Building Emotional Firewalls

Cyber criminals manipulate people based on their emotions. We help you mitigate social engineering attacks through our unique Tabletop Exercises. Want to learn how?

Meet John! John has been a CISO of Company Y for five years now. Ever since COVID-2019 disrupted ways of working in his organization, he has had some sleepless nights. Cyber-attacks have seen a sharp rise of 600%, and over 75% are because of human error.

Despite all the cybersecurity awareness and training, no one seems to care! Only 45% of the entire workforce is taking these training sessions. And half of them keep making the same mistakes. His management and peers understand that cybersecurity is critical; it keeps popping up everywhere. And yet, cyber breaches keep taking their toll on him and his team.

We helped John turn this around. We worked with John and his peers to design and facilitate Tabletop Exercises where Stakeholders, Senior Leadership, Management Teams and Staff exercise collaborative leadership. They leave with a toolbox on how to fuel IQ & EQ simultaneously, increase stress tolerance, build resilience, engage stakeholders and build thriving teams.

The TTE replicates cyber attacks which are social engineering techniques to inflict cyber crime such as the most prevalent phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, impersonation and identity theft.

Lisa, a marketing manager with the company, loves this approach! She has been struggling in managing her team remotely and handling all the increasing workload.

Now, not only has she learned how to foster cyber hygiene, preparedness and resilience within her team: she also has a toolbox in increasing her team’s productivity and engagement levels despite external disruptive factors.

Within six months, the participation rate in this training has gone up to 85%. The human error went down from 75% to 44% as people learned how to build their emotional firewalls against the rising malicious social engineering attacks by cyber criminals.


What we deliver…

  • The design and development of real-life inspired cyber crime scenarios to exercise  collaborative leadership across the entire life-cycle of a cyber security attack. Learn more…


  • Fuelling your IQ & EQ, Increase your Stress Tolerance, Building Resilience, Stakeholder Engagement, Exercise Crisis Communications, and Building Thriving Team Cultures. Learn more…


  • Dynamic and interactive virtual team workshops with break-out groups leveraging creative problem-solving and decision-making to real-life inspired cyber crime scenarios. Learn more…

“Beat cyber criminals at their own game. We help you build emotional firewalls against social engineering attacks.”

Our Value Proposition

Table Top Exercises 

Collaborative Leadership Modules

Sample Scenarios

Latest Blogs

“Having worked for nearly two decades in the world’s largest crisis management organization in the area of cyber security, Nadja is an expert in designing disruptive Cyber Security Scenarios for our Tabletop Exercises”.

Who do we serve

Our Clients

A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)/ Chief Technology Officer (CTO) struggling to train their (remote) workforce in building cyber resilience & preparedness and reduce human vulnerabilities in social engineering attacks.

“We provide an innovative and creative way of team-building experience while learning how to build cyber hygiene as part of a new mindset”.

Our Testimonials

World Savings Banking Institute (WSBI) and Global Cyber Alliance joined forces and organized a series of webinars on “Cyber Transformation: From Strategy to Operations”. Thrive with EQ led the regional training webinars for our members in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central Europe. The CEO, Nadja El Fertasi, facilitated transformative, innovative and dynamic online training which focused on exercising collaboration during a simulated cyber crisis. Our members learned new ways of approaching stress management, problem-solving, decision making while navigating a disruptive cyber event. Nadja’s work ethic while looking for excellence, coupled with a good sense of humor, enabled us to approach our customer needs best, while working in flexible and convivial manner. I certainly recommend Thrive with EQ’s Table Top Exercises for any organization who is looking to exercise collaboration and be prepared against the inevitable cyber disruptions of the digital age


Laurie Dufays,
Head of Institutional Relations with Africa at WSBI-ESBG


Nadja’s grasp and explanation of EQ, along with explaining its application within the personal and work environments, is something I believe should be incorporated not only into every business but educational systems as well – the information received is that important. Being able to give a person a foundational understanding of where they fall in the range of 15 different areas – and how to balance over and under-compensating factors – truly is a gift of clarity. Nadja’s reporting also provides strategies for improving areas which is exciting as you have a starting point, an actionable game plan, and a truer knowledge of yourself. Speaking with Nadja was never a like a lecture that she needed to get through, it was always a meaningful conversation – she put me at ease, asked thought-provoking questions to get to the heart of a matter, and practiced active listening. If you want a better functioning team – in any capacity, but I know her focus is cybersecurity – do yourself a favor and get set up with Nadja. I cannot recommend her services enough!


Sue Lemm, PMP
Senior Consultant, United States


Nadja impeccably designed and facilitated a two-part online EQ training for a dozen emerging leaders from the Eastern Partnership countries. She was a real pleasure to work with and I greatly appreciated her creativity, good sense of humor, openness to dialogue and flexibility to build a training program for a diverse group of individuals. Through a mix of crisis simulations, role play, presentations on how emotions impact the ability to make decisions and one-on-one coaching, Nadja helped each of the members of the group become better decision-makers and increase their impact in their communities.
Nadja is a passionate coach and leader, and an inspiration to all those she helps grow. I strongly recommend her to any organization that works on leadership development.


Ana Aelenei
Head of Leadership and Democracy Initiatives at German Marshall Fund of the United States


I had the pleasure and privilege of co-chairing “Disruptive Dilemmas: Cyber Crisis Simulation Exercise”, the largest side event and the first-ever/inaugural cyber crisis simulation exercise at the 2019 GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum with Nadja. Nadja is a brilliant, passionate and visionary leader who is a true inspiration to those around her, myself included. Her tremendous work ethic, sense of humor, creativity and ability to connect with and establish rapport with others was invaluable. It is evident that she was a great asset to NATO as a senior executive at NCIA and I am confident that she will touch and positively influence many lives in her role as entrepreneur. I very enthusiastically provide Nadja with my highest recommendation.

Keerthika Melissa Subramanian
Securities Lawyer @Mintz; Lecturer at Yale Law School (Fall 2019); Global Thought Leader, Data Privacy and Cyber

I have known Nadja since October 2016 and she is one of the most passionate, creative, intelligent and ambitious individuals I have met. Her global vision and leadership in driving change is an inspiration for all who work with her. Through her excellent verbal and written communication skills, she has an innate ability to present complex strategic issues in an effective and concise manner. Nadja is an outstanding role model and a talented thought leader who continues to touch people’s lives. I highly recommend Nadja to any organization struggling with the challenges of workforce development. Nadja is a passionate and inspirational entrepreneur with a purpose, a vision and a mission to transform the workforce in the 21st Century.

Denis Mercier
Deputy General Manager FIVES Group, former Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation at NATO (2015 – 2018)

I had the great pleasure of participating in Nadja’s workshop and crisis simulation on emotional intelligence. She provided a fascinating presentation on how emotions impact your ability to make decisions, solve problems, handle stress, be flexible and agile in an age of disruption. She designed and facilitated a real-life cybersecurity scenario with five uniquely designed personality types across generations, cultures, backgrounds, and sectors. The role-play allowed us to step outside our own map of the world, develop more empathy for other team members, develop greater self-awareness and become more rational decision-makers and problem solvers. I highly recommend Nadja to any organization who is seeking innovative and uniquely designed workshops to face the challenges of workforce development in the 21st Century!

Muddassar Ahmed
Managing Partner at Unitas Communications, Founder & President of John Adams Society, Founder & Chair of Concordia Forum, a Fellow at the German Marshall fund and on Advisory Boards at the Faiths Forum for London, Atlantic Council (US), ENAM (Greece), IAYP (US), ISTAC (Malaysia) and IRM (Pakistan).

I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural cyber crisis simulation exercise at the GLOBSEC 2019 Bratislava Forum on 6 June 2019. Nadja designed two out of the four innovative, strategic and real-life cybersecurity scenarios. I participated in one of them and found the emotional intelligence aspects to be critical for decision-making and problem solving within diverse teams who perform under high pressure. I have known Nadja for several years now and she continues to impress me with her creativity and leadership. I highly recommend her to any organization seeking to build a thriving and successful workforce to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Benedetta Berti, PhD
Head, Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary General at NATO

Nadja has designed and facilitated two cyber crisis simulation exercises for our Inclusive Leadership Hub, the German Marshall Fund of the United States Office in Paris. The simulation exercise consisted of a presentation highlighting the foundations of emotional intelligence, personality type preferences, value-based beliefs, and unconscious bias. The presentation was followed by a cyber crisis simulation exercise based on role play. Nadja designed the personality types for a generationally diverse team across cultures, sectors, and backgrounds. What made the crisis simulation innovative and unique is the use of emotional intelligence curveballs so the participants could practice their human resilience. The creative and innovative workshops addressed some of the critical challenges of the workforce in an era of digital transformation and disruptive security challenges. Participants found the workshop a great success! I highly recommend Nadja to any organization who is looking for innovative, creative, and practical real-life crisis scenarios to transform the workforce and build human resilience for the 21st Century!

Kristel Ba
Programme Officer for Inclusive Leadership at the German Marshall Fund of the United States office for Paris

Nadja designed and facilitated a cyber crisis simulation exercise based on emotional intelligence for ‪the Young Professionals‬ in Foreign Policy in Brussels. She explained the impact of emotions on decision-making, problem solving, stress tolerance, interpersonal relations and self-confidence in a way all participants could relate. These soft-skills are critical for all generations, and in particular young professionals who are at the beginning of their careers. Building professional resilience and developing emotional intelligence was at the heart of our workshop, and should be high on the agenda for any organisation struggling with the challenges of building a workforce fit for the 21st Century. We highly recommend Nadja to any organisation working with young professionals for a journey of transformation and innovation in an age of disruption!

Georgiana Dragomir
Executive Director, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, Brussels

I recently participated in one of Nadja’s crisis simulation exercises based on emotional intelligence. In my role as a Policy and Advocacy officer, I have extensive experience in crisis management and stakeholder engagement. I regularly deal with stakeholders from various countries, cultures, backgrounds, and sectors. What was innovative about Nadja’s workshop is her ability to explain and convey complex strategic issues into practical and simple exercises. The highlight for me was the use of personality types. It has been also a great exercise to learn how to manage a certain issue from another personality perspective. As well as, I had a chance to gain more insights into adjusting my own personality to a different one with the aim of problem-solving, finding consensus and being impactful as a group.She designed them with such attention to detail and personality so that we could experience the crisis scenarios through the eyes of another person. As a result, we learned to become better at rational problem-solving and decision-making. I highly recommend Nadja to any organization who is looking for an innovative and creative workshop that addresses intergenerational workforce challenges.

Ronald Ferkovics
Policy and Advocacy Officer at Roma Education Fund Budapest

Clients & Partners we have worked with


Nadja has worked for nearly two decades at NATO, the world’s largest crisis management organization. Her last position was Senior Executive at the NATO Communications and Information Agency, responsible for strategic stakeholder engagement and communications for implementing NATO and Nation’s Digital Transformation programs.

Having worked closely with people from over 40 countries, she is uniquely skilled in fostering trust and understanding among diverse, global stakeholders in both the public and private sectors across various industries.


CEO/Founder Thrive with EQ

At Thrive with EQ, Nadja designs and facilitates cyber-crime simulations to help people build emotional firewalls against social engineering attacks. She addresses the human factor by exercising collaborative leadership skills during cyber crises. Nadja possesses the latest credentials in the field of emotional intelligence and trained with leading experts in the field.

Nadja’s character is what defines her passion and purpose in her work and the relationships with her clients. Her personality is fuelled through her character signature strengths, which include creativity, wisdom, humor, bravery, social intelligence, curiosity and kindness. She is fluent in Dutch, English, French and has a good understanding of Italian and German.


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