Amsterdam August 2017: Just a small flashback. Last year I was at the annual summit (fancy word for "Top") of THE NEXT WOMEN for the first time; a meeting organized by & for female entrepreneurs and enterprising women. At the time, I wrote the column "Entrepreneurial Girls" - a piece to which I received many nice & cool reactions. From men - and that's always welcome - but mostly from women. And given that the moral of my story - among other things - was that women should allow each other their success, I dare to conclude with certainty that this message got across well!

Enough reason for team PLEIN PUBLIQUE to visit this year's edition too. To network a bit, to participate in the "us knows us" game and also just to catch up (yes, we will remain women and we will not deny that).

But above all it is about the content. And this year it was all about AMBITION. Something we all have. Me as an entrepreneur, someone else maybe as a fit girl or an active Instagrammer; large scale, small scale, everything goes. But using your ambition and turn it into success is quite a challenge. A Task with a capital T, prepared with precision and preferably served with an extra cherry (read: size watermelon) on top.

Because that "more is more" in the case of ambition is the key to success is a given. Guest speakers Chantal Janzen and Eva Jinek explain how they - in completely different ways - approached their ambition ... freckles and boobies no objection! And I would like to share their motivational story with you.


Chantal started her presentation with a venture; she gave us a dance lesson to get the mood going. 'It's a matter of taste' is all I want to say about it (for those who do not know me personally; I don't dance before my first coffee, and if - then preferably not in a massive group ...). The speech that followed the dance class was fortunately very inspiring.


' I have never tried that before,

so I think I should definitely be able to do that'
- Pippi Longstocking-


Chantal told us the story behind her career and started at the moment of her first ambition as a young girl; dancing in classical ballet. The girl with the freckles and the little glasses who trained herself like crazy to be able to shine as a beautiful swan, turned out to - in addition to having a lot of talent - unfortunately also have too wide hips. Ballet teacher; thanks. But the urge to entertain turned out to be strong, and she gradually learned to turn her setbacks into opportunities. Her motto? ' I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that'

Maybe this sounds familiar to you; it is a quote from childhood heroine Pippi Longstocking, whose confidence and fighting spirit are legendary. Ha! Chantal took every opportunity - and there were many - and fought her way to the top. A small anthology of the hordes that La Janzen encountered - and conquered;

• Audition for classical ballet; rejected because of being in possession of Ass (again that capital letter A)

• School for the Arts; song, dance, musical. You name it - she did it. With (main) roles in countless musicals and films as a result.

• College Tour guest, following Madeleine Albright and Neelie Kroes, among others. Around 100 people who bombard you with an array of questions, and no time to thoroughly think about your answer. Just imagine standing there…….

• Invitation to host Idols 3; accepted without experience (but after thorough research). Facing a wave of criticism. Swallow and carry on. Victory in the form of the invitation to present a show in Germany (yes, in German!).

For the latter campaign in particular, she has changed her motto to "I have no idea if I can do it, but I will definitely try". And she did so successfully. She worked very hard, took her chances, tried everything, sometimes failed spectacularly and (fortunately more often) performed great.


'Don't play a victim, be a Hero'
In other words; turn setbacks into success -
Hold on, persevere, and triumph.

- Eva Jinek


As icing on the cake, she recently launched a beautiful multi-media platform; JustC. That is the story of Chantal Janzen, who turned ambition into a resounding success. And we now know that "girl with the freckles and glasses" as a beautiful swan!


We all know Eva too. With her 9+ years of television experience, she is a seasoned media veteran. But she also did not reach her position without a struggle. Perhaps silly to quote, but still relevant within the context of the summit; Eva once made headlines when she hilariously positioned her Boobies in the desired pose before reading the news. Intended as a joke among colleagues, but unintentionally and unwanted unfortunately broadcasted live. Shit happens. For real!

The ensuing media hype was unprecedentedly vicious in tone, devaluing her professional status in one fell swoop to that of "talking boobs". (Question in between. Would the same have happened to a man who accidentally adjusts his junk on screen? I don't think so. And neither do you.) But Eva does not allow herself to be forced into a victim role and follows her own wise advice; "Don't play a victim, be a Hero". These days she has her own well-watched talk show and fights in her own way for the visibility of ambitious women in the media.

Eva recently expressed her frustration at the difficulty of getting women "at the table" for her talk show. “Most ideas and projects come from women, but it is the men who proclaim them in the media. While most editorial teams are 65% women, 75% of the guests are men. And once a woman does attend, it often is just a one time thing.

Why? The explanation of one of my guests was an eye-opener; “When you are invited to share your expertise, you are proud and very happy! The broadcast is going well, you get plenty of compliments on the spot via Facebook and Whatsapp, and you come out completely satisfied. Mission accomplished. And then you sneak a look at Twitter… and the euphoria is over. "She doesn't look like much." "She's really too fat." "When she opens her mouth ... blahblahblah" and so on. Then there is only one reaction that comes to mind: I. Am. Never. Doing. That. Again. “What a shame!


'An opinion is not an apology ”
You are invited to share your opinion,
give it without modesty.

- Eva Jinek-


It is a primary women's response to false criticism; they shoot in "fight or flight" mode. The "fight" mode expresses itself in anger, with which you shield yourself and shut down and stop communicating. Deadly for your career. The "flight" mode produces a response as described above, and results in the absence of expert women in the media. Eva therefore calls for a break through this negative spiral. “When you are invited; accept. Be actively present, don't apologize for your opinion, stay true to your professionalism, but also be open to the opinion of others. "

One day they will stop talking about your appearance / your voice / your clothes / your hair and everything that has to do with being a woman, and will only talk about your expertise and what you have to say. But for that you have to come to the show- and keep coming! "Say yes and show up!" Wise words from a successful woman and a worthy end to an inspiring day.

It took a while (a month or two ahum) before I had absorbed all the inspiration and information I had gained, but when I did i was overwhelmed with satisfaction. Ambition is a beautiful thing, and - if accompanied by courage and a sense of reality - something that certainly enriches the "meaning of life". How I am going to convert my personal and professional ambition into (more) success is a question that I will be thinking about for a long time...

Yours Truly, Nicole

PS: If the Boobies - in the case of imminent talk show exposure - feel a little shy, that's no reason to leave them on the bedside table. It is about your opinion and expertise, if they are in tip-top condition, those two sisters will certainly not get in the way. hahaha

* If you have not yet read the column of 'Entrepreneurial Girls', click
here! It's hilarious!

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