I Am TopFem: Esther

Every first Monday of the month we post an interview with a TopFem member or TopFem alumna. This month’s I Am Topfem is with Esther de Zeeuw. Esther was a participant of TopFem's Leadership Programme 2014-2015 and was Programme Manager with the Board of 2015-2016.


Who are you?

My name is Esther de Zeeuw (25 years), I live in Utrecht, and I work as a Business Analyst for the Strategy&Operations department of Deloitte. My history with TopFem reaches back to 3 years ago: in the year 2014-2015 I participated in the Leadership Programme of TopFem, in the year 2015-2016 I was de Programme Manager in the Board of TopFem, and this year I am in the Advisory Board of TopFem. During my spare time I love to spend time with friends and family or to go for a run.

Which study are you following/have you followed/completed?

In 2013 I graduated my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (Leiden University). As I found out during my Bachelors that doing research in the lab wasn’t for me, I decided to do my Masters in Management and Policy in the Healthcare and Life Sciences (VU University). After two internships at Astellas Pharma and Atos Consulting, I knew that project-related work at Healthcare and Life Sciences companies was what I wanted to do. As both my internships were focused on process optimization, I started at Deloitte where I currently work in Process Excellence at healthcare and Life Sciences clients.

How did you discover TopFem?

I coincidently saw someone liking a page called ‘TopFem’ on Facebook and wondered what TopFem would be. After clicking on it and scrolling through the page, I was directly interested in going to one of the network events. After my first network event, my enthusiasm in TopFem made me decide directly to apply for the Leadership Program.

What is your experience when you partook in the research project of the Leadership Program?

As part of the Leadership program, I did research at the Dutch Heart Foundation. As the Heart Foundation was struggling to get more interns into the organization, my research focused on how to increase the amount of applications from interns. In my 4 months of research, I interviewed employees, and spread a survey among students. The results gave the Heart Foundation a great view of what they could change to attract more students, and based on my research they also changed their policy.

How do you experience TopFem?

TopFem gave me the opportunity to meet ambitious peers, and talk about work, studies, and goals. At the network events I also met female young professionals who worked at consultancy companies, and they gave me a better view on what consultancy work entails. Although I really enjoyed TopFem, I also saw there were many opportunities for further professionalization and growth. I guess TopFem could still be compared to a start-up at that time.

Thus, I took the chance to join the board and professionalize the Leadership Program of TopFem further. With every event that I organization with my fellow Board-members, I was left with more excitement and inspiration for myself, but also for the opportunities that lie ahead of TopFem. I truly belief that TopFem brings ambitious young women together and gives these women the opportunity to grow in their careers.

Do you have a female role model?

The past years I met a few women who truly are role models to me, and who feel like mentors to me. I met them during my master internship and in my current job. These women show me what choices they have made in their careers, how they achieve their goals, and how they combine their role at the top with their personal lives. I am thankful to have these women in my life and learn from them.

How was the transition from you student years to your working life?

As I performed two full-time internships, the transition wasn’t so big to me. I was actually looking forward to the working life. I enjoyed the structure and the focus it brought in my life.

What are your plans for the future?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have long-term goals, but rather long-term dreams. I would love to grow in my career at Deloitte in the coming years, take the chance of doing an MBA abroad, and take a sabbatical to travel to New-Zealand and Australia. I keep these dreams in the back of my head, and hope to realize them before I turn 30.

Any advice to other young female students and professionals?

“The future belongs to those who belief in the beauty of their dreams”.

This a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and I truly believe that if you dream about something, you should go after what you dream of in life, be true to yourself, and have fun!