A Women's Circle with Louise & Maria at Casa Divina Lodge

A Women's Circle with Louise & Maria at Casa Divina Lodge

A Women's Circle with Louise & Maria at Casa Divina Lodge

Besides being one of the best lodges in Mindo, Casa Divina is also a place where magical and transformative experiences can happen. Last August we had the visit of Dr. Louise Santiago and Maria Conolly, who came to spend some days in the middle of the cloud forest while working on their new project for inspiring and empowering women.



During their stay, our co-founder Molly had the great idea of inviting them to one of the gatherings of the women's circle "Mujeres del Bosque", and share one of their transformative dynamics. It was a beautiful moment for those who had the chance to participate!

Would you like to organize a retreat at Casa Divina Lodge? Contact us and we can plan it together!

Curious about their work and knowledge, as well as the impressions of their stay at Casa Divina Lodge, we made a short interview with them and now we share it with you:

Can you please explain, in a short paragraph, what is it that you do?

Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower women to intentionally develop their authentic presence, core values, attitudes and skills that are the foundation of high-performance leadership. We do that through our Women’s Retreat, individual Coaching, and Training events.

How did you two know each other and how long have you been working together?

We met in 2016 at a coach development event – Coaches Rising, Power of Embodied Transformation. After our transformational experience, we continued our connection with each other and became great personal and professional friends. We realized that in collaboration, we have a lot to offer. We’re ready to bring our experience and wisdom forward and provide an opportunity for other women to explore their ways of being, their leader within, and “neways” of being present in the world. We have a collaborative goal of providing opportunities for growth based on the quality, excellence of presenters, and depth of emotional intelligence we learned from Coaches Rising.

What is it about the other that complements your work?

Maria is a trained somatic coach, a clinical psychotherapist, and a Master NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner. Louise is an award-winning leader, university professor and Reiki master. So, when we collaborate, we experience incredible synergy every time! Our eclectic blend of experience and training help us appreciate the beauty of combining the awareness of body, mind and heart to help individual and groups develop into their fullest. We believe everyone is on the road to transformation, we want to be catalysts in that process.

I understand that you came to Casa Divina Lodge to work on some new project. Coming from the city, how did you find Casa Divina as a place to work and get inspired?

We are both ambitious and creative. We have a passion for supporting women to be the best version of themselves. During our stay at Casa Divina, we were able to focus on our best selves and discover more insight into our work with women. We now have a fully developed annual retreat model for women who want to take this introspective journey with us. Many of our ideas crystallized during our retreat at Casa Divina! The setting, the quietude, the scenery, the climate and the people all contributed to our ability to tap into our creativity and solidify our program for women.

Can we know something about what is coming?

We plan to come back to this amazing place with more women so that they, too, can tap into their intuition in this idyllic place! We plan to make Casa Divina a regular stop on our itinerary of world offerings of our work.

While you were at Casa Divina, you where invited to participate and lead a dynamic in the women’s circle “Mujeres del Bosque”. How was that experience for you?

It was such a treat, like the cherry on the top of a cake. Working with such a diverse group of women gave us the chance to learn more about culture and share some of what we do. We feel like we were gifted with a chance to learn more about what women experience in their daily life and how each woman has this inherent leader that wants to step forward. We hope we can connect with Mujeres del Bosque each time we visit.

In your experience, what’s the importance of women’s circles for the community?

Women’s circles are places of power and love. When women come together on a regular basis they develop an inner strength, a confidence that allows them to be a greater support for the community. Women need and support each other in a way that is unique to the world. We hope to continue to facilitate this coming together of women to contribute to the world’s well-being.

How did you end up coming to casa Divina Lodge? Would you come back or recommend it?

Last year we met Molly Brown on a women’s trip and we were impressed with her vision of what she was able to create at Casa Divina and we knew we had to check it out. Now that we have had an opportunity to meet Efrain Toapanta and hear about his story of Mindo and his vision of protecting the biosphere, we deepened our appreciation for the vision we glimpsed when we first met Molly. We highly recommend Casa Divina Lodge. We were so positively supported by the staff. We were well nourished and had ample time to work together and rest as well as enjoy the local offerings in Mindo!


Would you like to organize a retreat at Casa Divina Lodge? Contact us and we can plan it together!

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