Monthly Archives: February 2017

Matriarchy revisited.


By: Francine van Dam

The other day, I was asked to perform at the opening of an exhibition of two male artists from Curacao. I packed my cuatro ( small Venezuelan guitar) and prepared some old songs in Papiamento ( the Creole language from there).

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Lindsay’s In Business: Part 15: Lucky feedback


What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

 After the high of the business breakfast in London, I got back to my desk and started processing the feedback. There were three clear messages. I reflected on the one I’d found most useful first (I’d mentioned it in my previous post. Let me unpack it a little more…)

Someone on my table said “Don’t go thinking that alignment is the holy grail.”

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Situation 35: Friends on Facebook:

Femsy friends Betsy on Facebook, however, Betsy does not feel comfortable melding personal and professional lives.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Is able to set boundaries around her working life and professional relationships;
  • She demonstrates empathy and builds relationships with her colleagues based on what feels natural to both parties and fosters great collaboration;
  • Is assertive and respectful towards others whilst making clear her expectations.

How to best handle the situation:

Given the increasing demands of work, it is likely that you are working long hours on projects with your colleagues. The intensity of the work can result in camaraderie and the formation of strong bonds – a feeling of ‘we are all in this together’. Therefore, it is not surprising that some work colleagues may consider you to be more than just a coworker and try to extend the relationship to your personal life.

If you feel uncomfortable with any invitation to socialize either physically or virtually it is best to have a face-to-face conversation with the person concerned. Do not respond to a friend request on Facebook directly on the app/platform. Ask the individual why they sent you the invitation  Remember to use a tone that is conversational rather than judgmental. ‘I saw that you sent me a friend request on Facebook, I’m curious as to why’ or ‘By the way, I saw your friend request on Facebook, that was a surprise’ are better than ‘Why did you send me a friend request on Facebook?’ Actively listen to what he/she is saying to you; your aim is to get the other person to open up to you so you understand his/her motives, then you can decide how you want to respond.

If you still feel awkward with having a personal relationship say that politely; thank him/her for the invitation and say that you normally prefer not to mix business and pleasure. However, it may be that once you have heard the reasons, for example, the person does not know many people in the area and would like to meet up occasionally or feel that you have mutual interests that you can share via social media, you will feel able to give this a try.   It is fine to tell him/her that you feel a bit awkward since this is not something that you normally do, but will give it a try to see how it goes. This signals to the other person that there is a chance that you will ‘unfriend’ him/her at some point if you continue to feel awkward.

Learning suggestions:

  • It is hard to be strict about never mixing work and personal life since you may find that there are a few people at work whom you both respect as colleagues and gel with on a personal level. Therefore, it would be a shame to cut yourself off from the possibility of cultivating them as friends because you feel that would be unprofessional and/or you like to keep your work and personal life separate.   If you have adopted this philosophy ask yourself these questions:
    • Why do you feel this way?
    • Why is this important to you?
    • What do you gain from this approach?
    • What do you lose out on?
  • Reflect on your answers and determine whether you want to set rigid boundaries around work and personal activities. If yes, consider:
    • How will you come across to your colleagues?
    • What impact will this have on your reputation?
    • How can you convey that you enjoy working with them so that you still have a positive work environment?


Consider whether you can be truly successful without making some friends at work.

 Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

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“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles”. – Zig Ziglar

The best work-life balance is different for each of us and will vary over time because we all have different priorities and different lives. The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children.

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“Give, give, get.”


A full 70% of jobs are found through networking, and 40% of job seekers say they found their dream job through a personal connection.

So, building a strong network of connections is crucial to career success.

Build your network way before you need it.

Make networking a part of your everyday routine, rather than relying on it only when you are desperate.

There are always new people to meet and relationships to deepen.

Give before you take!

A “How can I help you?”- attitude builds trust into any relationship. It shows you care about a person and that you are backing your caring up with concrete action.

As Adam Grant, professor at Wharton and author of Give and Take has found, the people who give more than they take go further and experience more success.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via

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Who do you regard as your mentor?


“Women receive fewer promotions than men because they are less likely to have mentors who are also advocates for them” according to the article “Why men still get more promotions than women” by H. Ibarra, N. Carter and C. Silva in Harvard Business Review (Sept. 2010).

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After having spent about 30 years in business Mine Batiyel, Femflection Co-owner, felt it was the right time to quit and she has never looked back since. The most influential aspect that kept her out of business was art. At the age of 50, she started attending an art studio (D S Art Studio). She had not drawn anything until that time. What was initially intended as a hobby soon turned into a full time “job”.

Mine is an animal lover, a vegetarian, almost a bookworm, loves to do and watch sports, is very passionate about music and needless to say enjoys drawing and painting.

What is your favourite Quote or life motto?

There are so many which I have stored over the years – here are some of them: Continue reading

Brené Brown, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”

51eqedfzajlReviewed by Femflection

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent many years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Brené is also the Founder and CEO of The Daring Way – an organization that brings her work on vulnerability, courage, shame and worthiness to organizations, schools, communities, and families.

Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 19 million viewers.



The Gifts of Imperfection Quotes: Continue reading

Situation 34: Assertive language

Femsy is slowly but surely growing in her role. Her communication style though, differs greatly from the assertive style from her male peers and subordinates. Billy strongly suggests her to start every sentence with “I” (“I think”, “I believe”). In this way she will come across much more confident.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)
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Lindsay’s In Business: part 14: Bring it on 


by: Lindsay Uittenbogaard

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

 Even thought my feet are killing me and I’d love to sleep for a whole day, my mind is whirring. It’s full of excitement, new inputs, ideas and directions. I’m at Heathrow airport waiting for my flight back to Amsterdam after yesterday’s business breakfast in London and several meetings subsequently.

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