103: Cynthia Forstmann—How Can Archetypes Help You Achieve Your Goals?

Listen now as Cynthia Forstmann enlightens us about the fascinating role archetypes play in business!

Did you know that all people typically fall into one of twelve major archetypes? And that you might have a dominant archetype and a subdominant one and even a shadow archetype? Why does that matter? Listen to my interview with Cynthia Forstmann, co-founder and president of CultureTalk. What you will hear is a woman who has a passion for storytelling. She is also devoted to helping people understand their archetypes and what they mean for themselves, their relationships and their businesses. I was fascinated by what I learned—you will be too!

Cynthia Forstmann HeadshotWhat our archetypes reveal about us

As an archetypal explorer, Cynthia works with individuals to uncover and connect the hidden symbols, patterns and passions that give meaning to their lives and work. As a founding partner of CultureTalk, she helps organizations design cultures, brands and communications programs that are driven from a place of authenticity and deep awareness. 

A background in psychology led to Cynthia’s fascination with Carl Jung’s archetypes in organizational culture and brands. She studied with Jungian researcher Carol Pearson, Ph.D., then created the framework for CultureTalk’s archetypal tools, training and engagements. 

More about Cynthia

Cynthia facilitates strategic focus groups with executives, boards, marketing and HR directors, and other business leaders who share a stake in the culture and communications of any group. She has led award-winning re-branding projects and designed strategic communication and team-building programs to recruit, retain and engage top talent.

Cynthia played a key role in architecting the CultureTalk System, a collection of culture and personality assessments, workshops and engagements which offers a practical process for addressing complex business challenges and creating transformative change. Paired with 

CultureTalk logo

individual personality assessments, the system helps organizations recruit and develop leaders and strengthen team dynamics. She is also a co-founder of Allegory, a brand and communications firm that served as a proving ground for archetypes for over 20 years. 

Known for her warmth and humor, Cynthia speaks to diverse audiences about the future of work and the power of story in creating culture, inspiring purpose and enhancing fulfillment. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Villanova University, as well as a Masters in Positive Psychology and Certificate in Instructional Design from Marymount University.

In our podcast, Cynthia and I talk about the “why’s”: 

  • Why should people know about their archetype and how might it affect who they are and how they “see, feel and think” about the world in which they live?
  • Why businesses actually create their own, branded archetypes that influence everything they do—their brand stories, the way they operate, how they appeal to customers and employees?
  • Why, as anthropologists, do we find the world of archetypes so fascinating? They have become very important tools to help our clients better understand the companies they are building, particularly as the generations are changing, along with their archetypes.

Briefly, what is an archetype? 

In the early 1900s, Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology (and a one-time colleague of Sigmund Freud), developed a theory he called archetypes, which are highly-developed elements of the collective unconscious. Archetypes, or personality types, emerged as humans evolved, Jung theorized. The human mind, particularly the ancient, reptilian portion of the brain, has had innate characteristics “imprinted” upon it as it has developed over millions of years. Archetypes, according to Jung, are images and thoughts which have universal meanings across cultures which may show up in dreams, literature, art or religion. These deep-seated patterns are the gateways between the conscious and sub-conscious mind. 

How to discover your archetype!

Cynthia’s company, CultureTalk, has a methodology for you to assess your own archetypes and better understand who you are and how you relate to others. You can try the free quiz here. Are you a “Hero” or a “Magician?” Maybe you are a “Ruler” or an “Innocent?” Find out!

At SAMC, we have been using this archetype methodology with our clients, and they are fascinated by who they are and what they do.

Let us know what you find and how you might use your archetype(s) for your business, your relationships and even your family. Contact us, we’d love to talk archetypes with you.


To learn more about how the mind and storytelling influence business, check out:

Additional resources:

Download the 1-page synopsis of my book, “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights” here