Lead with intent to always honor life and each person’s soul purpose and aim to nurture that in everyone you encounter. This aligns with #2, the more you know yourself and the more you heal and right your own sail, the more compassionate you become and the more you can see that brightness in others
As a part of my series about leaders who integrate mindfulness and spiritual practices into their work culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee Ann Fortunato-Heltzel, owner of Creative One.
Lee Ann Fortunato-Heltzel brings more than 30 years of marketing and advertising experience, winning prominent art direction awards. Working alongside clients like 3M and Revlon, she has mastered the promotion process while understanding the challenges companies face in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape.
Lee Ann serves as a graphic instigator and creative guide through all aspects of visual presentation and promotion, including marketing strategies, web design, collateral, brand building, social and multi-media, collateral design as well as community outreach campaigns. Unlike typical marketing, Lee Ann uses her esoteric gifts of tapping into and unleashing pure potential, instinctively seeing a project’s highest and best result.
To Lee Ann, creativity is a gift that anyone can utilize in all aspects of their lives and livelihoods. Her ultimate role is to help others tap into their highest potential through creativity and deeper self-awareness so to step into one’s most deeply held goals.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
I consider myself very blessed. I grew up in the Midwest enjoying horseback riding, hiking, and sailing. Much of my childhood was spent writing and drawing in nature, spending time with close extended family and raised by loving parents. I married fairly young, have 3 amazing grown children and now becoming a grandmother.
Professionally, early on I was fortunate to mentor under a prestigious advertising mogul at a world class ad agency, Bozell Jacobs, where I worked with major clients like Revlon, 3M and B. Dalton Booksellers, resulting in earning a Silver in the One Show, NYC and other prestigious national awards. It was a huge accomplishment for a female in my 20’s. My professional training is in visual communications, but creativity has always been the anchor of everything I’ve done. Layer on top of that a deep practice of self-discovery through spirituality and the study of human potential, studying under a Brazilian healer, traveling the world exploring esoteric mysteries and fearlessly stepping into the unknown, more than once.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
I grew up attending church as well as being exposed to complex esoteric concepts outside of religion. I was a deep thinker for a child and was lucky to have a father curious about life’s mysteries. My favorite times were spent hiking with my Dad on Sunday afternoons after church and hearing his thoughts on the latest book he was reading or thoughts he was pondering as we took in the aromas, sights and sounds of the forest. Our diverse conversations circled around topics like Edgar Cayce, parables, UFO’s and sacred geographic locations. He would say, ‘There’s just so much we don’t know’.
My father and I shared that passion of deep self-discovery and I realize now as an adult that I was the only one he could freely have those conversations with. My father sparked that curiosity in me or, as I like to see it, it’s where our souls intersected in a commonality of understanding. My whole life has been about blending together living the practicality of life while uncovering and integrating what more is possible that lies just outside our awareness.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
My esoteric knowledge and capacities have completely blended with my marketing firm. I can both work within society’s framework as well as step into higher states of consciousness to see the highest potential, the true accomplishments that are possible for my clients. With Source as mentor, I deliver the profound into the practical. Branding becomes energetic beacons radiating out the truest essence of an organization. Expanding human potential is at the fore front of what I offer my clients, stepping them into their Fully Realized state so they can see their highest version of themselves without fear.
My MetaWork taps into and expresses the essence of a person or an organization. That choice and that action of disseminating essence magnifies their mission in the world and allows an authentic soul-based culture to be birthed.
I work only with conscious businesses aware of their impact on their staff, customers, the planet, and the commitment to “do no harm” and instead, make a positive impact in everything they do. My work, therefore, is a mission and service to only those organizations that value making a difference. It’s humbling to go into the inner sanctum of an organization, see their greatness and assist in broadcasting that essence to those they are here to serve.
Let’s face it, we spend upwards of 100,000 hours of our lives working. Those hours should nourish us spiritually and assist us in our own greatest becoming rather than a job we do passionlessly waiting for the weekend to free us for 48 hours.
I love what I do, it’s not work. It’s me showing up in my essence to show others theirs’s whether it is MetaWork, MetaArt or the practical art of branding and marketing.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
First, let’s define success. Maya Angelou said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and like how you do it”. I would add to that the words ‘in one’s full expression’. I am monumentally more successful due to integrating my spiritual practices into my livelihood. Because of it, capacities that are unimageable to some have come as the result of leaping outside the norm and deeper within myself and therefore higher dimensions of life. And, I share those gifts with the clients I serve. We are each powerful beyond our understanding. Not the kind of power that comes from control, but the power that comes from Love. For me, success is to live and work with clear intent to express one’s passion, living in freedom to do so.
Three years ago, I gleaned the direction to get rid of all my belongings and home. I told my clients all over the US I’d like to work with them in person living in trust and surrender knowing I would end up exactly where I needed to be both to serve others and explore my higher calling. Prior to this, I was excited about my MetaWork (that which I step into higher consciousness and into the essence point of my clients, what I call their Creation Point). It was very satisfying work, but I felt there was more. That inkling to roam, trusting and ‘letting go of the shore’, was and is a grand adventure! It was just me and my high mileage Toyota Matrix, crisscrossing the US. As I did, my work expanded from going into the Meta on behalf of my clients to taking my clients into that higher space for themselves so they could see, feel and experience the highest potential for their organization. It’s profound work that is ever expanding. The branding and marketing are simply results of the bigger work.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
I would say it is to fully know yourself. Know who you truly are. Not what you’ve been conditioned to believe about yourself or what society expects of you, but rather focusing relentlessly on what you are here to do. What are your superpowers? How can you be the biggest light to your fellow human beings and planet and how are you going to achieve it?
To me it’s a daily practice of living a better and better life. It never ends because self-discovery and sharing those gifts never end.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
Oh gosh, there are so many. Many of which may seem very ‘far out’ there to most people. I think the most impactful are those that render me speechless knowing the event is happening within many dimensions and too profound to explain.
One short easy story happened when I was with dear friends on a in spiritual retreat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s a city brimming with artists, vibrant colors and rich landscapes. I found myself on several meditative journeys painting a beautiful self portrait of myself with the body and wings of a dragonfly. I hadn’t painted in decades, so I was enjoying these meditations. I could follow every stroke of the brush and hear the paint as it glided onto the canvas. It began to affect my waking hours as well, causing me to see profound beauty in every turn as I drank in the colors of life around me. When I returned home, I immediately bought canvas, brushes and paints, feeling guided through each product choice as if a higher knowing within me was directing exactly what was required. I rushed home, dusted off my easel and painted for hours deep into the night. However, I don’t have any detailed recollection of painting the painting. I mean, I’m aware I was standing there, but the actual act of painting I can’t ‘remember’. It was as if the painting came through a different dimension, the dimension of my meditation not that of my waking life. It simply seemed to manifest through the same meditation I had had in Mexico but now my hand was recreating the piece. A painting far better than I should have been capable of since it was literally decades since I had picked up a brush.
I could write a book of all my spiritual adventures, and maybe someday I will, but it may need to be presented as fiction for many to understand.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
At every important junction in my life, the perfect person or group of people stepped in to show me what I needed to learn. I, unlike my father, have an amazing community of like-minded people I’ve explored these realms of higher consciousness with. They challenge, amaze and support me, and I them. This close circle of soul allies is more like a complete ‘system’ as we offer each other wisdom and direction organically, perfectly timed and orchestrated by our higher selves.
Beyond my circle of close cohorts, the events in my life have gracefully guided me as well. Regardless of positive or negative experiences, they have helped me learn and stretch, realizing I create my reality. So, there is a lesson, a golden nugget of growth to be found always. With every act leaves a gift behind of growth and understanding oneself deeper and uncovering a more meaningful way to serve.
I’m grateful for the friends I’ve explored life’s mysteries with meditating as the sun rose perched on the top of the Bosnian Sun Pyramid, studying under a Brazilian shaman in South America, meditating as the sun rose up the red cliffs of Sedona with hundreds of other devotees, and dancing deep in the Temples of Damanhur, Italy.
I’m even grateful for the destructive relationships that showed me my deepest strength and inner wisdom that otherwise would lie dormant and undiscovered. And the loving family members where countless beautiful memories lie. I’m grateful for it all, because it all results in the me that is now.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
#1 Start with yourself. Strive to know yourself deeply. The more you know yourself and heal yourself, the more you can understand your impact on your staff and beyond.
#2 Trust your inner voice. This works off of #1, the more you know yourself, the more you can trust that deep part of you that knows what is right for you.
#3 Lead with intent to always honor life and each person’s soul purpose and aim to nurture that in everyone you encounter. This aligns with #2, the more you know yourself and the more you heal and right your own sail, the more compassionate you become and the more you can see that brightness in others.
#4 Serve those you lead and nurture their inner voice. Know you are nurturing leaders and people capable of expressing fully their passions.
By doing all the above will create a culture of freedom of expression, personal expansion and a culture of Joy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
To support business leaders to implement number 1–4 in the prior question. By understanding those pieces of us that act out of fear and wrong beliefs of ourselves, and consciously choosing to grow beyond those limits, we can help others to work outside their fear and their untruths. Then, lives change, work changes, and the world changes all for the good.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?