Yana Aintabi, mother of two teenagers is the founder of Fem Galore, a club for international women sharing the intention to deepen their authentic life experiences. Yana is helping people to overcome obstacles to change the course of their lives, leading them to recognise and achieve their goals.
Yana Aintabi’s life navigated her to the Principality of Monaco three years ago. Since then, she has become a very active resident, deeply involved in the local community, running events aimed to help local people manage life’s uncertainties. She is a leading Core Energy Coach here in Monaco, bringing to her clients a uniquely effective methodology, helping people become unstuck, no matter what their challenges are.
Experiences can help you to find your voice
Yana was born in Ukraine and has spent her early years there. Due to the idiosyncrasies of the society there, where an individual voice was not accepted or even permitted, she is no stranger to navigating challenges herself.
While she had to adhere to the expected social norms of the time, Yana instinctively understood the importance of authenticity and true expression. After spending 6 years in Israel, at the age of 23, she moved to Germany after which she lived between the UK and the United States – until life guided her here to Monaco.
You moved to Israel for university, why?
“It was a natural choice as I am Jewish,” – says Yana. “It was also the “terrible 90s” for the Soviet Union. My mother found it very difficult to raise us in such an aggressive and unstable environment. She had a business running gas stations and was constantly under attack by criminal raiders who would be seeking profit. This was the key reason she encouraged me to leave. I studied History of Art at the University of Haifa which has the largest university library in Israel.”
Beyond offering a first-rate higher education, the University of Haifa aims to provide equal educational opportunities to all, in particular, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between Jewish and Arab populations on and off-campus.
However, despite the cultural diversity, it was not a smooth transition for a young girl to make such an ambitious plan to relocate to a different country.
“I am by nature a homebody, so to leave my family at such an early age was difficult. I remember I was living on my own with my cat,” – laughs Yana – “While studying, I worked as a security guard, a waitress, volunteered with the elderly, and did some modelling as well. Although this combination of study and work was a shock for my system, it eventually paid off, helping to shape me the way I am today.”
What was your biggest take-away from this decision?
“I believe that emigration is a great school of life. When you move to a new country at a young age and have the opportunity to experience different cultures, it can be a real eye-opener.”
What was the biggest cultural difference that made an impact on you?
“For me, the first culture shock happened when I moved to Israel, and it was a positive one.
One of my first memories there was being impressed by how carefully they grow plants and how they build precise watering solutions for them, providing pipes for every single plant, managing to plant in the desert sand, and producing the best quality of crops. I found this a great achievement in technology and innovation. It made me realise how much we took our fertile Ukrainian soil for granted.”
Did you experience any prejudice back then?
“I have to confess that I did,” – says Yana, after a brief moment of consideration. – “Even though I spoke Hebrew, they called me “Russian” making me constantly feel like an outsider. It was hard for me as a young woman but despite this, I was impressed by how resilient the people in Israel are, and how they have mastered living in the moment.”
Do you have any regrets related to your decision to move and study in Israel?
“My only regret is that I did not go through the army process. I would feel much more confident,” – smiles Yana. “Compared to university, the army offers a much stronger education. It can teach a lot of discipline. The Israeli Army is a great institution and teaches you how to be tough and to multi-task.”
Where did you stay the longest?
“The longest period for me was in London – it was a second home. I spent 12 most fabulous years there, socialising, taking Private View Art classes with famous Art Historian, Roger Bevan, doing charity work, styling photo shoots, and throwing events where people sang around the piano. I was getting involved in helping people, doing what I love the most – not only by bringing them together but by giving them a space to share their worries and find new ways of tackling their challenges.”
Why did you decide to relocate to Monaco?
“My children were in love with Monaco after spending the summer here, they felt happier being close to the sea and nature,” – laughs Yana. – “We were also aware of the benefits that the Principality offers from all aspects. I spent my young years by the sea, and later, in a big industrial, highly polluted city. Before, I couldn’t imagine my life without city energy, as I pretty much always lived in big cities, but the energy of the sea in Monaco recharges my batteries.”
What is your first impactful memory of the Principality?
“The beauty and versatility of Monaco offer you the feeling that you can have it all. You can be overwhelmed with luxurious service and discover nature by long walks to Italy and France.
I mastered my skills in sailing the boat and diving. Now I carry two certificates for powerboat handling from France and Monaco and I am a qualified diver up to 20 meters.
Monaco combines the dynamic city feeling and yet because it’s compact, you can accomplish a lot each day with the feeling that time is yours.
Being here strongly reminds me of the place I grew up, by the seaport. My strongest flashback happened once with the smell of drying oil at the Riva Yacht Garage – it brought me back to my childhood at the port of Berdyansk and brought goosebumps to my skin!
I never felt I could live lavishly and lay by the pool all day – rather, I preferred to walk around to immerse myself and discover new cultures. I always had a curious mind. What especially inspired me in Monaco,” – continues Yana – “was the Oceanographic Museum. I love architecture and history, and that building is exceptional.”
Being a fan of architecture, how do you find the famous Monte-Carlo Casino?
“It is an utterly authentic architecture, just like a giant LaDuree cake. Also, the history behind it thrills me. But,” – she laughs – “I am not a gambler.”
What does quality of life mean for you?
“One of the biggest pleasures in life is to be able to discover and learn something new, to be inspired by the people we meet in life, and to communicate our experiences genuinely. Life is a dynamic and interesting process that can shapeshift rather quickly. To adapt with ease involves persisting in difficult situations and focusing on your long-term goals.
I am in awe of those who are brave enough to approach life fearlessly, I aspire to do the same. For me, this is what quality of life is about. Those who have the tools to thrive in the face of adversity are those that live life fully.
With my coaching work and my work through Fem Galore, I help people become more curious, enthusiastic, innovative, and break down their fears. The process of life is what really interests me.”
Dare to change
While Yana’s life in Monaco now looks spectacular, the journey to it was very rough. Aside from the turbulence of moving around so much and being a foreigner in different countries, at the age of 16, she suffered a loss of a young cousin to whom she was very close (was only 7).
Leaving those dark moments behind, Yana built up her strengths step-by-step, and ever since, there has been no stopping for her.
“I am intolerant against any kind of aggression, even passive aggression. I am familiar with manipulative behaviour which has taught me to be a feminist from an early age. To be honest, my past motivated my journey and pushed me toward my goal to help others to be mentally independent. I am always around different people and I will always surround myself with those who are open to sharing values and experiences.”
Driven by her own experiences and desire for positive change, Yana established Fem Galore, a club to help women learn and grow for a better and more fulfilled life, helping them to be the best versions of themselves. She has also started her energy coaching business, working with both men and women with a unique methodology to dramatically shift negative inner thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.
What is the main reason for someone working with you as a coach?
“To shift your energy towards inner success. I discovered that the key is to go through the energy coaching process step-by-step. It works, and quickly!”
She has developed also a program that helps parents to improve their relationships with children.
“We are still learning the psychology of raising a kid. I still miss giving my children this type of sophisticated way of gratitude, the knowledge how to offer them psychological support and praising them. It is very important in life to feel fulfilled during the process of achieving a goal.
It is also essential for your physical well-being to know how to praise yourself, and emotionally feel satisfaction, making sure that you enjoy the process, every step of it.”
Yana also suggests parents having a similar relationship with their children, being there for them in all their ups and downs. That is how they teach their children how to be present in the moment.
What would you teach your children: how to be financially independent or mentally healthy?
“Neither. I would teach them first empathy. I think one of the most undervalued things in life is empathy. I believe that social skills represent a much higher value than having a high IQ.”
Do you think that our inner judgment can trick us?
“As children, we receive the “good boy, good girl” compliments which help to determine the future of our lives. You constantly look for the acceptance of others and this pattern often limits you from opening up to your own needs. It takes time to get rid of your judgments, even towards yourself.”
Did you experience this in your own life as well?
“My life is a learning cycle, and it took a long time to realise my own patterns. I dabbled with different ideas, like opening a little eatery where meals are based on personal blood groups, and writing a musical play – I am still deciding whether to continue with these projects.
Quite often my closest family and friends can be cynical about such ideas and this can hold me back, just as my inner voice – I want to be practical and at the same time explore exciting ideas.”
Do you think it is important to combine physical and mental coaching?
“I think they go hand-in-hand,” – says Yana. – “It is necessary to balance both of them. It is also important when you have children to teach them how to go through sorrow or crises because these elements are also parts of life. Being strong physically but mentally vulnerable is not the balance you aim for. Self-awareness leads to self-mastery. It’s all about acknowledging who you are.”
What is the biggest takeaway for people who go through your coaching programme?
“It is a completely new you. You’ll be focusing more on new perspectives and goals rather than on your problems and issues. Even if you just take the discovery session, you won’t want to look back. You will develop ongoing and forward-thinking.”
Breaking down social masks and barriers
Empowering people is among the most important key elements of Yana’s activities. She believes that social masks are part of the game of play which is part of most societies. She guides to bring out the real person behind these masks.
Being resident in London for 12 years, what do you think, do people in London or Monaco have more social masks?
“Based on my experience, people in Monaco are more open to enjoying life. They are more likely to be themselves, while in London it’s all about image. People in London are still excited to earn money. Here in Monaco, they spend it,” – laughs Yana. – “Despite the differences, I love both worlds.”
So, would you say that Monaco is a place more to retire?
“That’s the prejudice I used to have before I moved here,” – Yana giggles. – “I have been pleasantly surprised to discover a rather new demographic arriving in the Principality. These people are driven by the idea of contributing plentiful ideas to the community. The difference is that most of them have already accomplished certain milestones in their lives.”
It is a common saying that when you finally relocate to Monaco, you have also arrived career-wise.
“I disagree with this. You might have already achieved many things in life, but it is not the end of the road yet. We all have a lot to still discover, and life is about the continuous exploration of the many opportunities around us. You simply cannot close the door to new ideas and inspirations.”
Maybe the fear of rejection and failure is higher.
“No matter where you come from, most of us have scars from our past. It is natural in life to collect positive and negative emotions from early on. Self-belief and confidence are highly affected by these scars, however, with mental coaching, one can overcome his or her fears. I have met with many young families in Monaco during the past years and I have heard so many genuine stories,” – says Yana.
So would you accept complaining and excuses?
“Let me put it this way. If you want to be simple, then run to the forest and live the way you want. But once you are in society, deep inside, you actually want the society to integrate you. People are looking forward to join societies but eventually, they will start complaining, and get stuck in a vicious circle.
One of my favourite movies is “La Strada” by Fellini – the premise is that to some degree we are all responsible for our own life paths. We are often turning away from the warmth and safety of those who understand us to seek new experiences restlessly in a barren world. We are torn between the spiritual and carnal ideologies.”
I can imagine that many people do not want to be seen as weak by attending a self-help lecture.
“Vulnerability is a great problem of our modern society. In order to change, you definitely need to have the openness to absorb information. If you decide that you cannot change, then you have already set the course of your life, which will be downhill.”
You started Fem Galore in London, UK. Why not in Monaco?
“Logistically it was much easier to start the club in the big city.”
Have you had any events in Monaco before?
“Of course. We had a venue in Club 39, and we held multiple Zoom sessions during the pandemic, involving Monaco residents.”
When we talk about physical events, how big is your event in general?
“I never do events with more than 20 people. People tend to appreciate privacy. We normally do 3 hours of seminars, which feel like flying by very quickly. Everyone is interested to listen to the lecture part with our guest speakers. Then we do breakouts for interactive exercise and further immersive learning.”
What do you think is the key ingredient to making successful events in Monaco?
“Monaco has a very sophisticated society, and the people here are also very experienced in life. You need to excite them and bring them something new, something extraordinary.”
Do you charge for your events, or are they complementary?
“I found it important to attach a value to our events because people tend not to appreciate free things. Our group sessions are usually under 150 euros, which is a symbolic fee. Related to this, there is a quote I like from Edward de Bono: ‘Effectiveness without value is a tool without purpose.’”
Do you think people prioritise self-help?
“Many people underestimate the power of the “true you” principle. Change has to come from within and this concept often only hits us in the “middle age”. This is when you learn to stand up for yourself and understand your own desires. People need positive examples, proof that they can also make changes because changing our life and routines is not easy.”
You mentioned that you also create Zoom meetings. Is this the future?
“Zoom meetings are fantastic. I see so many opportunities in these digital meetings. It also allows people to connect with us easier. For example, if someone is shy to come to a live event, they can start with a simple one-on-one session, making the whole experience private and focused on their level.”
What is your plan with Fem Galore for 2022?
“I have noticed that people are requesting more and more personal sessions. Besides the professional advice, people like to hear about personal experiences, ones that they can relate to.
I was also asked on multiple occasions to share my life story, including all the turbulent challenges and obstacles, and of course the ways how I could gradually overcome them. Generally speaking, having someone who talks about their life experiences openly and less scientifically, makes people open up more which builds up trust. It becomes a natural way to share. For me, it is a big remedy.”
From housewife to a recognised entrepreneur and life coach
Was it easy for you to be and exist in the shadow of an established husband?
“Thank you for this question. I have been very blessed to have the environment my husband provided for me. However, sometimes this made it more difficult to believe in my own potential as so much value is placed on money as a way of impacting the world.”
Yana explains that successful people often get stuck in their status for years. Sometimes they don’t want change to happen even within their family.
“Of course, it can create conflicts when someone in the family starts bringing forward new ideas and approaches. The conflicts can arise from anything that seems to cause changes in the existing daily routines.”
How can someone break out of these habits?
“It was not easy for me because when you are facing an obstacle it will challenge you. And when you are out of your comfort zone, then the easiest choice is to step back into the safety zone. The hardest part is to be brave and fulfil our dreams because magic only happens when we are ready and open for it.”
How did the family react when you started to spread your own wings?
“They definitely sensed the changes. And I can tell you with all my heart that it is worth all the effort and pain to see how proud my teenage children are of what I have achieved.”
How did this change you?
“First of all, I love my children but I also realised that by being a mother I made many sacrifices in my life. I was always proud to be an independent and strong working woman. By choosing the path to being a mom, I made a choice to be dependent on my husband.
Being a housewife is a full-time commitment because you are busy 24/7, yet it puts you into a very different level of status. For a strong, powerful, and resourceful woman this can be a pretty unfair status because being a mother requires a lot of energy, and energy is a currency that should also be appreciated.
Being a wife and mother over the years and placing myself behind my husband, who is an established businessman, consumed me a lot. I realised that it would take a lot of work, but deep inside I knew that I had to make the change if I wanted to have a different dynamic in my life.”
Do you think more women should push for their dreams and take charge of their future?
“Women in leadership is becoming mainstream, and perceptions are continuously developing. I am mesmerised by the changes brought on when women begin expressing themselves more, and I am happy to help with this energy shift. Leading is the way we help move people into action.
It is undeniable that if you have a privileged background, especially if you stand behind high-standing businessmen, you experience a unique intensity in your life.
As women, we often melt our wings to be the best wives, mothers, and partners. Irreplaceable, understood, and loved. We are like nuns, devoting ourselves to our cause, forgiving when we shouldn’t, not leaving when we should.
Going back to Fellini’s masterpiece “La Strada”, I must mention here the part where Il Matto tries to convince Gelsomina not to leave Zampano – “If you don’t stay with him, who will?”. Ironically, we still believe in happy endings, however, there is the unique potential of every woman that should not be underestimated.”
This is the reason behind the Core Energy Coaching, right?
“Yes, indeed. Core Energy Coaching is the process that helps people tap into their inner purpose or passion, and connect that with their outer goals and strategies to bring out extraordinary and sustainable results.
The main goal of a coach is to raise awareness and help their clients to recognise opportunities to grow. Most often this is quite subconscious, and we don’t even know where we want to go and what makes us happy.”
Yana strongly believes that we are living in a goal-driven society. That is why being able to set goals without any judgement can move us forward.
“As a coach, the very first thing that I want is our clients to understand the main reasons underlying their goals. After this, our process can be applied to any field. For example, it can help you start your own business, lose weight, or break free from unhappy relationships. It can even help a mother connect with their teenage daughter.”
How does it work?
“Core Energy Coaching helps you to shift the focus from fear, depression, and anger to release the inner voices that hold you back from success. It is not meditation; it is a unique process to move you forward.”
Do you coach men as well?
“Yes, actually my first client was a man,” – smiles Yana. – “Surprisingly, men are more vulnerable than women, they are just not used to showing their weakness. Men are taught to be men, work, and provide. But they should also be allowed to cry and be sensitive.”
Do you like one-to-one sessions?
“I love to help people and the size of the group doesn’t matter to me. What really counts is that I can motivate people to make a positive impact in their lives.”
Talking with so many people and hearing negative stories how does this affect you on a personal level?
“Honestly, I thought that in the beginning, it would affect me. As you get involved it is easy to become subjective and sympathetic. However, in the end, Core Energy is a system of being non-judgemental, empathetic, rather than sympathetic. Objective and not subjective.
There are some unique techniques that can help the client to be their best. Once you own those skills, things that used to hold you back won’t penetrate you anymore because you will be on the top of it. You will be able to release those limiting blocks.”
Do you meditate as well?
“On and off. I do different things, including yoga and meditations too. However, for me, it is important to diversify and try different techniques because one of my key motivational sources comes from experiencing multiple things in life.
I am very active every morning. I always do some kind of exercise. For my close friends, I teach “face gym”, for example, how to bring your cheeks back, and how to contract all your muscles.”
Living in Monaco
Yana is living in the Principality for more than three years now.
How do you feel at the moment?
“I am very happy with my life and the person that I am. People tend to say that the grass is always greener somewhere else, but not for me. It would be extremely hard for me if not impossible to look back and say that I was happier in the past. I recognise the progress in my personal development and even the smallest steps helped me to become a better person. Also, I am very much enjoying what I am doing.”
Being a mother, what is the most important topic you would like to teach your children?
“I would teach them empathy and the importance of intuition. We all face an enormous amount of diversified information. In order not to drown in it, we have to be able to navigate and not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by it. I aspire to teach them to be useful in society. The concept of resilience and authenticity is also very important. Maintaining a healthy mindset is essential.”
How did your children integrate with the other kids in Monaco?
“I was quite surprised how smoothly they integrated. I was really pleased with the welcoming school environment. It took a bit of time for me to get used to the luxury and designer trends the children were into here compared to the UK. I fought it initially but ultimately we want our kids to fit in. We have to adapt to this society we are living in and as parents, we do what’s needed to ensure a smooth transition.”
Do you see the Monaco residents as more honest, not wearing social masks?
“Somehow it is easier to be authentic in Monaco. The society here is quite transparent and you cannot hold your mask for too long. To be honest, I found people more open here than in London.”
Do you miss your home country, Ukraine?
“Whatever country resonates with you, is the one that brings out the best memories. For me, Ukraine resonates with my childhood. It is a rich country with kind people.”
Do you have any specific memory from your childhood in Ukraine?
“As a child, I used to have a busy schedule between professional gymnastics (4 hours a day) and helping my mom with my three younger brothers. I am from a small town on the Azov Sea, and I remember black caviar in great quantities (by litres not by grams), amazing peaches, apricots, and cherries, and the smell of charcoal and boat sealing oils in the air.”
Do you help refugees as well, since they are going through a difficult transformational period?
“We cannot support the illusion of normality when such a disaster is taking place as it is at present, whether we are related to Ukraine or not. I and my parents, who live in Berlin, have been very active these past two months. I do a lot of charity, volunteer coaching, and humanitarian work, and am helping to collect goods through pick-up points in Monaco. My mom is teaching German to new refugees, many of whom are moving to Berlin.
But I do not think about this as volunteering. It is a part of me that is eager to help. It is also a natural balance because a lot comes from feedback and I want to direct my energy to help people to make positive changes in a very impactful period of their lives.”