Blog: Community Feature of the Month of August
While sharing the goodness of Finally, Truly Healthy Chocolates®, our community has grown as clients have become friends.
This month we shine our spotlight on Mariona Coderch López, an Empowerment Humanitarian Educator and a Certified Healthy Chocolover. She is a cherished member of the Co community.
Curious to learn more about Mariona, we asked her a few questions:
1. How should we describe your work/your vocation/your passion? And what do you find most fulfilling about it?
I am currently serving as Middle & High School Principal at Makers Learning School International, where we strive to empower female students to become thoughtful and independent visionaries. I joined MLS International after introducing the IB Career-related Programme at GEMS International School - Al Khail, where I implemented specializations in Business and Creative Media with Pearson International BTEC and in Aviation, Aeronautics, Engineering and STEM by partnering our school with the prestigious Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. I have also taught IB DP Psychology and IB DP Theory of Knowledge, amongst others.
However, whatever my role has been, throughout my career in education, my passion has always remained the same; that is to bring my grain of sand in making the world a better place by inspiring teenagers to make a positive impact in our fragile world. I believe that teachers shape the future of humanity with every student that they touch. It is an enormous responsibility to be in front of minors daily because students are highly impressionable. For this reason, I take my interactions with students very seriously. While our impact may not be immediately noticeable, it does come back eventually. Sometimes, it takes students to graduate and come back to visit to see the real impact that has been made upon them. Then, it all becomes worth it.
2. Can you tell us about your journey from a career in communication and marketing to becoming an educator? What motivated you to make this transition?
Growing up, I was always inclined to the arts, humanities, and literature. For a long time, I envisioned myself as a teacher of one of these subjects. However, it was not a career that had been explored within my family previously and so I finally pursued Journalism and specialized in Online Communication and Marketing. A few years into my marketing career for fashion and luxury brands, I felt empty. My day’s work did not fulfill me and so I took on a deep journey of honest reflection… which took me back to my roots. This is when I decided to become a teacher. I moved 500 kilometers away from my very supportive husband to pursue my Masters in Teaching Secondary, Specialized in Humanities at Universidad de Navarra. This was the most rewarding academic experience of my life. I was highly motivated and invested and I became one of the top students of my cohort.
3. Can you share a particularly rewarding experience or success story that you've had as an educator, where you felt you made a significant positive impact on a student's life?
Due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot share too many details with regard to student information. I can say that when students come back to visit upon graduating, or when they achieve a major milestone (whatever that may be for them, as every student has their own aspirations and challenges to face), something inside tells me it has all been worth it.
I see my students as “my” children. I feel a sense of responsibility when they fall short and pride when I see their accomplishments. Over two years ago, I had a student say to me “Ms, I want to become a film director” when he signed up for the IB Career-related Programme specialized in Creative Media… When the acceptance letter from the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) came through, I had goosebumps and could not wait to congratulate him in person. He promised he will invite me to the Oscars Awards ceremony when he is nominated in a few years - Inshallah!
4. How did you know about Co Chocolat?
I encountered Co Chocolat for the first time when I went to one of my regular Tibetan Singing Bowls Meditation sessions at SEVA Experience when you had a pop-up store set up. I immediately fell in love with the philosophy of the brand… From the fact that many products are gluten-free to the idea of supporting farmers ethically.
Although raised in Dallas, my natal city is Barcelona, where I used to ensure that my coffee and chocolate were ethically sourced. When I moved to Dubai, I wanted to continue purchasing ethically. With Co Chocolat, I have been able to continue supporting cacao farmers.
Meanwhile, due to chronic medical issues, I have gone gluten-free for the past 3 years. While I am not gluten intolerant or celiac, I feel better when I avoid gluten. At times, some gluten-free products can be full of other ingredients that are not so healthy to eat, defeating the whole purpose of my goal to avoid gluten. However, Co Chocolat’s ingredients are natural and easy to understand as a consumer. The trust that Co Chocolat transmits has made every bite tastier for me.
5. You have been such a silent supporter of Co Chocolat, can you tell us what are your favorite products?
My favorite products are the Affogato Chocolate Bar and the Peanut Butter Crunch Mousse Cake.
6. What do your passions/hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy working out and traveling.
My husband and I recently traveled to Uganda and visited the endangered gorillas at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It was humbling to see how similar we are to gorillas and how much we can learn from their kindness toward each other. I was shocked to learn that gorillas mourn and that mothers carry their deceased babies until they disintegrate. I am a big advocate of Mother Nature and strongly believe that it is our responsibility to learn and care for the environment. With these gorilla trekkings, benefits go to supporting the conservation of this endangered species by training and hiring rangers, vets, and other professionals.
Meanwhile, I try to stay balanced by working 3 to 5 days a week. I like to take 1-hour power walks and do SWEAT with Kayla. These moments help me reset my mind and feel energized.
What do they all have in common? The same values and love for honestly good chocolates while savoring wellness and health may it be physical or mental.
Those fun encounters with our customers that started with chocolates and food eventually led to interesting, and inspiring conversations. We discovered their passions through these exchanges and with our community growing bigger and more diverse each day, we figured it would just be awesome if we can inspire more people with fun and interesting features about our friends in the Co Chocolat Community.
Could you be our next featured member?