An Interview with Corinne
Corinne Lembe Mayunga is Site Coordinator & Business Development Manager at Stillpoint Spaces, an organisation founded on the idea of exploring psychology in depth that offers therapy and coaching services. Originally from France, Corinne relocated to Berlin in 2013.
In this interview, we asked Corinne about how she started out in her career, what she’s learnt from her roles at startup accelerators and in mental health, and which go-to techniques she relies on to help her find calm in a busy schedule.
I‘ve been living and working in Berlin for about eight years, but I’m originally from France. It was curiosity that brought me here and, even after all this time, I am still curious about this wonderful city.
My first role was as an intern for a music streaming company. From this starting point, I moved into the entertainment and mobility industries but soon felt the need for something different. My experience over the years in PR and marketing got me access to the startup accelerator Plug and Play, and this helped me land a position at APX, an early-stage startup investor. The community building aspect was a big draw for me and has informed my current role at Stillpoint Spaces.
The personal learning opportunities were a huge highlight.
With two or three companies joining every month I was exposed to a diverse set of business cases. Despite this diversity, the founders were all going through similar challenges. Every day we were asking ourselves: “What makes a business work?”
I also learned when it’s time to stop revising an idea and to get input from others. There’s a limit to what we can do on our own and, although it’s hard for me to delegate, I’ve learned how much further and faster you can go with others supporting you. There is so much power in community!
Stillpoint Spaces is founded on the idea of exploring psychology both inside and outside the consulting room. In a practical sense that involves offering counseling and coaching, as well as hosting events and building a community. We are currently developing an employee assistance program, providing workshop training and therapy to employees.
As site coordinator and business development manager, I’m responsible for office management and taking care of the space. On the business side, I develop consulting services for companies.
Capitalism has created a society focused on work, with employees coming to see themselves as commodities, and productivity rated above all else. This kind of thinking goes against our human nature, while this way of living uses up a lot of our inner resources. When we have no time for ourselves, our mental health suffers.
Many people worked more at home than they did in the office over this past year and a half, with fewer boundaries between work and home life. Thanks to lockdown and remote working, mental health problems for workers only increased. The additional threat of job losses only worsened this problem.
Covid also brought numerous - pre-existing - societal inequalities to the surface, and following the Black Lives Matter movement everything felt particularly raw. Towards the end of the year, we received requests from companies for more diverse therapists to help workers from diverse backgrounds suffering from mental health issues.
What really helps me is being able to work part-time, which I am lucky enough to do. I think it’s important to question the ‘norm’ in terms of working hours. The link between long working hours and poor mental health is well documented.
I also need a morning routine that is completely mine. It might involve yoga, going for a walk, or meditation. The key is to do whatever makes you feel good. I have my go-to tricks for when I am overwhelmed. I find going for a walk in the forest a great way to calm down.
I would say don’t compromise! In the past, I didn’t allow for my own needs or make clear to others the things that are non-negotiable for me.
I would also tell my younger self it’s okay to present different parts of yourself, depending on the environment. When I was young I tended to blend into my social environments, but I have learned how important it is to have a group where you feel like you can be seen entirely. For me, this was a choir community here in Berlin. The members are all Black people or POC. Finding these people felt like heaven. If you can’t find this kind of group or space at work, I would suggest looking for it elsewhere.
Finally, I would say make sure to manage your energy and, if it comes to it, protect yourself.
If you don't know anything about the specific industry you’d like to join, that’s okay. Connect with people in the industry. Join meetups. Before joining Stillpoint Spaces, I did my research and attended their events to get a sense of what they do. If you have companies in mind, ask yourself some questions: What do they offer? Is this something you’d enjoy? Do you have somebody in your network that is connected to the target company?
It comes naturally to me. I had phases where I was not so open, and if that’s you right now my advice would be to take a break and just observe yourself and your environment. It’ll help you understand yourself better, your likes and dislikes, and give you more ideas of areas you'd like to explore.
To find out more about Stillpoint Spaces and their work in mental health, head over to their website: https://www.stillpointspaces.com/berlin-space/