Ellen van Beemen-Gerretsen
Chief HR Officer

The biggest changes I wanted to make in life are getting a better understanding of how to balance empathy versus achieving goals and an improved work-life balance.

I embarked on the nine months BeyondU leadership excellence program together with my Co-Chief Simone Kooij. As this program was exclusively for the two of us it is was going to be an intensive period where I wanted to become an inspiration for the next generation of partners at my company. The biggest changes I wanted to make in life are getting a better understanding of how to balance empathy versus achieving goals and an improved work-life balance. I am a very ambitious person and when needed I work around the clock, completely focused on the best possible results.

Participating in the leadership program together meant that we could encourage each other to experiment. We also gave each other space to practice. Connecting means working together, but certainly also experimenting and learning together. We practiced individually with new insights and feedback we have received. About once a week we discussed how our new behavior is perceived by our employees and our stakeholders.

Because the different themes and modules are part of a longer and larger journey, I was more or less permanently involved with who I am, what I stand for and what I want to convey. I do live much more in the present moment, with more awareness.

What I have become aware of is that I can relax at all. I now practice Nidra relaxation regularly and I spend more time in nature, without a phone. It activates the senses, which seems logical, but I do that more consciously now. The well-being sessions and E-health courses that were being offered have been a great support in calming both mind and body and to check-in with my heart, emotions and even my intuition (brain combining past experience and knowledge). As a result I started to breathe differently and it became clear to me that my breath is an instrument with which I can ‘manage’ my mental fitness and even my voice.

The tone of your voice has a huge influence on how you come across and I consciously started to use this to advise, convince, delegate. I loved that during the Values ​​and Beliefs module we had down to earth coaching, very pragmatic. That was after the morning session in nature. A nice combination of head & heart. This module has made me more aware of cultural differences and I pay more attention to the role of those who say less in a group. With the role-maturity-scales in mind, I started talking to people on my teams and it paid off. The Emotional Intelligence program in wild-nature was an encounter with myself. Here I became more aware that I am always ON versus the impact of time-off and the importance of your partner and your family and putting them in the spotlight.

I practiced future desired behavior as a role model for future leaders during the masterclass Behavior. From feedback to feedforward. My pitch was filmed and so I could see for myself how impressive that was. I used this new experience during a lunch presentation for our partners. It went great and it was very effortless! As a result, there was a lot of positive feedback from the (very critical) crowd. I got mails, whatsapp messages and personal compliments ‘Impressive’, ‘very good’, ‘a cry from the heart’.

Everything I have learned and practiced over the past nine months came together in that single moment. An effortless and authentic flow of connecting and engaging with our partners.

Ellen van Beemen – Gerretsen
Chief HR Officer