland.

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