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Young Experts

Our coaches

All Young Experts are linked to a coach which will be appointed by the YEP Programme bureau. They will meet their coach during the training weeks in the Netherlands, and during their time abroad they stay in contact with them via e-mail and Skype, usually once every month. The coaches support the Young Experts with the drafting of their personal development plan (PDP), and play a key role in the personal development of the Young Experts. The coaches are able to provide support with any issues that they might encounter with regard to living and working in an international environment. The Young Experts are encouraged to keep their coaches informed about their progress and development, as the coaches can provide unbiased support.

YEP currently works with the following coaches:

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Anne de Groot

Anne (1953) has around 20 years of experience in dealing with change in the energy and water sectors. He has served both in the Netherlands, as a hands-on director of Dutch companies, as well as abroad, as a managing director of an internationally operating water company. He thereby strongly focuses on exploring how the talents and personal motivations of people can be tailored to the needs of the organisation in times of change. He has a keen interest in personal motivation and development.

In addition to his initial training in civil engineering at TU Delft, and later to industrial engineer at the Technical University of Twente, Anne completed a study psycho-synthesis in 2004 which includes (among other things) models for individual coaching. Anne has worked for about 4 years as a business developer in the environmental market and approximately 10 years in the international research and implementation of projects for a big Dutch contractor for dredging and excavation.

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Linda Reijerkerk

Linda (1960) obtained her Master’s degree in Dispute Resolution (UVA) and has been an NMI Mediator since 1997. She is the director of the Center for Conflict, where she also works as a trainer. Here she has developed numerous training and educational programmes for professional mediators in the Netherlands and abroad. Besides her work for the Center of Conflict she also serves as a professional coach. She has conducted hundreds of mediations and has extensive experience in the field of complex mediation cases (especially in the field of business mediation), labour relations and cooperation issues. She is a specialist in complex (multiparty) conflicts such as team conflicts. She is also available for mediation courses in English, French, German and Spanish.

Linda performs various administrative tasks, including roles as the president of the European Mediation Network (EMNI), and as chairman of the Foundation for Mediation in Spatial Planning and the Environment. In addition she is secretary of the Foundation for Aviation Mediation. In a somewhat more distant past, she worked as an international consultant in the field of water and sanitation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She speaks six languages. "Bringing movement is one of the essences of the mediation profession. I think it's important to believe in the power of people to solve their own conflicts. As a mediator, I can fulfil a valuable role by helping the mediation participants with sharing information and to help them gain insight into the choices they have."

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Lissy van Noort

Lissy (1988) is a social pedagogue with 8 years’ experience in the international development sector as a trainer and project manager. She joined the YEP Programme in 2016 as a project manager for Akvo Foundation. During her YEP time, she lived in Vietnam and Indonesia and worked in many countries in South East Asia and the Pacific. Lissy moved back to the Netherlands in 2018 and works as a Talent & HR coordinator at Akvo Foundation in Amsterdam.

She is currently obtaining a second Master degree in coaching and guiding change; at individual-, team- and organisational level. In her coaching practice, she is guiding students and young professionals to reflect on what is meaningful for them and how they can make use of their own strengths and talents to do meaningful work. She focuses on experiential learning, where a coachee learns from her/his own working experiences by reflecting on what happened and what this means for the coachee. She guides coachees in creating space for change –on a personal, team- or organisational level. 

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Maaike Jongepier

Maaike (1965) is a cultural anthropologist and has more than 25 years of experience as a management consultant, coach and trainer. She has worked for the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan. Additionally, she worked for different organisations in the profit and non-profit sector in: Uganda, England, India, Australia and Spain. Her expertise areas are: leadership development, team development, facilitating change, strengthening organisations, as well as intercultural communication and cooperation. She coaches executives as well as teams in order to become more effective within their working environments.

Maaike makes use of the principles of Co-Active coaching, focussing both on action as well as learning. In the coaching process the coachees become more aware of their own strengths, but also of possible mindsets that hamper them. Since 4 years Maaike has her own consultancy firm: MPoweringpotential. Empowering potential through coaching is in a nutshell her core business.

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Natascha Soons

Natascha (1970) studied political science and has been working as a coach since 2012. Natascha started off her career by working abroad for nine years at Dutch embassies across the world, such as the embassy in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). After this, she worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, where she held various positions in the consular and policy grounds. Recently she worked as a selector and consultant for the Human Resources department of the Ministry. Currently she is a member of the project team Modernization Diplomacy, which contributes to the change process that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started in 2013.

Starting in 2012, Natascha has been teaching individual coaching courses and workshops that are related to self-discovery, self-development and self-management, besides her work for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is a certified no-nonsense, focused and committed coach. Her focus lies mainly in the field of personal awareness, which focuses on the strength of the person being coached. Within YEP her aim is to encourage young professionals to find the right balance between working and living abroad.

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Paul van Koppen

Paul (1959) is an experienced manager, consultant, coach and facilitator with international experience in management, policy and strategy, organisational development and personal development. His fields of work are water supply, sanitation and environment. Paul has worked for more than 25 years in various roles (executive, advisory, knowledge transfer, officer, director) in the broad field of (international) water and environment, both in profit and non-profit organisations, such as TU Delft, IWACO, Royal Haskoning and IRC. He has been working as an independent consultant since 2007.

Since 2010 Paul is also a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) coach, with a focus on career development and personal effectiveness of young professionals in the water sector. Additionally he is the co-initiator of water master classes for young professionals and workshops on cooperation in teams. Paul is also a regular chair and facilitator for strategic workshops and meetings. Last but not least, Paul is also socially engaged and holds many unpaid positions in advisory boards of various foundations (including WASTE and the RAIN Foundation).

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Sara Groenendijk

Sara (1982) has a background is in the fields of international development and environmental conservation. She worked for over 8 years in the interface of these fields - first as an expert and later as a senior manager - for a number of consultancy companies and large NGOs. In 2014, she joined the YEP Programme (Batch 1) and worked for MetaMeta at the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center.

As a result of an extensive soul-searching process, she changed careers and graduated from MMS's Coach Training in early 2016 at PCC (Professional Certified Coach) level. She has been working as a coach ever since, and is now certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). Sara focuses on cross-cultural interpersonal coaching, supporting individuals and teams to capitalise on their personal and professional potential. She has over 350 hours of coaching practice, many of which are with young professionals. 

In addition, Sara is active in the EthicalCoach project initiated by WBECS. She worked closely together with Prof. David Clutterbuck – a thought leader and international pioneer of coaching and mentoring – in providing coach training and preparing a new generation of Ethiopian managers and coaches to bring about positive change to their teams and the country as a whole.

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Jelmer van der Weide

Jelmer (1988) has a demonstrated history of working in the project management domain of water, energy and mobility. After his study (MSc civil engineering at TU Delft) he has served for 6 years both in the Netherlands, as public servant and consultant, as well as abroad, as Young Expert for a water operating company. His wonderment, open questions and genuine interest in people helps him to listen, facilitate and jointly discover interesting worlds. 

Jelmer sees a myriad of qualities in people, dares to guide them creatively, and loves to activate their potential. Even though he has been active in coaching as early as 2011, he has been a certified coach in interpersonal and intrapersonal coaching since 2019. Psychology, chess and creativity excites him and therefore he tries to intertwine it in his working consulting life and private home life. 

You can always wake him up for a good slice of bread and peanut butter.

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Young Experts