Name: Manon van de Woestijne
University and Study Focus: Leiden University College - Governance, Economics and Development
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 21 years old and I have lived in the Netherlands for all my life. Before moving to The Hague, I lived in a very small town in Zeeland. I am in the final year of my Bachelor's degree, where I am studying Governance, Economics and Development. I am currently working hard on my capstone, which focusses on the Irish economic development. I am also the Head of Programme for WIL in the year 2019/2020 and I was previously on the innovation team.
What motivated you to be a part of WIL?
I became a part of WIL when it was still being created, around two years ago. One of my closest friends, Jennifer Pfister, was heavily involved and later became part of the first board as Head of Programme. She told me about the goals of this concept that was Women in Innovation and Leadership. She told me about creating a community for women to build their skill and knowledge. A space where we could all support each other and through collaboration make us all grow. I wanted to be part of that community, so I joined brainstorming sessions which turned into official innovation team meetings. A year later, I applied to become Head of Programme and now here I am!
What is a question (academic, personal, social, etc.) that you are currently trying to answer?
There's many questions I am trying to answer, at all times. Academically, through my capstone, I am trying to see what the similarities and differences are in the role of the IDA (an Irish semi-governmental body) in the original boom of the Irish economy and the post-crisis recovery. However, the main thing on my mind currently, with the rather chaotic state of the world, is how to find a balance between professional, social and academic life when no formal structure is in place anymore. How do you keep those separate when they are all happening in the same physical space even?
What has been one of the most impactful experiences in your life?
My oldest sister had a baby at a young age. This could be seen as a negative thing, but my family came together and worked hard to make sure that this baby would always be a blessing. This taught me to role with the punches that life throws at you and not to dwell on the negatives but focus on the positives instead.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Probably "if you get angry, you lose." My grandfather gave me this advice. He said that it's great if you are passionate about a topic, but if you get angry/upset during a debate or discussion, you will lose, because you lose your ability to think clearly.
What is one way you would like to help or offer support for other WIL members?
I would love to be able to offer personal or academic support to anyone who believes my experience could be beneficial for them.