Introducing myself? But How?
When I introduce myself at the beginning of a training or workshop, I often show a collection of different photos. Photos related to things that matter to me and thus shape my different identities – for example where I am “local” and what my hobbies are. My identity as an independent consultant and diversity expert is at the forefront of my training courses and workshops. Even when I introduce myself here on the website, I will mainly focus on my professional background. That does not alter the fact that my other facets of identities also play an important role when it comes to my professional life and way of working. In this way, different sides of ourselves emerge in different ways at different times. This dynamic contributes to how we present ourselves and at the same time how others interpret the presentation of ourselves. I wonder what happens when you start reading my “presentation” of myself…
My (professional) background...
Raised in Dortmund, Germany, I went to Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in 2001 to study (Work and Organizational) Psychology. In 2006, I moved to Amsterdam to attain a second Master’s degree (Culture, Organization and Management) at the VU Amsterdam. Based on my own experiences, the people I met, the friends I made, the teachers who inspired me, my interest in diversity and inclusion in organizations grew. I saw more and more things around me that puzzled me regarding this subject. In 2009, I started my PhD research at the VU Amsterdam based on this intrinsic interest. I conducted research on the role of ethnic diversity in career experiences of professionals in Dutch organizations. In 2015, I successfully defended my dissertation entitled “What you see is what you get!? Looking into ethnic diversity and professional careers in Dutch organizations”. Neither my interest in nor my questions about diversity and inclusion in organizations diminished during this time – quite the contrary… Through the combination of scientific insights and practical experience I developed (and still am developing) a more refined view on the topic. This forms the basis for my coaching and consulting work. Besides, I also work as a permanent lecturer at the Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Connectify – diversity through connection. Connecting and establishing relation(ship)s is one of the main aspects that characterize both me as a person and my way of working: I believe that it is important to connect when collaborating with others. Also, with regards to activities and interventions I am always looking for ways to encourage others to truly relate to each other and to create the opportunity to experience connection with each other. This helps to let go of assumptions and expectations and to make room for the other.
My work also focuses on a thorough exploration of the situation and the use of evidence-based interventions. For example, do you want me to take a look at the optimization of selection or assessment processes in your organization? In addition to analyzing relevant documents, etc., I also like to observe actual selection or assessment rounds, before I give concrete suggestions for optimization. After all, every process is unique and requires an accurate analysis to start with.
Finally, close cooperation with you, the client is important to me. What are your wishes and how can we achieve an optimal result together?
Dr. Carolin Ossenkop