How to roll through the crisis like a leader

Great Place To Work and BrandedU present a white paper on leadership during times of crisis. The paper features interviews with leaders of various organizations and includes tips to improve your leadership style making it a valuable source of information and inspiration for all those in leadership positions.

It’s not easy being a leader now but the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a watershed moment that has demonstrated what great leaders are made of. Great Place To Work and BrandedU have compiled a white paper on what we all can learn from great leadership during times of crisis. The paper, titled “How to Roll Through the Crisis Like a Boss Leader,” features interviews with leaders of businesses such as Corinne Vigreux, co-founder of navigation supplier TomTom, Marion van Happen COO of recruitment agency USG People, Atilay Uslu of travel organisation Corendon, and Michael C. Bush, Global CEO of Great Place To Work share their personal stories on leadership in times of crisis. The interviews offer unique insights, as well as lessons learned.

Corinne Vigreux, co-founder TomTom, talks about the similarities between a good marriage and leadership. Atilay Uslu, Founder of Corendon shares what he thinks Dutch women can learn from women with an immigrant background. Michael C. Bush, Global CEO of Great Place To Work, tells about the time he witnessed true leadership from Obama on the day that Osama Bin Laden was captured. And Marion van Happen, COO of USG People, explains how she manages to empathetically keep 2000 employees onnected with each other.

Finally, Nancy Poleon, founder of BrandedU, talks about inspirational female leaders and the importance of visibility. “People crave trustworthiness in leaders and organizations right now and with that comes visibility. Leaders today can’t afford to not be visible and felt in their organisations.”

This whitepaper is for everyone who wants to take a closer look at what great leadership brings. You can download the full whitepaper for free.

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!