Mariella was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, finished her schooling in the UK but returned to South Africa to complete a B. Com (Economics) degree at the University of Natal in 1980. Having always been interested in Psychology, she completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Coaching at the South African College of Applied Psychology and worked with managers and team leaders in the NGO sector in Cape Town. In 2012, her husband’s career required a move to the Netherlands, where she was appointed an International Trustee for Breadline Africa, Nederland. Mariella and her husband currently reside in Cape Town.