I think about the fragility of life and marvel at the mystery of our shared journeys.  Through my creative expression as a writer I am attuned to listening with the "ears" of my heart to hear the music of my soul.  My soul's language is given to writing and given again, in service to others through the retreats and workshops I create, and lead.

Anya Ushakova
Places des Vosges, Paris


Anya Ushakova, M.A. in Organizational Development and Transformation (ODT), and former PH.D., student of Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, spent three years as a member of a learning community focused on Self and Other.  Focused on the "how" more than the "what."  The "what" could be anything.  It is in the "how" we listen with the ears of our hearts that matters in the ancient and seemingly, lost art of conversation. 

The Transformative Studies doctoral program was designed for individuals who engaged in innovative research, combining rigorous scholarship, creativity, and self-inquiry focused on the development of the following capacities:


  • Making an original trans-disciplinary research contribution in a chosen area of inquiry:  Anya developed a fresh model of leadership entitled "Empathic Leadership."
  • Engaging in inquiry as a creative, and collaborative process in the context of community;
  • Engaging inquiry as an integral, spiritual, and illuminating process of personal and social transformation;
  • Applying one's research to real-world problems, articulating and embodying one's values, and skillfully putting theory into practice.


Prior to her return to graduate school in San Francisco in the late nineties, love of travel and the ways of cultures other than her own led Anya to a career that spanned over twenty years in the international hotel industry, working for some of the most prestigious companies in the world as a hotel executive, representing places like the Gritti Palace in Venice; the Ritz Hotel in London; Brenner's Park-Hotel in Baden-Baden and The Crillon in Paris.

Her titles ranged from Regional Director of Sales and Marketing to North American Director of Incentive Travel, to Vice-President of Corporate Communications, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, to simply Vice President and President of an in-house, corporate advertising agency owned by international hoteliers.

Born in Venezuela, South America of a Russian mother and ByeloRussian father, Anya grew up in the era of the Cold War years, with parents whose personal worlds had been shattered by World War II.   She and they lived as émigrés, along with two brothers and three sisters.  The family lived together in Venezuela, Germany and the United States.  Anya is multi-lingual and has a particular fondness for language that speaks from the heart.

Anya lives in the northern California wine country and has served her community in volunteer capacities in the realm of culture, and the arts since the year 2001: as Vice-Chairman to the Cultural and Fine Arts Commission through an appointment by the Mayor and unanimous vote of the City Council; as Advisor to non-profits such as The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art serving on the Advisory Council, to Board Director at The Sonoma International Film Society and The Sonoma International Film Festival. 

Anya designs change management programmes, workshops and retreats for organizations, communities, individuals, spa resorts, and healing hotels worldwide.  She introduces participants to their own creative expressions and encourages them to write and speak as if their soul language depended on these expressions.  She approaches every project with emotional intelligence and focus on mind, body and spirit alignment.