I’m an advocate for inclusion. As a trained and licensed coach I dedicate myself to creating experiential leadership insights. My believe is that we, human beings, are all capable of stepping into our leadership. Leadership comes in all forms and shapes and is unique to each individual. As a coach I bring out the leader within you.
My career brought me in a variety of leadership roles in SME’s and listed companies. I was active mainly in market research and brand consulting. Next to this I also co-founded 2 companies: a consultancy agency as well as an online brand activation company.
Throughout my career, I trained to be a consumer psychologist, deep diving in a myriad of cultures across our globe. This enabled clients to build meaningful connections between people and their brands (and products). During this period, talking to and connecting with the different communities I encountered, I came to realize that leadership is not something you need to study. Leadership is innate in all of us. All it takes is an open heart, the desire to take charge of your community and take the first step. And coaching is one way in.
Uncovering the Coach Within
In 2015, as a COO of a Home Care provider with 650 nurses, I wondered how to leverage our organisation. My focus being on improving both efficiency and profitability. At this time I came across the book “Reinventing Organisations” by Frederic Laloux. In the book he describes the case of “Buurtzorg” in the Netherlands, a similar organisation to mine. While tinkering with the organisation, I came to realize that my effectiveness dependent on my ability to coach.
Therefore I teamed with the highly recommended The Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Their Co-Active stance towards the world resonated strongly with me. This lead me not only to become a certified coach, but also a co-active leadership development advocate
Diversity & Inclusion Coaching
More than working directly on the topic of leadership, I work on the impact of leadership. What I noticed as a consumer psychologist is that thriving communities tend to be more open towards strangers without loosing their identity. Ever since, the topic of “diversity”, and especially “inclusion”, became part of the my work.
Additionally, my transgender essence (I am a transgender woman) allowed me to experience first hand the impact of venturing out of traditional frames. While my environment assured me they had “no issues with this”, I saw my support network fall apart. This made me curious about how it is that people mean what they say AND act in a different manner. To me, morphing from one gender into another, felt natural, logical and a small step. For my surroundings it seemed insurmountable. I wondered what was the underlying mental current. That unconscious bias we carry with us and seem to hold on to.
Throughout my journey I came to understand that much of both the support and resistance I have met, are systemic. These systems are in essence values-driven. They express themselves through affiliation with different groups (family, friendship circles, occupations…). The key to navigating change is in understanding one’s values.
Needless to say that much of my consulting and coaching work deals exactly with this topic of values, presence, purpose and projection. This goes for all engagements, whether coaching my transgender kinfolk, or supporting people stepping into leadership (or leaders stepping up their game)
Next to my activities as a designer of learning experiences for people dealing with life and leadership transitions, I am a Diversity Consultant with Actiris Inclusive.
Actiris is the a governmental organisation in charge of organizing and supporting the labor market in the Brussels Capital Region. The metropolitan area of Brussels. As the key player in the labor market we realized that it doesn’t really help to promote diversity from the Supply side when the Demand side isn’t ready to accept people from diverse backgrounds. Our unit works together with the companies in the Region to create, install and develop actionable systemic solutions to facilitate the inclusion of all people. Our core mission is to improve inclusion in companies by working on equity measures and “normalize” diversity.
What leader would I be if I were not to live up to my own values? I was born intersex: physically not really one, nor the other. All along my late childhood and early puberty I roamed hospitals wards from operation table to operation table. Later in life – a few years ago – I came to understand that this horrific experience made me part of a larger community of children being submitted to “normalization” practices. Just because our physicians judged us to be faulty.
When discovering that these type of practices are still part of every day reality for a great many children, I created an advocacy group in my region called Intersekse Vlaanderen. Today we are challenging the practices of our lead physicians, working with government and parliament to create and adopt legislation, and so on.
Coach & Other Credentials
I hold a Msc. in Commercial Sciences with majors in Finance and Marketing and a MBA from SDA Bocconi. Also, I am a certified and accredited life & leadership coach (CPCC (CTI), ACC (ICF), Leadership Graduate (CTI)). Furthermore, I am certified to work with DISC (Platinum Rule) and Barrett’s Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT Practitioner for Barrett’s Value Center).