1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a meaningful Marketing & Business Coach and the founder of Secret SisinBiz Society. I love helping Fempreneurs-on-a-Mission turn more potential clients into paying customers with our proven 9-step Meaningful Marketing Method. Our Membership models in SisinBiz help Sisters-in-Business grow personally and professionally. I am so passionate about this because I am on a MISSION to close the gap between income and influence between men and women. What led me down that path is that I kickstarted my career at BMW Group in the Netherlands, where I was born over a decade ago. I loved representing cool brands like BMW, BMW Motorrad and MINI – I set up all the Social Media channels back in 2009. I was promoted twice in 1.5yrs and went from intern to the first social media manager worldwide before I turned 25. I got a bit addicted to the office and became a workaholic, often the first in the office and the last to leave. After 2.5yrs I discovered a gender-wage gap that seemed unfair to me, and I decided to take action. I gathered all my courage, and with shaking hands, I handed in my resignation to quit my promising career. That day I made a promise that I would dedicate myself to making things fairer for women. I launched several businesses to empower women in business to find their VOICE, make a STAND, rise up to their POTENTIAL, and learn how to RECEIVE (instead of getting more and more depleted by only giving, as we seem to be much more comfortable at that). As founding Vice-President of our Gold Coast Rotary Passport Club, I am big on giving back as well. I truly believe that TOGETHER, we can make a difference.
2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?
All the women who dare to SPEAK UP when they feel something is unfair. It takes massive courage to do so, especially when no one has done so before. If no one speaks up, it is perceived as ‘normal, and nothing will ever change! My mum taught me how to find my voice but also count my blessings. The wisdom she passed down from my grandmother. We are the (great-grand)daughters of generations of women who have been silenced. Ever heard of ‘The Witch Wound’? (Google: Healing the witch wound), an intergenerational and valid fear of our very existence. Most of our anxiety comes from the fear of potential harm, which was very likely to happen when you spoke up back in the day. We are slowly finding our voice and the courage to speak up when something is not fair. It is revolutionary, and I am so proud of everyone contributing to making things more equal, both men and women. The women I find super inspirational are Oprah, Brene Brown and Gabrielle Bernstein. They lead by example and permit us to believe that we can also make a difference.
3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?
Research has proven that an equal balance in men/women in the workspace allows us to thrive and tap into our full potential much more. We need each other to create a powerful balance between masculine and feminine, contributing to better outcomes, personally, professionally and financially. There is a reason we named the key thing that keeps all of us alive and breathing ‘Mother Earth’. Yes, we sometimes need focus, persistence, decision-making and strategy (masculine traits), yet, equally important are nurture, caring, support and cooperation (feminine traits). The effects of an equal dynamic also positively impact relationships in the office and at home. Domestic Violence is one of the main problems in the world, especially in Australia. With men and women being equal in income and influence, women are more empowered to leave any disrespectful relationship. The more women dare to speak and stand up, set clearer boundaries and teach men about respect – the less it will be perceived as ‘normal’ to treat women as less or weaker. An amazing Relationship Therapist once told me: “You need to teach people how to treat you”. By encouraging more women to start their businesses and take up leadership roles, we will create a more balanced (also in power and finances), compassionate and kind world. This will positively impact people, animals and the planet.
4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?
As I was born and raised in a free-thinking country like the Netherlands, I was not aware of the severe inequality around the world for women and minorities until I started travelling. I definitely grew up with white privilege. I was lucky to be raised by loving parents who opened our home to everyone, no matter what age, colour or sexual preference; this taught me to see everyone as equal. Let’s look at X-ray photos; don’t we all look the same? So treating someone differently for being a woman or being of different skin colour makes no sense. I grew up with liberty and in a safe environment; nonetheless, I also experienced #metoo. It did allow me to stand up and speak up from a young age. For myself, but I also fiercely defend anyone who may not have such a strong voice themselves. The more we do so together, the more we re-educate people about respectful relationships. “You can’t blame people for what they don’t know”. I am consciously trying to see the world through the lens of LOVE (not FEAR, although the brain prefers to protect you that way” “Better safe than sorry” – right?) I don’t believe people wake up thinking “, let me ruin the day today!”, nor do I feel people are born as racists or disrespectful humans. The key is in education around equality and how we will ALL benefit from this // #winwinwin
5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?
Although my parents and big brother provided me with everything they could to keep me safe, unfortunately, I also had a few challenges with #metoo. Through our Rotary connections, I recently joined The Love Bites Facilitators, going into high schools to educate 15-17yr old teenagers about respectful relationships through play, art & dance. The reason I put my hand up to become a Love Bites Facilitator is not because I have so much ‘spare time’ (anyone else who seems to have more tasks than hours?) I feel we can attack the problem of Domestic Violence (or disrespect against women in general) from two angles: 1) Teaching girls about setting stricter BOUNDARIES and speaking up when something is NOT O.K. 2) Teaching boys what is and is not O.K. around (sexual) consent and being respectful towards self and others. I believe we can heal and prevent much trauma, and these kids are our future generation. I think there is hope, and every one of us can start making a difference today!