The Heroine’s Journey of Stella Ciardo


What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I don’t see my job as a real one, since it responds to an inner need and so gives me the freedom to express a part of myself, moreover working in a shop gives me the opportunity to meet many people and their stories, this is something I really appreciate.

What is my idea of happiness?

It’s hard for me to be happy in such an uneven world.

What is my greatest fear?

Every form of racial discrimination.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

My insecurity which sometimes makes me feel bad about others’ judgment.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I don’t really know, we are few left in this profession and I don’t admire anyone in particular.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Being still an idealist.

On what occasion would I lie?

I’d lie when the truth could offend somebody else’s sensitiveness.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

There is a lot of hypocrisy in my professional environment, so it is hard to find real friends.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Every time when one of my works is finished and I feel satisfied, serene.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Maybe my shyness, but this how I am.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

My shop, where beauty is created and I refer to beautiful human relationships too.

Where would I most like to live?

I like to live in Lecce, even if I would prefer this city to be less trendy and provincial, but more cultural.

What is my most treasured possession?

The affections I did not inherit, the ones I built over the years.

What is my most marked characteristic?

The coherence.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The popular neighborhoods, interesting places.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Locals out of the trend, the real ones, as an example “La Perla” restaurant.

What books influenced my life and how?

“Little Fadette”, because it was the first book I ever read and I loved the main character’s diversity.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

“I don’t regret”, Teresa De Sio.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Donald Duck.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Whoever fights for a good cause and doesn’t give up.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Julia of Fred Zinnemann, story of ideals and friendship.

What role plays art in my life and work?

It is essential, art is beauty and today more than ever we need it in a world so poor of harmony.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

It is true, it is all upon us and our ability to disobey.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Vincenzo Casto, which I collaborate often with, because we share the same passion for the art and for the shop we work in.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020? 

With whoever wants to let go of the ego’s and be contaminated by sharing my dream.

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020?  

Giovanna Ciampa (restorer), because we share one dream.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

It is the dream I was talking in the former question and that I have been following for years, restoring the ”Allegory of Provincia di Lecce”, a great work made by paper-mache from the late 19th century, realized by Achille De Lucrezi. Maybe they will never give us the work because new obstacles always raise, but was anyway nice to believe in it and sharing this feeling with her.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

Facebook: Stella Ciardo (Arte Cartapesta)

Instagram: la_bottega_della_cartapesta

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Whenever you are moved by love, you never stop.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 

Giovanna Ciampa (restorer)

Diletta Ciardo (Scientist)

Alessandra Crocco (Actress)

Anna De Nitto ( Anthropologist)

Caterina Gerardi (Photographer)

Silvia Trappa (Artist)

How can you contact me?

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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