Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as a ‘daughter of a preacher woman’, compassion and fairness were core values in my childhood. My father’s international background, his competitiveness in sports and family focus shaped my identity as much as the caring and intellectual approach of my mom. Aged eleven, always curious and eager to travel abroad, I went to CISV, an international camp. Here I met like-minded boys and girls from all over the world and learned about the change you can make. It started my fascination for international relations and at the same time inspired me to stop eating meat. After a gap year experimenting the Latin way of life in Mexico and Chile, I studied international relations and law at the University of Amsterdam where I was intrigued by environmental and social standards in international business. To pursue my dream of working for an international organisation, I moved to Brussels learning about political dynamics and decision-making at the EU institutions. To be closer to my soon to be husband, I returned to Amsterdam and decided not to pursue a career as a diplomat.
Being a change leader at an international company and making positive impact through business turned out to be a great alternative. Defining the corporate citizenship and sustainability strategy, meeting many inspiring people in and outside the company and getting opportunities to start social initiatives, have enriched me. My job coincides perfectly with what I value most. I am passionate about uniting strengths, in life and in business, and motivated by constantly asking my self and my colleagues 'are we doing enough?’ to make a positive change. What fascinates me is the potential of social innovation and I am a strong supporter of women empowerment. My family life (three daughters aged 17, 12 and 8), job and social life are very dynamic, exciting and demanding. The inspiration, experiences, and constant change make me tick. Finding the right balance can be challenging. Family holidays, city trips with my friends, reading books and newspapers give me moments to relax mentally. Running, 20 minute fitness (does it really work?) and yoga give me the necessary physical release. The Creative Leadership Program will give me a chance to stand still, to reflect on where I am and redefine or reconfirm where I want to be. With 20 years of experience in CSR, I am eager to share my insights and experiences and to learn from and connect with others who are on the same journey. People with different approaches, mind sets and background have always been the once to provoke and trigger me and I cannot wait to meet my THNK class and participate in peer learning. When I'm not working, I like to be with family and friends, travel, run, yoga, surf and read (from the latest novels to work-related management and sustainable lifestyle magazines).