Although the MLA idea as a concept was born in 2015, it wasn’t until 2019 that it gained shape as a model for personal development, which is now the basis of a talent empowerment platform coming to life through the hands of two Portuguese women entrepreneurs, Catarina Holstein and Sandra Alvarez.

Catarina and Sandra first met at TEDx ULisboa on May 4th2019, when Catarina presented the MLA concept, in which Sandra saw potential from the first moment. It didn’t take long until the two came together to join forces with the ambition to make the MLA globally available.

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Catarina Holstein

MLA Founding Partner

After graduating in Business Administration and finishing her Master in Marketing at Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, she spent almost six years working at Unilever, managing different brands in Portugal, Europe and globally.

Feeling unfulfilled and driven by a desire to find her life purpose, she quit her job to travel the world whilst developing different competencies and exploring her passions and talents, a personal development program which she called “MLA – Master in Life Adventures” and that has profoundly transformed her life for the better.

After 5 years living abroad, Catarina returned to Portugal in March 2018 to reinvent herself professionally into a Talent Strategist. She has since then embraced different professional activities, such as teaching at University, coaching, meditation and public speaking.

She is now a curator for TEDx ULisboa 2020, where she was a speaker in 2019.

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MLA Founding Partner

Sandra has over 24 years of professional experience across different areas: marketing, sales, communication, advertising and media. She is currently General Manager at PHD Media (Omnicom Media Group). She holds a Master in Marketing from ISCTE, completed a postgraduate degree in Digital Marketing from INDEG-ISCTE and a degree in Economics from ISEG.

Along with her professional activity, Sandra is always investing in her personal development. She is currently a second year Ph.D. Student in Communication Sciences, Digital and Interactive Communication, at Universidade Católica Portuguesa. She is an invited professor at Idefe-ISEG and INDEG-ISCTE, teaching digital subjects in both Universities. And she is also co-author of the book: “To Be a Blogger: how to create, communicate and monetize a blog”, launched in 2017, with Marcador, an editorial Presença editor. She is currently writing her second book. 

She is a board member of APPM - Portuguese Association of Marketing Professionals and also of Make a Wish, a multinational NGO.

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