How do development processes work, and how can they 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 democracy promotion. 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 aspiring deep systemic change. I feel most alive in high stake, high leverage situations, when the air is thick with complexity, ambiguity and complexity. I like longer term trajectories that call on my versatility in service of ambitious outcomes.
I accompany complex organisational transitions, design and facilitate creative learning experiences around the world. 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 management and directors positions for Concern Worldwide. In 2009, I joined the Hivos knowledge programme in the Netherlands to set up research and development programmes in civic driven change, movement building and social innovation.
Since moving to Austria in 2014, I limit my support – a blend of consultancy, facilitation and mediation – to a select group of international NGOs, Think tanks and local initiatives working on topics such as democratic innovation, urban development and issues of social and environmental justice. I have also worked on a collaborative book project, a research documentary and various 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 am currently deepening my integral development skills in with Integral Coaching Canada, where I aspire to certify as an integral coach coming spring.
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.