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Cheyenne Smaal is a successful coaching executive at Waternet. She is a Hindustani Surinamese and transgender. That combination made, amongst other things, for a very difficult childhood.
Cheyenne is the first-born son in a proud Hindu family. Nothing was talked about in her culture; being transgender is a taboo. Cheyenne felt unheard, unseen, lonely and misunderstood. These struggles became unbearable at one point. Cheyenne made the choice at that stage to want to get out of life, but something happened that saved her. Cheyenne has managed to turn the negative events in her life into positive life experiences and lessons. For her, it was the start of her transformation into “being who she is”, on a personal and professional level.
Winston van Niel (Moderator) is the founder of Parea Nederland, a growing network of Dutch and Netherlands based LGBTQ+ professionals of colour. He’s an independent consultant in SME innovation funds management. After a career in the Dutch public sector, he worked his way up to a European position in funds management within the energy transition sector until 2019. He also serves on the Board of COC Nederland.
My name is Kevin Kabatsi. I am a 27 year old Ugandan living in Amsterdam and Program manager for Africa at the Rabobank Foundation. I grew up in both South Africa and Uganda where discrimination based on my race and sexuality was key in my formation as an adolescent. I eventually moved to the Netherlands 4 years ago to study (and for love – I had a Dutch partner) and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve matured here and feel comfortable being a helping guide for those who wish to follow my lead.
Aurora Guds has worked for 14 years at the Ministry of Finance. For the last two and half years she has been an active board member of B/Proud, the LGTBI-network of the ministry. Last year she organised Canal Pride in Amsterdam with Dutch Government Pride. Her true ambition is to further secure LGBTI interests via improvement of the workplace policies of the Ministry of Finance.
She is making sure that important themes such as cultural-change, inclusive leadership and promotion of consciousness will be put on the agenda.
“The problem we deal with at the moment is: What is the scope of ‘being yourself at work’. What does that mean?”.