Evi Kahle is an expert in the human dynamics of change, women’s leadership, and culture.

An expert in change makes a big change

Library Life — published 25/11/19

When we met Evi a couple of months ago, she had recently made a huge change in her life: Leaving San Francisco to move to Brussels and start all over. So we sat down with Evi to find out more about how to handle change professionally and privately.


Evi, you have recently moved here from San Francisco. Why did you make the change and what have you learned from it?

I was born in Germany and my family emigrated to the United States when I was 5. These last 12 years I have been drawn to reconnecting with my European roots and to live and work in Europe. I chose Brussels as it is such a highly international city and I enjoy meeting people from various cultures. I have been here 11 months and am delighted to be here. To me, Brussels feels like a large village, people are friendly, there is such a vibrant cultural scene and I love being able to walk everywhere. One highlight this year has been the reinstatement of my German citizenship; Germany did not allow dual citizenship until recently.


It is a year of many changes and as I am professionally focused on the issue of change, it is also a time of learning. One outcome for me has been an interest in writing about change and resilience so as to help bring more understanding of the complexity of the process of change and to underscore the impact of societal change on the individual.


Why should we be paying attention to our ability to change?

My expertise is in the human dynamics of change, personal, cultural and organizational. The failure rate of organizational change initiatives continues to be very high as there is insufficient understanding and appreciation of how change impacts people and culture and how to work with that constructively.


I am fascinated by change and believe that our ability to manage change will be critical in the future as there are so many changes in society today and an ever-increasing pace of change. In many ways, change is a much more complex human process than is often understood.


I am living through major life changes at the moment: my move to Belgium, change in my professional direction, my identity, home, relationships, culture, even language. I find it interesting to be my own personal laboratory, having previously been through many significant changes already. What continues to stand out for me is the inherent chaos and depth of emotional experiences. Change is not linear and takes us into many parts of ourselves. Real change entails facing our anxiety, fears, failures and losses, perceived or real. Real change allows and sometimes forces us to develop aspects of ourselves.


Resilience comes from actually living and working through difficult situations, learning from them and allowing ourselves to be changed by them. This brings the emotional balance, wellbeing and freshness necessary for creativity and innovation.


You are new at The Library, but not new to co-working. What, in your opinion, does co-working bring to your work-life balance?

For me, the key attraction is the ability to meet people and share my working day in the company of others. I enjoy being in conversation with people from other businesses and with different perspectives, both sharing and learning from each other. And as I am still settling in in Brussels it is a wonderful opportunity to feel part of a community. The warmth and welcoming nature of the people at The Library add a social dimension to my day. And the people and conversations are genuinely interesting. One unexpected and wonderful benefit was immediately meeting another member, Monika Hoegen, and discovering mutual interests in change and challenges in business today. We are now collaborating in researching ideas and writing.

Find out more about Evi here

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