2020 isn’t cancelled ladies!

During the COVID 19 pandemic, I saw all these reports on women working twice as hard at work and at home, losing their jobs (Check out this IMF report on how COVID-19 had disproportionate effects on women and their economic status), but also how good female world leaders were doing (read about Jacinda, Angela and others here. We are half of the world population and we need to make a bigger impact.

Let’s come together and claim our seat at the table. The 22nd of August is the day we begin. I want us to take over Instagram and LinkedIn with this message. Are you willing to help this movement to go viral on the 22nd? If so click yes here and we will send you the image we will be using on that day.

And just to remind you why we are doing this: BrandedU started 6,5 years ago with 1 goal in mind: getting more women to level up their careers by helping them become more visible. Because your hard work can only go so far. That is why during the pandemic I developed an online course Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger to lift women up and give them the confidence to be seen. This is one of my contributions to make my mission, getting 20.000 women visible in 2020, very tangible.

Let’s make women visible and not overlooked!


It is 20 years ago since I had one of my proudest moments in my career. I had just started working at BMG a year earlier and was about to work on TLC’s album ‘Fanmail’. I was a big TLC fan and grew up listening to their songs so I was really incredibly fortunate to be able to do the marketing of their album in The Netherlands. ‘Unpretty’ was the 3rd single we released of that album. To me the song represents giving your power away. It talks about someone making her feel unpretty. So I decided to share with you one of my favorite poets, also in honor of today being the last day of Black History Month (which is celebrated in the US), by Maya Angelou. I love empowering women and this poem does just that!

I wrote down the version she once recited at the Oprah show:

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them, 
They think I’m telling lies. 

I say, 
It’s in the reach of my arms, 
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman 

I walk into a room 
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man, 
The fellows stand or 
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me, 

A hive of honey bees.   

I say, 
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman 

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me. 
They try so much 
But they can’t touch 
My inner mystery. 
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   

I say, 
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile, 
The ride of my breasts, 
The grace of my style. 
I’m a woman 

Now you understand 
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about 
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing, 
It ought to make you proud. 

I say, 
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman 

Phenomenal woman, all you women and me!

“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou

When Oprah asked her what the best piece of advice was that she has ever given she replied here and I quote: In order to get a friend you have to be a friend. And she said: There is a place in you that you have to keep pristine clean so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you terribly. 

So ladies don’t let anybody make you feel unpretty. 


P.S. Just 6 more days till the International Women’s Day summit and we are almost sold out, so get your tickets ASAP!

Ain’t no mountain high enough!

So on Sunday, February 10th, Diana Ross will celebrate her 75th birthday with a special performance at the Grammy Awards. 

You know she inspired me to have a career in music right?! I LOVE HER SO MUCH! 

I mean this woman has done it all before doing it all was a thing. She was in the first female supergroup The SurpremesShe went solo successfullyShe had an acting career with The Wiz and Lady sings the blues.Her performances where over the top which made her an icon (the gay community stills sings “I am coming out” and loves her!)

But what I never realized is how great of a mom she is. I read this bit from an interview in W magazine by her famous actress daughter Tracee Ellis Ross and I had to share it with you.

“I was raised by a woman who lived out her dreams. So she’s not living them out through me, or her children. She really gave us space and the courage to live the lives that we want to be living, and to have time to dream and conjure up the life that I wanted to be living. I could really curate or design the world I wanted to be living in. And one of the biggest things that I took from that, for myself, that my mom didn’t necessarily share with me, is the best way to design my life around me is actually to know who I am and not live according to what other people think I should be doing, but to have a curiosity that pushes up against the status quo. To say, “Does that work for me? Is that something I want?” So I got to have the example of my parent really being her full self. It’s given me a lot in my life.”


Because this is what I have been saying for the last 5 years, this is the essence of BrandedU. Empowering more women to design their own lives. To authentically live out your dreams.  

If you do that you not only inspire your kids like Diana Ross did but also other women to follow this path.


P.S. Are you joining us for the International Women’s Day Summit next month?
Check out the speakers we got confirmed below!

Anika de GrootDirector Fundraising & Communications Dance4Life
Annelies ValkSenior Global Brand Strategy Manager Vodafone
Dr. Yvonne Thompson CBEEntrepreneur and author
Elske Doets MD and Owner Jan Doets America Tours
Enny van de VeldenChair of the board of Directors and CCO CCV Group B.V.
Eva HukshornStrategy Advisor Re-Born
Hajir HajjiCommercial Director Action
Heena JethwaDigital Workplace Services Leader IBM
Hendrikje CrebolderDirector Development & Media Rijksmuseum
Jackie ReardonAuthor, entrepreneur, speaker and life coach
Jane TurnerHead of the Rijksprentenkabinet Rijksmuseum
Khadija AribPresident House of Representatives
Laura ViscoExecutive Creative Director 72andSunny