For the best part of two decades I worked as a Human Resources Executive with a variety of international Board and C-Suite leaders helping them develop their global teams and deliver strategic change and transformation through the power of people.
Today, I am a courageous and compassionate leader who loves empowering people to discover their own strengths and awaken their own inner leader in order to live, love and lead out loud.
But I wasn’t always this way, I’ve hit a few bumps in the road and learned a lot of hard lessons. I am also a recovering workaholic.
I was raised in the United States and lived many places. As many people do, I grew up with divorced parents who could only agree on one thing: the value of hard work. “Things are tough? Work harder, work smarter.”
This mindset helped me overcome challenges and achieve many things: It helped me start my first business at the age of 8 caring for neighborhood pets. It helped me go to school full time and maintain a strong GPA while at the same time becoming a horse jumping champion. It helped me go to university full time and work a full time job together with several part time jobs in order to save money and travel throughout Europe during summers and feed my wanderlust and hunger for adventure.
In the year 2000 the adventurer in me took me to the Netherlands to be with the man who would subsequently become my husband, and even later my ex-husband. I learned that living in a foreign country is both exciting and more work than you could ever imagine. Navigating a new culture and language, whilst building a career is a turbulent and trying road. I had not counted on my university degree in psychology not being recognized. I had to start at the bottom and re-invent myself.
Eventually I found my way and climbed the proverbial corporate ladder; made my way up to work with leaders of several multinational corporations. It was exhilarating and exciting to continuously push my limits and bring my “disruptive leadership” style to life and evoke organizational change. I loved being a challenging and innovative thought leader and being invited to present at conferences.
My passion for creativity, innovation and leadership together with my “work harder and smarter” mantra served me well.
Until it didn’t anymore. I found a limit. My personal and work life unraveled. I hit a burn out.
In my strive for excellence, my personal mission to become super woman and continuously perform and overachieve, I had missed a number of key things. The most important of which was the fact that not everything can be achieved by doing.
I stopped allowing myself to be a human being. I had become a “human doing”, always doing something, always busy with something. Feeling guilty and undeserving of moments of rest, me time, and us time with my husband. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, I said. I was entrenched in the hustle and drive to always do more. I had forgotten about the importance of connection: connection to others, and connection to myself. I forgot that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
In hindsight my burnout was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was tough and painful; certainly not a method of learning I would recommend to anyone. But, I am forever thankful for the lessons and discoveries it brought. It forced me to take a deep and meaningful look at my life - who I was and who I wanted to be. It awakened me to the fact that through the fallacy of the “work smarter” mindset I was surviving; not in the place where I could thrive in a meaningful way.
I turned to coaching and let go of the narrative of what I thought others believed of me, embraced my vulnerabilities, and chose to own my own story. I learned to accept the fact that we as human beings are emotional beings - no matter the circumstance. I unmasked the power of my vulnerabilities and the courage of sharing them. I discovered the truth of my own strengths; how to park my judgement (about myself and others); and the power of curiosity. I embraced the fundamental necessity of connection and belonging. Once I found inner calm, mindfulness, trust in my own body and intuition, amazing things opened up. I found true resiliency and the permission to rest, recover, and move forward in a meaningful way.
Today I am a leader who loves to bring the discoveries I’ve gathered on my own journey and empower people in their own journey from “survive” to “thrive”.
My passion is to amplify the strengths of others so they can consistently come from a place of greatness and live, love and lead out loud with purpose and courageous authenticity.