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Member Spotlight: Maxine Verhelst

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Welcome to the second edition of our Member Spotlights. This is an attempt to bring more focus to one of our favorite things about WIL, the community! The Member Spotlight series will consist of interviews with WIL Members, so that we can all get to know each other a little better as you often are not able to talk to everyone at a workshop. The second member we would like to introduce to you is Maxine Verhelst. Maxine is not only a member of WIL but also a valuable asset to our Communication Team. If you are interested in connecting with Maxine feel free to add her on LinkedIn:

About Maxine

I am originally from Belgium, but I moved to the US, Indianapolis Indiana when I was quite young. It was really cool to spend my childhood there. When I was ten, I moved with my family to France and started to go to high school there. Right before my last year in high school my dad was offered a job opportunity in Panama. I moved to Panama and did my two last years of high school there. I came to the Netherlands because, being from Belgium where everybody rides their bikes all the time, I thought ‘when I am older, I am going to move to a place where I can bike around all the time,’ so I am here now and I am also doing that. I am studying at Leiden University College and I am in my second year doing my major in Governance, Economics and Development. I have great dreams to be able to go to Chile for my exchange. And if that does not work, I am thinking of doing a minor in Psychology. Beyond that, I have a couple of siblings which I really enjoy and especially the family dynamics that we have.


I do graphic design for the Communication Team of WIL and I really like that creative outlet because I don’t get to do that in many other aspects of my life. I also really enjoy all watersports and am currently trying to learn how to kitesurf. Moreover, I really just love reading during vacations. Recently I also really enjoyed researching the stress recovery effects of binge watching.

Why did you decide to become part of WIL?

I decided to become a member of WIL mainly due to the people that are representing WIL. The young women behind WIL were just really go-getters and I really admired that they started the organization by themselves and that they are in contact with the outside world. At LUC we are often in a bubble and at WIL we have this opportunity to get into conversations with women that have experience and are able to transmit that experience. And then when I dug a bit deeper, I thought that this is a really good project that is really student-led and continues to be very student-led and so I decided to become part of it. I love to learn about all the professional skills thanks to the influence of professional women who are willing to help us and show their experience to make it easier on us. Any opportunity that WIL gives me would be a waste to not take.

What was one of your favorite experiences?

I think one of them is definitely being part of the Communication Team but there was also a cool event that I loved, so I will tell you a bit about that. Being part of the Communication Team is really fun because we get to be creative and I feel that often in my academic life it is not about being super creative. Furthermore, we try to share the positive message of WIL with other people and that is how we grow and that is how we can give more of WIL’s benefits to more people. I think it is cool how all the young women that I meet in the team are so motivated and how we share our ideas with each other. It is really nice to get to know people outside of more traditional school settings. The event that I enjoyed took place last year. I did a workshop on self-confidence and within that workshop, there was a part about public speaking. It is really hard for me and the workshop definitely helped me in building my confidence. In the workshop, we all faced our fears together and I found that really powerful because a lot of us are afraid of networking for example. It was nice to support each other through our learning process.

Who inspires you?

I thought about it and I think there are two different answers because there is my day-to-day inspiration and there is a woman that inspires me. My day-to-day inspiration is literally just my dad because even though he has been through rough times like we all have, he is just so patient and so understanding. Furthermore, he is very proactive in his family life and always knows how to diffuse situations. He is a go-getter and whenever I am scared of doing something, I think of him and that he would go for it.

My female inspiration is Serena Williams because she has faced so much criticism and she has had to go from very humble beginnings to becoming a superstar. And even though she is a superstar, she gets so much hate about the color of her skin or about the fact that she has had a child. I think from the outside it is really inspiring to see that she keeps going and keeps showing that she is one of the best. It is just so impressive to see that she has been able to do all of those tournaments and win all of those things and still ,while facing all of the hate around her, she keeps going.

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