Modern Original People: Nina Kovner

Nina Kovner isn’t your typical executive coach. She’s rooted in realness as the go-to guru for re-igniting professional passion that creative-types often find waning at some point in their careers, stemming from a variety of issues.

As Passion Squared’s Chief Awesomeness Empowerer, Nina begins every morning wondering, “How am I going to help people create awesome today?” She’s also a highly sought-after speaker within her wheelhouse of beauty, wellness and fitness on personal branding, lending credence to your vibe attracts your tribe.

Imbuing her combined talents as a philosopher-therapist-energy healer, Nina’s clients rely on her as their best advocate, teaching objective self-reflection skills for defining their brands, not an easy task. While her millennial clients seemingly have this built-in, as we age, “Self-reflection can be scary as we often don’t like what we see. It’s hard to get honest with decisions and what you project into the world.” 

Through the collaborative work they do mostly online, she helps clients re-build their inner selves, re-discovering what makes them authentic, a key factor for any credible brand experience. She’ll ask what’s your brand about? Are you a value brand? Are your customers working mothers or millionaires? “One isn’t necessarily better than the other,” she says, “Good people in the same industry can be wherever works for them, and those needs change over time. Don’t judge where someone works as there are great careers all over the beauty spectrum. Success is in the eye of the beholder.”

She knows this firsthand: working as a leading sales and marketing pro for top haircare brands led to burnout in 2007, when she suffered a nervous breakdown from workaholism-induced anxiety. 

Staying at her job for another two years amplified bad juju, leading to hospitalization and an a-ha moment. After amassing all the luxe accoutrements that a nice salary affords, it was time to ditch corporate life. After 25 years at the top, all the big-ticket possessions didn’t make her happy. Worse, her on-the-road lifestyle led to illness, both physically and psychologically.

Her first step: simplifying for a stress-free life by selling stuff she believed exemplified success. Nina now works from home overseeing her business, traveling on her terms only for events and workshops aligning with her brand where she’ll have the most impact on her tribe.

Nina also encourages a digital detoxing routine, as too much social media is overwhelmingly competitive, comparative wannabe self-conception. “You won’t find true happiness or success in a mosaic of Instagram posts bouncing around and off others doing the same. At the end of the day, we’re most empowered when we own our decisions and how we present to the world.”

Post-breakdown priorities are happiness, limited stress, freedom and helping people. Practicing what she preaches, her mornings consistently start with focusing on what matters, planning time around what she deems important. Nina is not a believer in the word busy as “creative minds have a challenge in the focus department. Overwhelm is not your friend. Slow it down. Savor the joy that comes with living a life you love, building a business and brand you are proud of.” 

She designed Passion Squared’s modern operating model around what she can handle and equally importantly, what she chooses not to, noting that “At the end of the day, as a leader, storyteller and experience giver, you must be clear, strong, grounded, focused and rested in order to serve those in your care. There is nothing awesome about no days off. Or doing things half-assed. Or saying yes when you meant to say no. Take ownership of your responsibilities by focusing on the outcome. Less is more: quality first. Always.”

To learn more about Nina, check out her website at: or on IG at: @passionsquared