Vanessa Defournier
Leadership Coach


“Expansion begins with questioning. External growth originates inside. Success is a result of reconnecting with oneself. Most successful leaders have the ability to question themselves profoundly and challenge their beliefs and assumptions in an authentic manner.”

With over 20 years of professional experience in world-renowned organizations in multilingual settings and multicultural environments, Vanessa helps mission-driven executives and entrepreneurs from all origins and geographies, as well as their teams, transform their behaviors and therefore their business results in a conscious way. As a coach, she knows the importance of mental, emotional and physical well-being and personal fulfillment when working through challenging situations and making tough decisions. She believes that it is important to have a compelling vision of success for oneself and others to sustain the behavioral change needed to reach the big goals. She therefore helps her clients get clearer about their desired future, search for innovative approaches and solutions to get there and design clear paths of action to move towards it.

Vanessa brings to her work a profound understanding of what transitions and complexity mean. From changing jobs, through being promoted, moving from corporate to entrepreneurial roles and vice versa, changing geographies, teams and/or work environments, being led by someone new or on-boarded in a new role, Vanessa helps her clients navigate successfully through complex transitions in challenging environments. She supports clients in very diverse types of organizations, from startups to large multinationals, as well as consulting companies and multilateral development institutions.  

Vanessa’s ideal clients have one thing in common: a real readiness to challenge their beliefs and assumptions in an authentic and courageous manner. Vanessa’s clients particularly appreciate her approachable and empathetic style of coaching mixed with the right level of assertiveness, allowing her to invite them to explore uncharted territories and consider different perspectives. Clients working with Vanessa find it easy to rapidly establish a trust-based relationship, feel understood and deeply listened to, value her strong business acumen and profound understanding of diverse cultures and professional realities.

With a highly multicultural background, Vanessa works in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.


  • 15 years of corporate experience in global institutions before becoming a coach, responsible for designing and implementing robust employee engagement frameworks and communication strategies at the Inter-American Development Bank. 
  • Advisor to French multinationals seeking to develop their automotive and energy businesses in Latin America
  • Successfully built strategic partnerships for a French university aiming to solidify its brand internationally.
  • Eight years of coaching/facilitation experience with clients in all geographies

Education, Training and Certifications

  • MS in International Relations from Sciences Po Paris
  • MS in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences
  • BA in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris
  • International Coaching Federation certified Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching (Georgetown University)
  • Assessment certifications: Leadership Circle 360, MBTI, DISC Assessment, Mindshift Training, Social Styles Assessments


  • Mother of three kids under 10
  • Avid traveler: extremely curious about other cultures
  • Passionate about bringing people together and of putting in practice the “art of gathering”

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