The inspiration behind Azkua


At Azkua, we believe nothing is stagnant. Nothing is static and the only constant is change. Azkua was born out of the urge to empower individuals and businesses to embrace their uniqueness, the joy of collaboration, and the desire to transform the way we work and live. So Azkua burst forth from what was formerly known as Open The Door Leadership.


Why the change?

People have preconceived ideas about leadership. We feel we know what that word means by looking at the past. At Azkua, we however believe that there is a new old kind of leadership being reborn. A collective, participative, and yet intimately personal kind of leadership. And we’re super excited to play a part in this transformation. So the word “leadership” dropped out of our name and was replaced by something new. Something that conjures up all sort of images – from aqua and water, to Aztecs and words that sound Japanese or Native American: Azkua.


Having said that Azkua still carries forward the energies, enthusiasm and spirit of the many people in its ancestral lineage. And we want to mention the beautiful, professional, inspiring and caring people who nudged Azkua towards its ultimate creation in big and small ways:

  • Johanna Nesbitt, the world’s best collaborator, coach and buddy. I shall never forget the wonderful year we spent together as Open The Door Leadership, before you went back to your native Canada – pitching, creating, failing, recovering, trying all over again, and succeeding.
  • Sarah Brown, women’s mentor, trail-blazer and powerhouse, and the heart-warming and transforming Lean-In Circle we co-facilitated in Delft.
  • Linda Kuld, cool, caring and super smart coach, globetrotter and adventurer from Denmark for being brave enough for becoming my very first collaborator in the Netherlands.
  • And of course the wonderful people back in Australia who still inspire me to this day: Corrinne Armour, Elizabeth Fritzlaff, Heike Fowler, and Pollyanna Lenkic to name just a few.


From here onward, we’ll be embarking on the journey of a self-managed organisation “Frederic Laloux style”. And we are so very excited to be working in these transformative and new ways. My deepest gratitude to my champions Amber Rahim, Dagmar Hopf, and Vassia Sarantopoulou for all your input, cheer-leading, and hard work over the last few years – and to our new joiners Dovile Corrigan, Nada Mesqui, and Unzela Haider for your trust in our vision and mission.

Szonja Kisgergely and Joanna Trawinska for being our Superstar virtual assistants. Natali Drake for the amazing work you did with our rebrand and website. Renee Veldman-Tentori for being our most raving fan.


And last but not least a huge thank you to our past and current clients, fans, ambassadors and
friends and family. You mean the world to us!


Manuela Damant. Azkua Coach