Curiosity in people, cultures and creating results are driving Doutzen’s work

With her Dutch origins Doutzen is an Executive Search consultant and Coach who has always had a pull towards Africa where she is now based. Her curiosity for experiencing other parts of the world made her leave Mercuri Urval in 2015. Four years later, she returned as an Associate, where she partially works as an Executive Search consultant and sparring partner in African projects for Mercuri Urval and simultaneously balances her other consultant job and own company.

Can you sum up your work in 3 words? Why these words?

  • Professionalism: being a trusted part of the team again, while operating from a distance can only work when you are a team of experienced professionals aiming to deliver value to our clients.
  • Freedom: of course, in line with clients' agendas and expectations, being free to work to my own timings and schedule and chase other dreams at the same time.
  • Quality: I've always been, and I still am proud to (re)present Mercuri Urval because of our quality way of working.

You have recently returned to Mercuri Urval in a new role as an Associate – can you explain a bit more about that?

The work in itself is not that different actually! I perform the same consultant activities as a regular employed consultant. The difference though is that I'm not part of the regular office structure, with the reporting system, KPIs and team meetings as such. I work from a distance, both on Mercuri Urval projects and on projects from my other businesses.

What do you see as the biggest advantage of working as an Associate for Mercuri Urval?

The freedom for sure! After leaving Mercuri Urval, I've developed other interests as well. I joined a team in Kenya that advises modern organisations inspired by nomadic and indigenous wisdom on building strong company cultures and on driving ownership and responsibility within all team members. Being able to still run these programs (now in Rwanda), while also doing assignments for Mercuri Urval is a wonderful combination. As a full time / regular consultant for Mercuri Urval this wouldn't be possible. I feel like I have the best of all worlds; being affiliated with a quality company like Mercuri Urval, and being able to live and build my life in the land of a thousand hills (Please do Google 'Hills Rwanda' and look at the images!).

How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues at Mercuri Urval?

I think Mercuri Urval colleagues are the best in the world which makes me extra happy to be back! I do believe I have to put in extra effort to communicate well. I realise I'm working from a distance. I want my colleagues to be able to trust me and recognise that even though I'm not a full time Mercuri Urval consultant, I'm serious about the responsibilities I have for our brand and our clients.

You have mentioned your curiosity for cultures and people; how is that evident in your work?

You need curiosity to develop the cultural acuity that you need to build business relationships in a country so different from your own. Things work differently and you have to adapt to respect and be respected. I didn't need much time to realise that the direct Dutch way isn't always understood or appreciated ;) But I love working in different cultures; it challenges you to be flexible and non-judgemental, it gives you a broad perspective on how everyone, everywhere is trying to make something of their lives in their own way. Right now, I have coaching clients in Tanzania, Kenya, the UK, the USA, Netherlands and Malaysia. My Mercuri Urval clients are in Zambia and South Africa. I would say I'm fulfilling my interest in cultures and people quite well.

Did anything surprise you when returning to Mercuri Urval?

I think in these last four years much more has changed compared to the 10 years before. It's great to see how Mercuri Urval is now open to working with Associates. This is a great opportunity to build a foundation in areas of the world where you wouldn't immediately open an office but where our international clients can benefit from our presence.


Doutzen holds degrees in Organisational Sociology from the University of Groningen and is a certified NLP Practitioner and Inner Dynamics Practitioner.

She re-joined Mercuri Urval in 2019 as an Associate working from Rwanda and representing African regions. Previously, she has been part of Mercuri Urval between 2008-2015, and is now truly embracing the African work culture as she is balancing multiple jobs, such as her company in organisational culture building and coaching.