Hello, I am Simone …


… and I really love people. I don’t necessarily like all people but I do always want to know what makes them tick. I also love other countries and cultures. In my life, I was fortunate enough to live in a variety of countries where colors, scents, emotions and belief systems vary completely from what I was used to at home.

Slowly I learned to understand the seemingly strange habits and beliefs in other cultures.

When people from different cultures start working and living together they often don’t understand each other, and don’t even know they don’t. This can cause misunderstandings and irritation and can harm their relationship and their mutual success.

Because I often understood both angles on the story, I started explaining people to each other and that’s how I became a builder of bridges between cultures. I do this especially for business people and groups of people that want to connect to each other but find it challenging to do so.



What story does my family say about me?

I really wouldn’t know. I tell them a lot about my life, I share my love for my cross cultural and foundation work, show them as many pictures as I can, but feel that it remains a world that they don’t really know. It would be interesting to see what kind of picture they have created about me and my life, with everything I have shared over time.


My favorite quote

A short one is: ‘smile … you were given the gift of life’.

The longer one is the part of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It’s our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously
Give other people the permission to do the same.



My favorite TEDx Talk

There are many interesting, beautiful and inspiring talks. These are three older talks that touch me for different reasons


Sir Ken Robinson’s drive to create an educational environment. An environment, in which children can understand who they are so they can become what they want to be really inspires me.


Brené Brown on vulnerability. A beautiful talk about connecting and daring to be vulnerable.


Hans Rosling is the magician of statistics. He passionately uses them to give us a new outlook on the dynamics of global social development. His magic makes statistics easily accessible. His interpretation gives us amazingly positive insights.


Who are the people that inspire you most?

The people that have overcome great adversity, from Nelson Mandela to personal friends that have been courageous and that have transformed by overcoming huge challenges.


What makes your heart sing to speak on TEDxSittardGeleen?

With its typical humor, kindness and sense of security, Sittard has given me a fertile solid base. I have learned how lucky I am for having received that kind of support to build a future onto. It feels great to share my passion in the place it all started for me.


About Simone as a speaker? Find her speaker page here.