- Former Chemist & Patent Attorney
- Start-up and Big Corporate experience
- Coaching senior exec and government officials
- Organizational Development and Change expert
- Mother of three
- Colour obsessed
Once upon a time….
… I was a chemist. And then a patent attorney
I loved innovation and understanding how things ‘work’. I did not love the hours I was stuck at a library desk, browsing through the footer on page 4035 of a technical encyclopedia to find an argument for technical court. After 3 years I decided I needed a context change.
… So i joined a bio-tech start up and guess what
We were on a roll, about to raise millions of dollars. I was boarding at gate D34, ready to present to investors in London, when the call came in. “You can turn around, we have been sold behind our backs”. ‘Why?’ was the only comprehensible word that came out of my mouth. The answer: A big personality conflict between two CFO’s. What??!! Massive value destruction. Jobs at stake. Morale crushed. D34 is where I decided: I want to do work so I can prevent these type of escalations.
… I took a break then joined Big Corporate
I cooled down by working 6 months in a high end fashion boutique in London. Then I joined a big corporate, went to Oxford and became an expert in organizational development and change. My first assignment was in a refinery with 1.500 men, where I learned that besides beautiful theory, change requires guts, clear boundaries, true connection and lots and lots of awful machine coffee.
… Be careful what you wish for
I moved on to work with senior executives around the world. I facilitated women mentoring circles, coached senior conflict teams and ended up working with Shell’s CFO. I found myself in many high stakes situations – as I had intended. It was demanding work, I needed to be super-available. Conflict was often projected on me. With two young kids at home I tried to fit in as best as I could. I was so committed it wore me out. So something had to give.
… Working On My Terms
In all this work I discovered one recurring theme: the source of your work is you. So personal power is business power. That changed the game for me. I started to use strategies and tools that allowed me to drive my context. I learned powerful lessons about presence and influence. I discovered: when you decide that you will do things your way, people may moan at first, complain, confront. But most of them will happily accept it, heck, even be inspired by it! When I decided to step down from a senior leadership role, I was amazed by the amount of reflective messages I got from people I considered ’tough’. After 20 years in corporates I left. I joined Kessels &Smit and now work with people to find their sweet spot: top government officials, Industry executives and many, many incredible women.