Chief HR Officer
I feel really passionate about what I do professionally and I am ambitious to continue to work at this C-level. However I would love to know what it takes to make it sustainable in the long run. One of the biggest changes I wanted to make with this journey is to live my life a little less centred around work and have more quality time and energy to spend with my loved ones. On a professional level I aimed to become more visible, a thought leader for my team, the board and other stakeholders.
Together with my Co-Chief Ellen van Beemen-Gerretsen, we travelled through our inner-worlds for nine months, focusing on various themes and topics along the way in the BeyondU leadership excellence journey. This was a road less travelled with online, live and off-grid in nature experiences. I learned much about understanding myself, taking care of myself and about leading others with impact. I take wise lessons with me and as in every development process you come across ‘things’ that hinder yourself in being who you want to be. So I did also let go a number of patterns and habits.
I am an enthusiastic person with a high likeability factor but nowadays I use the power of that other side of me in my conversations and presentations too. I have stopped smiling when I discuss a serious topic. I’ve thrown some of my embarrassment overboard. I take more breaks and silence and I claim more space to share my vision. I became more aware of my own defence mechanisms. I learned to ‘play’ more in work (and life) so I can grow as a person and serve the organization even better. The educational experiences and the coaching in the Identity module have motivated me to step out of the box and leave a lasting impression.
With the module Purpose-in-life I found the reason why l feel ‘at home’ at my company for so many years already. The purpose of my company and my own NorthStar, which is determined by my Christian faith, happen to be more aligned than I initially thought. I discovered your purpose is found with your heart and not with your head. I often question myself nowadays whether my daily activities contribute to my purpose, and if not whether I can delegate tasks. Already after this first module I became more aware of how I feel deep within versus what my rational mind tells me. It is a practical module in which you look for your NorthStar and learn to lead not only with your head but from your heart. I have underestimated the power of the heart and intuition and especially to involve them in a professional setting. I have started to catch up and at the risk of sounding corny: it feels awesome, I feel complete now and have much more fun.
It took quite some sessions to embrace the idea of planning time-off for my own well-being. It helped a lot that we were being offered well-being practices that included yoga, meditation, nature connection and nutrition on a regular basis. I live more in the moment, consciously put my phone away and make more conscious choices in terms of time use. I also experience less guilt. I’ve decided I don’t want to rush anymore. Instead of meditation, I try to take some time each day to read the Bible and pray. It still doesn’t always work, but it has improved a lot. Because I am much more aware of my feelings and physical well-being, I not only have more highs, but also more lows. It feels less flat and that’s great.
It is the blend of experiences and lessons learned that empowers me to thrive and live and lead with head and heart!
Chief HR Officer