Now – Confidence and Leadership Coach
I signed up for the Co-Active® coaching training by coincidence. What a discovery! Pure inspiration and a myriad of possibilities opened up. I reconnected with a dream of mine that I held for a long time: world peace. The resolution of conflict within, with the outer world, and in world became a tangible possibility. In my business I started pursuing this goal through:
- Business Coaching
- Career Coaching
- Life Coaching
- Coaching for Peace
- Trauma relief and self care training
- Start-up of iThrive
- Educator and young academic coaching programs
- Empowering women
- And many more projects.
Past – engineer, scientist, program & project manager
When I left the corporate world, it was an enormous step change to go and build-up my own business for real. As many others, I have been playing with the idea of starting up my own business for a long time. The leap from a “good” corporate employee to an entrepreneur is liberating and at the same time terrifying. It requires a completely different mind set that no school prepares you for.
Professional beginnings: field engineer in oil and gas
I started my career in the oil and gas industry as field engineer, working on and offshore in West Africa. I had proudly graduated from a male dominated university and education with 10 – 15% women tops sitting in the classroom. So I thought I knew what it meant to work in a male world.
What I remember most from these first few years as field engineer is the constant struggle to be taken seriously and being respected without becoming bitter. In the picture next to the text you see the typical crew of men that I worked with and had to lead. Whenever I see this picture and my body language, I remember how deeply insecure I felt back then with the nagging feeling of being an imposter and not belonging there.
After my years in the field I managed to land a position as a well log-analyst. From a tin-box offshore in West-Africa to a nice air-conditioned office in the Netherlands. This was an (unexpected) stepping stone into a direction that I truly wanted: climate change mitigation in the corporate world.
Change to climate change mitigation
I started working in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) research back in 2003, which was marked by early demonstration and pilot projects in the US. It was the beginning of a new era and many people working in this field had high hopes for this technology.
The research and science period lasted for 8 years, resulting in several publications in scientific peer-reviewed journals. Within this period the work lead me from the US to the Netherlands and to Australia. I went from a research engineer to scientist to project manager to become program manager for CCS operations and research.
It was a mixed period. There were successes at work, but my private world started crumbling. My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and at the same time my marriage was falling into pieces. When the disease finally claimed my papa, the divorce papers were signed.
It was an opportunity for new beginnings. I focused on the challenges at work and I met my wonderful husband Marcel den Blijker, who ventured with me to Australia. With research and operations program management I reached executive level and was reporting to the CEO directly. This was the epitome of a corporate career climb.
And then my daughter was born. What a different world! From leadership and scientific and operational achievements to a snuggly cozy but equally demanding world of a newborn. I took a year off (unpaid) and immersed myself in the microcosm of nappies, smiling baby faces, sleepless nights and “firsts” (first smiles, first turn, first tooth, first step, etc.).
Transition to coaching and people focus
Over the years of program and project management the coaching, leadership and conflict resolution component grew larger in my work. Informally I coached peers, employees and interns.
My last job in the corporate world was large scale climate change mitigation project management before hitching the fulfilling ride of Co-Active Coaching and peace making.