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In April I joined Tonia Mattu, creator of YUOLOGY and YuSchool, to photograph her master class workshop session held at L'Atelier Coworking space in Gastown.

My name is Tonia and I’m the founder of YUOLOGY, the study of you.

Woman in an emerald green dress smiles as she talks to attendees in front of a projection screen with the 5 elements of success on it at a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

I believe that people are the most successful once they know who they are, and I’ve come up with a framework to help them gain confidence and clarity in the process – called YuSchool. Now that I have over 500 students, I can truly say that success starts the moment you choose to be you, and it’s an absolute honour to witness this transformation in people’s lives.

A brunette woman in a white t shirt and pink pants takes notes during a group exercise in a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

I was inspired to start YUOLOGY after witnessing people lose their jobs during the 2008 financial crises, and as a result, lose themselves. I saw that people were losing their identity (self worth) as a result of something they had no control over, and I wanted to help.

I therefore created YUOLOGY as a way for people to gain confidence and clarity in who they are, so they can remain grounded and stable during the external challenges of life. I now work with modern women in transition who are experiencing any level of change in their careers or lives and want to reinvent themselves.

Just a few years ago, if someone had told me that connecting with myself would be the most important factor to my success, I probably would have laughed out loud. I’m one of those girls who knew what she wanted from day one. Born and raised in a small town on Vancouver Island, I high-tailed it to the city as soon as I could.

I worked abroad in Sydney, Australia, then chose Vancouver, Canada as my home base. From there, I travelled to over 30 countries, and visited (almost) all the continents (I skipped Antarctica — too cold for this hot-blooded girl!).
In Vancouver I had what appeared to be the perfect life — great corporate job, good friends, a sweet little downtown apartment… but I was still craving a bigger, more meaningful life. So I gave it all up, and moved to New York City.

Without a single contact, work visa, or job offer in my corner, I hit the pavement in one of the toughest city in the world.
I hustled like a fiend, and had a lot to show for it. I arranged 144 meetings, and was presented with six job offers. But then, one by one, the offers fell through. Visa restrictions, difficult HR policies — you name it, I faced it.

With every roadblock I hit, I felt the light inside me dim. My confidence, which I’d considered unshakable, took a massive hit.
Workshop facilitator in an emerald green dress and long dark hair writing on a piece of paper on a table covered with other materials at a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

Until finally, one freezing winter day, I found myself in Central Park. I had no job, I was running out of money, and I felt completely alone. It felt like everyone had somewhere to be except me.
I had no idea what I should do with my life. For the first time ever, I couldn’t do anything but ask for help. I asked for a sign. I pleaded for guidance, and when I opened my eyes and looked down — I kid you not — I saw my name, TONIA, engraved in the pavement at my feet.
And then it hit me: Success had nothing to do with external factors, and everything to do with me.

A woman in an emerald green dress greeting other women with hugs before the start of a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell
I had grown so disconnected from myself; I had to stop looking outward for my answers, and needed to start looking within.

The next few years were all about studying myself. I dug into NLP training, became a certified coach, and worked as a consultant doing mindset motivation and confidence building with Goldman Sachs professionals.
During the 2008 financial crisis I coached execs from US News, MSNBC, CBS, and Time Out New York. Over and over again, I saw the devastating impact of people disconnecting from their true selves, losing confidence and clarity, and struggling on their path.
I was aching to remind them of who they are, and to lead them back to success. So I created YUOLOGY — the study of you.

A woman sits at a table taking notes in a ring bound journal during a group exercise in a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

Join tonia's Yuschool programme

YuSchool is a transformational six-week course designed to give you confidence, clarity, and the courage to design your dream life. www.startyuschool.com

Image of a ring bound booklet for the Yuology Master class by Tonia Mattu sitting on a wooden table at a self care and confidence workshop by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

You can find out more about Tonia and YuSchool by following her on Instagram or Twitter, and her Yuology community on Facebook.

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