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Founders of Mind of Joy Consulting

Our Essential Skills Development Programme is the result of more than 20 years of our respective studies, training, professional experience, personal practices and 2 years of intense and exciting work to create its foundations.

We have synthesized our knowledge, experimented with our training content and designed an innovative programme that can truly and sustainably help individuals, teams and managers to flourish and succeed despite the complexity of their environments.

Our programme, because of its richness, its pedagogical approach and its ability to be integrated into different professional environments, is today unmatched on the market.

The spirit of Mind of Joy Consulting & Training is to support organisations by building effective, trusting and warm collaborations. This is the richness of our profession: to continue studying, practicing and experimenting in order to constantly nourish our vision and inspiration with the desire to share, to train people wisely and to benefit from enriching encounters.

Valentina Dolara

Co-founder, Consultant & Senior Trainer

I am a lawyer who graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in International Public Law. I started my professional career in the field of International Justice and protection of Human Rights.

More than 20 years ago, I started to focus my activity as consultant and trainer on conflict management and the improvement of personal and team effectiveness in companies, non-profit organisations and public structures (health care services, juvenile justice institutions, education and general administration).

For the past 18 years, I have focused my professional interest on practices of mindfulness and attentional, cognitive and emotional balance, providing me with effective tools to improve individual well-being and social relationships in professional contexts. I am a senior trainer of various mindfulness protocols for work environments and a Certified Trainer for Cultivating Emotional Balance and Transformative Mindfulness Methods protocols, as well as a Senior Faculty Member of the secular ethics programme 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life.

For the last 21 years, I have been developing curricula and teaching courses for various Study Programmes of American Universities in Florence on the Science of Happiness and Mindfulness Practices (Developing the Potential of the Mind, Mindfulness for Art Performers), as well as on Intercultural Communication, Human Rights Protection and Ethics in Globalization.

Since 2005, I have also been teaching and cooperating in implementing programmes and courses based on socio-emotional and ethical learning (Universal Education) that help individuals to develop their best mental potential and fundamental human qualities.

Since 2023, I am certified trainer in Social Emotional Ethical Learning (SEE Learning) by Emory University.

Laurent van Steenkiste

Co-founder, Consultant Strategy & Innovation

Graduating with a master’s degree in Business Administration in Paris, I have more than 20 years of professional experience in international marketing strategy for high added-value brands, products and services. I have worked in various BtoC and BtoB markets, ranging from luxury products to technological innovations, where I participated as Marketing and Communication Director in the development of numerous innovations as well as in the launch of several start-ups.

As a manager, my concern has always been to achieve the company’s objectives while developing the conditions for each person involved to find meaning, opportunities to grow and enjoyment in collaborating. I maintain that nothing great can be achieved without respecting and promoting human values. This is why I have always been a trusted, respected and happy colleague and manager.

For almost 25 years, I’ve been taking a serious interest in the nature and functioning of the mind, and I’ve been practising various meditation techniques to train my mind in mental focus, awareness, stress management and cognitive and emotional balance, totalling over 5,500 hours of practice over the last 12 years.

In 2015, I decided to go one step further and devote myself full-time to deepening my knowledge and experiences by taking a two-year international programme of study in the contemplative tradition of Tibetan Buddhism covering the science of mind, ethics, compassion and advanced meditation techniques. I then enriched my curriculum by obtaining a professional certificate from the University of California, Berkeley (USA) on three study programmes: Mindfulness and Resilience to Stress at Work; Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work and the Science of Happiness at Work, which are based on the results of scientific research in neuroscience, psychology and sociology.

I then continued to develop my knowledge by following various complementary study programmes, receiving a certificate from the Compassion Intitute on the theme of Building Compassion from the Inside Out with Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., a certificate from the Contemplative Consciousness Network on the theme of Cultivating Emotional Balance (full 42-hour course), and a certificate for Marshall Rosenberg’s 9-week training course on Non-Violent Communication.

Today, alongside developing and preparing Mind of Joy Consulting & Training courses, I continue to study the contemplative sciences and go on retreats.