Stronger than me

When this song came out, I wanted to know who that woman was. People in the industry said she was different, she was only 20, they said she was a true musician. This was all before the drugs and booze ruined and then took her life.

Amy Winehouse.

If you have 5 minutes today, please look at this video of her performing this song on Jools Holland. She plays the guitar and is much different than how you probably remember her. But this was the Amy I loved.

What lessons can we learn from Amy Winehouse when it comes to personal branding?

Follow your passion and know what you want to do.
She grew up listening to Jazz and developed a passion for sixties music. She started playing guitar at the age of 14 and was still a teenager when she was signed to a record label. By the time she was 24 she had already won 4 Grammy awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single “Rehab” and Best Pop Vocal Album. Impressive, right?

Dare to be noticed.
Remember her big beehive hairdo? It was her tribute to the famous girl groups from the sixties like the Ronettes. Amy loved that look and it also made her authentic because her voice and the look just made you look and listen to her. There was no way back once you heard or saw her, she made an impact.

Authenticity is not a dirty word.
She wrote exactly the way she felt, her vulnerability, honesty (“They try to make me go to rehab but I said no no”) and openness is why she sold so many records and why she was a huge star. We love it when people are real. It makes us feel connected to them. She was as real as they can get, artist wise.

If only she took better care of herself and not let her candle burn out so quickly…..

Talk about candles burning out, if you are in need of me-time, today is your last chance to join our Renew Yourself Week free masterclass this Sunday with Daphne Feller, Raquel van Oijen, Cammy May Lombardi and myself. Register here before noon tomorrow!

And if you are in need for some inspiration and want to meet new people come to our International Women’s Day Summit on the 6th of March in Amsterdam. To celebrate and empower women. For only today we have a special 24 hour price where you pay 199 euros instead of 249 euros. So don’t delay, get your tickets now. See the program below!

13.30 – 14.15 Registration

Part 1
14.15 Introduction, Cécile Narinx (Harper’s Bazaar) & Nancy Poleon (BrandedU)
14.20 Training your brain, Margriet Sitskoorn
15.05 Perception is reality, Corinne Vigreux (TomTom)
15.10 Influencing perception of yourself, Panel discussion speakers with Tiina Salzberg (Executive Strategy Director and Head of Planning 180 Kingsday), Lot Keijzer (IBM iX Growth leader Europe & Benelux lead), Marion van Happen (Algemeen Directeur Unique Nederland) and Dr. Cara Antoine (Chief Marketing & Operations Officer at Microsoft Netherlands).
15.30 Managing a public image, Sylvana Simons
15.45 Music performance by Anneke van Giersbergen

Break 15.50-16.20

Part 2
16.20 Surprise guest to be announced
16.30 Fearless ambition, Cassandra Stavrou (PROPERCORN)
16.45 Role models in TECH, Janneke Niessen (Inspiringfifty)
16.55 Telling your story matters, Christina Moreno (
17.00 Sisterhood in business in Amsterdam, Panel discussion with Margreet Wieringa (directeur DeLaMar), Els van der Plas (general director National Opera and Ballet), Cathelijne Broers (director Hermitage) and Marloes Krijnen (directeur Foam).
17.28 Music performance by Sabrina Starke

17.35-18.30 Networking drinks




We Are Family

“We are family
I got all my sisters with me”

Remember Sister Sledge?! Today it’s all about our International Women’s Day Summit! I want us to come together on the 6th of March like sisters! And guess what? We are holding this event in English, so everyone can join us!


Women in business face the same challenges and opportunities as men, but they don’t have the networks, the role models and mindset. This is why our Network Academy exists. I personally want to encourage more women to think of themselves as leaders and I believe the best way to do this is by showcasing role models. Because if you can see it, you can be it!

Why do we need to come together like sisters?

The number one reason is that Women-Only-Networks work really well for career women, because:
• We focus on getting more women to meet each other because in today’s market, networking is essential to a fruitful professional life.
• Inspiration is where we start, we share stories by role models that inspire women. What can we learn from them?
• It is a way to build lasting relationships with other ambitious professional women in a way that feels comfortable and an environment that empowers.
• Women’s networks play a vital role in empowering women to work together and break through the glass ceiling. Because they are less about selling and more about sharing.

So you need to work less and network more!

Let me tell you more about the 6th of March. We start at 13.30 and go on until 18.30 with networking drinks. Speakers announced so far are:
• Cara Antoine – ‎Chief Marketing & Operations Officer – ‎Microsoft Netherlands
• Margriet Sitskoorn – Neuropsychologist en professor at Tilburg University
• Margreet Wieringa – MD at DeLaMar Theater
• Sabrina Starke – Singer

Cecile Narinx – Editor in Chief Harper’s Bazaar and myself will be the moderators.
We will be announcing new speakers on a weekly base. 

Costs and location?
You can buy a ticket here for €249,-. And if you want to join our Network Academy you pay an extra €50,- (instead of €119,79) here!
The event will take place at DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam.

About the Network Academy
The Harper’s Bazaar Network Academy, in collaboration with BrandedU, was designed for
working, ambitious women who want to learn and want to network outside their own sector or
company. This networking takes place in a sophisticated and beautiful setting where inspiring women share their personal experiences of becoming a role model. The Network
Academy aims to inspire, connect, motivate and help women to achieve their dreams and reach
the top of their field.
Get more info here about the Network Academy!

Will I see you the 6th of March?

“We are family
Get up everybody and sing”



Pretty Hurts

They say it’s all about perception and that first impressions matter. Now, I am not denying that these things aren’t true, but it’s like Beyoncé sang:

“Pretty hurts
Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Perfection is the disease of a nation
Pretty hurts
Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Trying to fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery”

You gotta look what’s inside. What feels good to you! You can change people’s perception of you but does it make you happy? Or are you just wearing a mask?

“Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says bigger is better
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says
Thinner is better”

I am not knocking all of these things, especially not if they make you happy. But the last few months I have been doing some soul searching. That started with asking myself the WHY questions.

  • Why do I want certain things?
  • Why do I want certain people to like me?
  • Why do I think that changing that about myself will make me happy?

Simon Sinek once said: ‘Start with the WHY’. What will motivate you? In personal branding to me that is the real question you need to ask yourself before you start building your personal brand: Why do I want to be seen this way? Is it really what I want or is it based on other people ideas of who I should be?

“When you’re alone all by yourself
And you’re lying in your bed
Reflection stares right into you
Are you happy with yourself
It’s just a way to masquerade
The illusion has been shed
Are you happy with yourself
Are you happy with yourself




PS. This completes my perfection series. Next week lets talk about reaching our goals!