What path has your career taken?
When I think of my career, what comes to mind is an image of Icarus flying too close to the sun…
While still at university I became a serial entrepreneur, having started and sold 3 companies. This entrepreneurial spirit was exactly what Bain was looking for when they hired me in 2008. My strategy consultant work brought me to ING where I prepared the company for the split between bank and insurance – the biggest carve-out in Dutch history. This resulted in becoming a partner at a boutique consulting firm specializing in financial services. I was then asked by a private equity firm to become interim CEO for one of their portfolio companies - a medical game start-up. In my final job - Program Director of Strategy at the Dutch Flower Auction – I was responsible for overhauling the tariff system of this EUR 4.6B turnover company.
All these years I was working 80+ hours a week, resulting in my body protesting. I did not listen, so it did the only thing it could do; it went on strike. My first burn-out was a fact. It took me almost a year to recover. Yet I did not learn my lessons and before too long I was back in my old habits. In 2017, after a particularly trying time at work and at home, my body refused any further service and followed was a second burn out. Now I was listening… These last years were cathartic, to say the least. I realized and accepted that I could not do what I did anymore. I also realized family is so much more important than work. Recently I’ve been lucky enough to start a new project with my son.
What's your current/newly discovered go-to product, service or app you would recommend to others and why?
Earlier this year our 9-year old autistic son Quinten came home from school, where he had made the most amazing drawing. From then on, he kept making one drawing after the next. Many people asked if they could buy his drawings, but Quinten couldn’t part with his originals. So we teamed up the Dutch Association for Autism and had his artwork printed on Special Edition porcelain Tea Travel Mugs and set up a Kickstarter campaign
where you can pre-order these gorgeous travel mugs. The goal of this project is to show that children with autism also have beautiful talents. With the money raised a platform will be created where children with autism can showcase their art.
What is your relationship with Zoku Amsterdam and what are your thoughts?
Earlier this year, when I came to Zoku Amsterdam for the first time, it took me about 5 minutes to decide I wanted to become a WorkZoku member there. Its inspiring and light surroundings and even more inspiring Community members made me feel embedded and at home.