Gaia Van der Esch

Gaia Van der Esch

Managing Director, 3Zero

Gaia van der Esch was nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30 a few years ago and is currently the Managing Director of 3ZERO, an organization working to make the world three zero: zero exclusion, zero carbon, and zero poverty. Gaia is the author of the soon-to-be-released “​​Leading Our Way: How Women Are Re-Defining Leadership.” 

Gaia discusses the moment she knew she was a natural-born leader, how her desire to make a difference guides her career decisions, her evolving perspective on leadership, and her three pieces of advice for leading visionaries.


[spp-timestamp time="00:56"] – Dino introduces his guest, Gaia van der Esch of 3ZERO.

[spp-timestamp time="03:07"] – Gaia shares her background growing up in Italy, her humanitarian work, and her rapid rise to leadership positions.

[spp-timestamp time="08:18"] – How a focus on gender equality led her to write a book on leadership (releasing soon).

[spp-timestamp time="09:44"] – Gaia shares her current role 3ZERO, what the organization stands for, and her vision for a better world.

[spp-timestamp time="10:43"] – A natural leader.

[spp-timestamp time="13:04"] – Gaia shares a story about the logical thing she did that led to a promotion for her and helped form her opinion of what leadership is about.

[spp-timestamp time="15:59"] – The gradual realization of her dual motivations: Gaia shares the importance of comprehending global issues and creating a positive impact and how her desire to make a difference guides her career decisions.

[spp-timestamp time="17:30"] – Building her self-confidence while recognizing her leadership traits.

[spp-timestamp time="20:13"] – It’s not about me and my profile: How people with values and skills can engage in meaningful roles that transcend profit-focused motives or self-centered interests.

[spp-timestamp time="20:38"] – Mission-driven and not afraid to speak up from an early age.

[spp-timestamp time="23:02"] – Gaia shares her innate drive for impact built from an unchanging core motivation and

[spp-timestamp time="24:27"] – Gaia’s evolving vision of leadership.

[spp-timestamp time="25:47"] – From task-driven efficiency to a facilitative role, Gaia shares how her leadership role has grown to encompass emotional authenticity, team empowerment, and fostering an ecosystem for collective success.

[spp-timestamp time="28:13"] – Dino shares the common challenge high-performing individuals have when they are thrust into a role with different cultures and working methods.

[spp-timestamp time="29:50"] – Recognizing her role as a change-maker.

[spp-timestamp time="32:30"] – Facing the challenges of being a leader and a visionary while steering your organization toward a unifying vision.

[spp-timestamp time="33:45"] – Dino asks Gaia to share her advice for leading visionaries.

[spp-timestamp time="34:02"] – The one question Gaia asks herself to stay aligned with her vision.

[spp-timestamp time="35:24"] – Recognizing when to shift your efforts elsewhere.

[spp-timestamp time="36:53"] – How to adopt a strategic approach to the broader organizational dynamics to be a more effective change-maker.

[spp-timestamp time="37:49"] – Gaia shares the behind-the-scenes of her upcoming book, set to release in a few months, and focuses on how women are reshaping the definition and practice of leadership.

[spp-timestamp time="38:43"] – Changing the rules of the game: Gaia encourages listeners to consider updating the rules of leadership.

[spp-timestamp time="40:08"] – “Leadership isn’t confined to job titles but is an attitude that can be exhibited at any level.”

[spp-timestamp time="42:30"] – Gaia introduces the concept of “circularity leadership” rather than hierarchical (Gloria Steinem).

[spp-timestamp time="42:49"] -The purpose of leadership and ensuring everyone has the freedom to be themselves and enact the change they desire in today’s complex world.

[spp-timestamp time="43:09"] You can preorder Leading Our Way: How Women Are Re-Defining Leadership now (releasing January 2024). You can also connect with Gaia on Instagram or LinkedIn.

[spp-timestamp time="43:57"] – Gaia shares the instrument she used to play at a high level and how music helps her to listen, discover, and express her emotions.

[spp-timestamp time="46:14"] – How being in nature helps bring balance to her travel-filled life.

[spp-timestamp time="47:02"] – Gaia shares the Italian phrase (and the English translation) from her childhood that still drives her crazy today and why.

[spp-timestamp time="48:19"] – The dish that helps Gaia keep her Italian grandmother’s memory alive.

[spp-timestamp time="51:24"] – If you enjoyed this episode, share it with your friends and family, leave a 5-star review, and subscribe on your favorite listening platform so you don’t miss any episodes. You can also follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram.

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Other links for Gaia:


Instagram: @gaiavanderesch

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Podcast Instagram: @al4edp 

Podcast Twitter: @al4edp

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Leading Our Way: How Women Are Re-Defining Leadership