How does development work, and how it be nurtured, in organizations, individuals, and societies? This question is a red thread running through my professional journey through the world of international development, social innovation and global justice. It´s a journey that has taken me across the world, from my native Rotterdam to Bangladesh, Southern Africa to Austria where I currently reside with my partner Barbara and our three little blond men.
I work as a companion to organizations and coalitions advancing social and environmental justice. I accompany organisational transitions and support leadership teams on their individual and collective development.
I feel most alive in high stake, high leverage contexts. I like longer term trajectories that call on my versatility in service of ambitious outcomes. Collaborators describe my style as gentle, yet discerning. I seek depth, but also make sure that stuff gets done. I create space for groups to explore their collective intelligence, but I don´t hesitate to step in, or turn up the heat when the process demands it.
After an initial stint in corporate management, I spent most of my career working with civic organizations in the field of international development. I started out as a VSO organization development advisor to local NGOs in India and Bangladesh, then moved to Mozambique to assume various senior management for Concern Worldwide. In 2009, I joined the Dutch Humanist development agency Hivos to set up knowledge programmes on civic driven change and the future of International NGOs. Subsequently, I worked with a small group of colleagues to design new strategies for Hivos in an increasingly volatile operating environment, marked by aid austerity, shrinking civic spaces, North-South power dynamics and a growing global need for game chancing social innovations.
Since moving to Austria in 2014, I limit my support – a blend of consultancy, facilitation, mediation and coaching – to a select group of international NGOs, Think tanks and local initiatives working on topics such as democratic innovation, urban development and social & environmental justice.
Where possible, I package my support in creative collaborative formats such as write prints, a participatory research documentary and social innovation labs in places ranging from Vienna to Dar es Salaam. In addition to my the growing circle of companions around my projects, I am also an associate with Spring Strategies and a faculty member of Ten Directions
I hold a masters degree in sociology and economics from the University of Rotterdam and various postgraduate certifications in change management and public policy from the university of Groningen, the Open University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) respectively.
Following a string of trainings on developmental leadership and facilitation (ao. with the Proteus Initiative) , I certified as an integral facilitator with Ten Directions in 2018. I qualified as a professional integral coach (professional. level) with Integral Coaching Canada in 2021 and practice to become an integral master coach by the end of the coming year.
I have published regularly about my work in books, journals and magazines. I have taught social innovation at the Donau University of Krems and been part of several research programmes including Transit, Urbact and the ISS Civic driven change programme, Cocoon.
I combine my international work with local engagement as a board member and initiator of several urban development initiatives in and around Graz.
My love for flyfishing, music and slow classic novels, offers sanity in a life full of travel, diversity and inspiring chaos of family life.