Employee Experience Designer
Leadership & Wellbeing coach
FINANCE & ACCOUNTING (ca)
Business Administration (MBA)
SERVICE DESIGN (MBA)
YIN yoga teacher (certified)
Ayurveda teacher (certified)
My name is Armela Totaj, and I’m the founder of Cherish Your Work. My primary focus is in leadership and employee experience design, where I have a real passion for helping people generate success through personal development and wellbeing. I want to tell you my story because you will understand better how I can help you.
My career started in the banking sector to be continued in corporate finance and treasury. Over the years, I managed to accumulate a broad knowledge of the corporate world whilst working in many job roles from retail, customer service, marketing, and back-office operations to accounting, finance & treasury, budgets & forecasts, corporate controlling, quality management and corporate training. You can learn more about my background here.
I have always been keen to learn and develop new skills and enjoy the new perspectives gained in the way. I would say, I have always been competing with myself by trying to prove that any inner limit can be unfolded and obstacles can be overcome if we strongly desire and work hard. Looking back, I can notice a subtle pattern in my working life, which is about finding joy in each of my job roles and using it as the main drive to succeed.
Observation & Empathy
With a Mediterranean background, Finnish MBA education, and working in complex and matrix companies with international environments, I have acquired an in-depth knowledge of human thinking and behavior. During this journey, I have been witnessing many cases of the workforce suffering bad outcomes from their work, such as burnout, culture shock, lack of change management, constant complaining about their job roles and process, horrible bosses, and poor leadership.
Most of these cases, occurring from lack of focus and proper care from the employers for their employees, at the end was making business prosperity suffer in many ways, such as low workforce performance, poor work quality, disruptive workflow due to sickness leaves, high costs from international assignment failure, and long-time work vacancies due to employees burnouts.
This profound observation and understanding of the dynamics of the complex emotional experience aroused between the individual and work, and between individuals at work, along with my masters`studies in Human Resource Management, Organizational Behaviour, Leadership, Multicultural Communication, and Experience Design, has paved the way for a career where I can help people thrive at work.
During my working years, I've been an employee for many years and recently being an entrepreneur. Even though there is a big difference in between, the main challenge remains the same: prioritizing personal well-being while working hard. Growing up, an important part of my education from my family was about self-care. This has set the baseline for me to follow a healthy lifestyle and always finding ways to keep a good balance between work and life. In my career journey, the most reliable wellness toolkit which has supported me for more than a decade is the practice of yoga & mindfulness. This continuous practice has developed my skills of self-awareness, self-regulation, focus & persistence, self-empathy, observation, growth mindset, self-confidence, and more. It also pushed me to explore more about human nature in all dimensions: body-mind-soul. I have learned that to have a focused and creative mind and remarkable resilience, you must attain Emotional Well-being; it is a demanding journey but worthy to everyone who wants to unleash their full potential.
We are brought up in our society to learn the basics of right and wrong, good and bad, and ethically how to behave in the world. However, few of us are taught how to live a fulfilling, nourishing life while trying to make money and a career. We are not taught the most relevant lesson - how to cultivate self-mastery. My company, Cherish Your Work, is my opportunity to share my knowledge and personal experience about thriving at work through self-regulation. At the core of my services is Emotional Experience Wellbeing at the workplace. My passion is to guide people who engage a big share of their life at their job or business, through a new way of experiencing work - the way towards authentic happiness.
The turning point of my career came in 2014 while working as a Corporate Controller in Switzerland for a global manufacturing company with more than 60 subsidiaries worldwide. Among the tasks of Treasury and Finance, I was assigned to bring insights and provide ideas for improving the Group reporting process. My strong influencing and organizational skills have enabled me to achieve meaningful results, such as improvement in data accuracy, reliability, and on-time reporting, fostering cross-departmental relationships and information flow to develop continuous-improvement within the process of reporting. In the framework of this project, I have facilitated several training workshops within the company for Managing Directors and Financial Controllers. This experience was a strong call for me to envision a new career direction - a path that would bring me joy by doing a work that will help people find their own joy at work.
Very soon, I returned to university and in 2016, traveled to Finland to start my Master’s degree studies in Leadership & Service Design. Since 2018, my focus has been on training individuals to achieve their best version at work, craft better experiences when interacting with their team members and customers, and project fulfilling future careers. Since then, I have been creating and delivering training programs in companies, start-ups, and universities. Also, with a multicultural lifestyle, having traveled widely and lived in Albania, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, and Finland, I have gained a profound understanding of many different cultures.
From East & West
During my first Master`s degree studies in Business Management, I learned about the effective organizational design to maximize employee performance. During my Master's degree studies in Leadership & Service Design, I explored a lot about human emotional experience and how to achieve business success by improving employees' experiences in the workplace. The methods and tools learned to increase people's productivity through effective management, people satisfaction through design, and people’s inspiration through leadership are the ones I use to guide people to empower and develop themselves in the workplace. These are my assets from the Western side of the World.
Also, I realized that my qualification as Certified Yin Yoga & Ayurveda Teacher from a prestigious academy in the Netherlands and accredited from the International Yoga Alliance could also be applied to this new career direction. My own long journey in the science and practice of yoga & mindfulness, my skills for teaching and coaching through deep observation and true empathy, make me a good wellbeing coach. And so, another piece in the puzzle fitted perfectly ...more methods and tools that I could use to promote body-mind-emotions-spirit wellness. These are my assets from the Eastern side of the World.
The expectation to perform and deliver at work is constantly increasing in our business world. Extrinsic motivation has reached its limits of efficacy as companies find themselves with stretched resources - companies are seeking new ways to increase the performance of their employees.
Perhaps it’s time to look further afield for a solution, and bring something complementary to the Western perspective of Human Asset Management. And it is in the East where we discover how the art of mindfulness is transforming businesses. Mindfulness, the simplicity of awareness, seeing things as they are, get a clear path of thinking, and responding not reacting to events - it brings leadership skills towards ourselves and others by enriching relationships, improving the emotional experience, reducing anxiety, and alleviating stress. As the West scientifically recognized mindfulness’s impact, I fuse this ancient art with modern methods to give companies the impetus they need to regain their competitive edge. Besides teaching how to practice mindfulness, I also teach design thinking as another powerful skill that people can use to build efficient work processes supported by well-designed workflow and routines.
If you want to know more about my coaching and training I would be delighted to hear from you.