sustainable organisation development

Emmanuelle Verhagen

My career took me into various leadership roles in SMEs and listed companies as a market researcher and brand strategist.

Later, I injected my experience into two companies: a consulting firm and an online brand activation company.

In 2015, I held the role of COO in a home care company supporting 650 nurses.

In search of a more people-oriented way of working, I came across Frederic Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organisations”. While reading, I realised it was time to sharpen my coaching skills.

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Therefore, I partnered with the highly recommended The Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Their Co-Active approach resonated strongly with me. And still does.

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Leadership, of course, does not take place in a vacuum. Leaders shape their world and connect with themselves and others. To grow leadership and shape the people centricity of groups and organisations, we rely on values. Values are the language that allow us to understand the emotions of others and work towards a solution together. The simplest and most powerful model I have encountered to work around this is the Barrett Values Model. The model is based on the seminal work of Richard Barrett. Grafted onto his global values study within the United Nations and inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Togetherness creates stories. Leadership is therefore inextricably linked to storytelling. Storytelling allows us to convey complex things in an adapted and accessible way. My quest to understand and deepen leadership took me to theatre. Each person has their own language to tell their story. Some write books, others dance, still others put on a bar. The language that suits me best is that of theatre. In theatre, I can give shape to the stories that ask to be told.

Logo intersekse vlaanderen

When I discovered a few years ago that I was born with an intersex body and that the three operations I was “allowed” to undergo (trauma included) were part of a bigger story, I did not hesitate for a moment. Because there was no active organisation in Flanders representing the interests of intersex people, I started looking for people with similar experiences to unite us in a space of our own. In 2018, Intersekse Vlaanderen saw the light of day.

In the meantime, we have helped put the intersex topic on the map in Flanders, ensured that the gender law was adapted (gender characteristics are now a protected criterion) and are working to remove gender characteristics from public spaces.


Over the course of the years, I obtained a Masters in Commercial Science with majors in both Finance and Marketing. Also, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from SDA Bocconi. I am also certified and accredited as a leadership coach (CPCC), certified in culture change (CTC) at Barrett’s Value Center and graduated as theatre actor & director in 2022.