Aubry Alvarez, Ph.D. is a therapist and mindset coach with 15 years’ experience guiding women and teenage girls into the highest, most authentic version of themselves. Dirk Bakker, M.Sc. is a computer scientist. During the first ten years of his career, he built software tools to serve the needs of businesses, and now consults on bringing people and technology together. Read the full interview with the loving couple and business partners below!
You guys have a pretty unique personal story. Tell us about it.
Aubry: – Yes, people always tell us we should write a book! We’ve known each other for so long that our story has quite a few chapters. Our first chapter started back when we were kids. I grew up in Miami and he grew up in Belgium, and we met in the 1990s when he was visiting the States for the first time. We exchanged e-mails - luckily e-mails had just become a thing - and we remained penpals for over 20 years.
Dirk: – I also remember all the prepaid phone cards we used to talk on the phone. I Remember how the automated voice would say, “you have one minute remaining?” We’re spoiled now with video chatting on mobile wherever we are in the world. In a way, our personal life helped train us for our current business setup, which is a global operation. That is because we are a blended family raising our three children across two continents.
Aubry: – Our personal journey really fuels what we do. We had to dream big and be brave to make this life happen, and truly live a life by design, not default. Helping others do the same is the core mission of our business.
What is a “day in the life” like for you?
Aubry: – Well, the first thing to take into account is the time difference - when we’re not physically together, Dirk’s day starts six hours before mine. Over the years, we’ve found a way to beat the time difference by using voice messages! Every night before I go to sleep, while Dirk is still sleeping, I record a voice message for him sharing my evening, thoughts, plans, ideas, things like that. Then, while I’m sleeping, his morning starts with a voice message from me, keeping us super close.
– He does the same, so I also have a voice message to start the morning. The rest of the day is pretty normal, because luckily we can eat our meals as a family at about the same time. It is one of my favorite times of the day because we all video chat while we eat. All of the kids interact exactly how you would expect them to in person. It’s the best. Then every night, our oldest children go to bed while our youngest child naps, we do the sleep routine together, and then Dirk and I get some alone time. It’s a system that works perfectly for us for now. We use Google calendar and note everything in it, so we always know who is where, whether it’s a work meeting or a swimming lesson.
Dirk: – We try to keep business and personal life separate. It’s hard sometimes because when you are excited about an idea, you want to share that immediately. But when we are busy (or asleep), we use a different app to communicate about business. Otherwise, the two mix together too much. It’s important to have that balance. It’s also refreshing to note that our time difference is advantageous when it comes to productivity in our business. When I’m sleeping, she’s working, and when she’s sleeping, I’m working. That allows us to run our business 24/7 with zero burnout.
So tell us more about your business. What is MOVMNT?
Aubry: – MOVMNT itself is an acronym for make space, open up to inspiration, visualize, manifest, and note-take. It is a method for gaining clarity on what you want, making space for it in your life, and making it real. I developed it over the last 15 years while working in the therapy and coaching space. We wrote a workbook that dives deep into the science and spirituality behind the method. As a therapist and coach, I work one on one with ambitious women and teenage girls to bring their deepest goals to life. I use the MOVMNT Method in all of that. It helps with everything from self-love, to overcoming mindset blocks and fears, to crushing the hardest of goals. It’s super results-oriented.
Dirk: – I’m a scientist by heart, and the science of what Aubry does really resonates with me. I love to figure stuff out and my biggest puzzle piece I want to finish is the universe. Every day I learn something new, making the puzzle clearer from the tiniest bits, the quantum realm, to the big picture being able to visualize the filaments of the universe, ‘The Cosmic Web.’ When you study these things, you learn that everything in the universe is connected. Because we live in the universe, it means we are connected with everything. That is a big piece of our method, and before you use it, you come to understand that on a foundational level. Besides my passion, I’ve been working as a computer scientist for more than ten years.
– I started off building applications, then transitioned to configuring applications so they fit business needs, and in the last few years, I combined that with giving business advice to look at the bigger picture. Making sure the right applications are used but, more importantly, that they are working together by connecting them. This web of apps is also very powerful for our business to help it run on automation. And this is what I teach to some of our clients who want to start an online business. My role is to show our clients how to start an online business of their own, which works for them and their lifestyle. So many people have a passion and a skill set, but get shy around the tech stuff. I help them overcome that by teaching them ways to run an online business with zero to little coding so they can focus on their craft.
That sounds like a powerful mix. What is the future of MOVMNT?
Dirk: – It’s an exciting time to think about the future because the pandemic has been an incubation period for our business, allowing us to slow down and focus on our core mission, which is helping people to live a life by design. We’ve focused on virtual sessions, and love how it connects us with people across the globe, and we are positively surprised at how effective virtual sessions are. On top of that, we are excited to expand out into live spaces soon with workshops, and even retreats.
Aubry: – Yes! One of our dreams is offering retreats, especially for families. I see us working across generations, offering soulful retreats for daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, for example, and of course, for blended families like ours. Eventually, we would love to set up a foundation for entrepreneurial single parents. That’s the dream!