Phyleen Mattaar will be this year’s professional trainer for TopFem’s Leadership Programme. She will help you find your own leadership in four training sessions, in which you will develop personally and professionally, discover your strengths and weaknesses, find out what you are capable of and use this in your advantage. Phyleen is a professional trainer and coach with VIStrainingen in Katwijk and is founder and trainer with her own company Speech!.
Who are you?
My name is Phyleen Mattaar and I came across TopFem through my interest in female leadership.
I – and a lot of my peers – have been brought up with the idea that women can accomplish everything nowadays, which creates certain expectations. These expectations need managing, otherwise our development would come to a stop. I find it very interesting to help people – specifically young women – manage their own expectations.
All the way through university you meet people with great expectations, while accumulating a lot of knowledge about your area of study. The subjects lacking in our higher education are the skills you need to develop yourself, and the assistance to develop yourself. Through the TopFem Leadership Programme I hope to assist the participants in their journey.
Coming back to who I am, I currently live in The Hague and grew up in the Achterhoek. My job is an obvious one, I am a trainer. I started being a ‘trainer’ while I was studying Law in Groningen, I helped with debate training and public speaking. I quit my study to set up my own company, Speech!. I started Leiden University College in The Hague and continued to give trainings through the foundation Villa Pinedo. In my third year all my friends wanted to work with international organizations, but I found that I did not follow their ambition. I enjoyed giving trainings, and had to make a choice: continue in the line of my study or follow my ambition. I reached out and received help from a coach, which has helped me a lot and got me where I am today.
Do you have a female role model?
I do not have a specific role model, but I find that the women who surround me offer me learning moments. For example, my current boss Tika is a mentor to me, she offers me advice and tips. However I have to make clear that I am open to learn, I have to take initiative to access her knowledge and experience. No one will hand you the knowledge and life lessons on a gold platter. I find that my mother has learned me to take hard decisions. When I thought about quitting my law study she told me that she did not support my decision to quit for 100%, but encouraged me to always make a decision with a firm belief.
What is one characteristic that you believe every female leader should possess?
I am pending between authenticity and vulnerability. Vulnerability might be seen as a contradictory characteristic to the power woman. When a male voice breaks during a speech most people will find that the speech was moving and strong. When a female voice breaks many people associate this with emotions. Perhaps men are more experienced in controlling their vulnerability than women, but I find that showing your vulnerability creates a connection with people, which I think is a leadership characteristic. When you can connect with people they will follow you more easily, than when they are just told to follow. I think authenticity is the other factor, therefore a combination of authenticity, being yourself, and showing your vulnerability is key.
From which (life) experience have you learned the most?
I have had cancer, and find that I have learned a lot from that. I find it hard to link this to a specific lesson, since I have had so many during (and after) that period. I learned a lot about myself, about my patterns, about problems I endure and how I cope with that, what happens if you – emotionally – break, which mechanisms are activated in such situations. I learned that people are important, the people who surround you and their power. Other moments have been quitting law school and choosing to follow my passion and become a trainer. Both moments have been about being loyal to my feelings and following through.
You will be the professional trainer for the Leadership Programme, how have you set up this year’s Leadership Programme?
I would link this to the two leadership characteristics I mentioned, authenticity and vulnerability. I strongly believe that you have to work from the inside to the outside. You first have to discover and understand yourself before trying to place yourself in the society or the world. Look at yourself first, before looking to the outside. From working at VIStrainingen I learned to confront people with their own selves and their behavior, and develop from that understanding. I will continue throughout the sessions to confront you with yourself, to help you comprehend, and to notice your improvements. You will use this knowledge to complete your assignments. You need to have self-knowledge before you can become a leader, you need a basis you can work from.
I am very honored to be this year’s trainer for theLeadership Programme and excited to start working with all the participants.
What kind of participants would you like to attract or what kind of mentality?
I hope to attract very ambitious women, who are prepared to take a look in the mirror and allow me to help with their development. Women who are open to receive feedback, not only from me, but also from other participants. I am not a leadership expert, I can help you find and acknowledge your behavioral traits, but the people surrounding you are the ones who confront you with your behavior and the effects it has. I hope to attract women who can accept that feedback, and who can give feedback as well, since we can learn a lot from each other. I hope to attract women who take their development seriously, who take this programme seriously, and who are seriously prepared to commit to each other and the Leadership Programme.
The Leadership Programme
In TopFem’s Leadership Programme you will search for you own leadership through personal development, leaderships styles, and career development. During multiple sessions you will be counseled by a professional trainer/coach and you are actively pursuing your own development through excersises, assignments, and personal feedback. In the Leadership Programme offers you the benefits of the Mentor&Network Programme as well, a personal and experieced mentor and monthly events where you can apply the lessons you learned through the Leadership Programme.
After the Leadership you know who you are, with the positive and the negative sides. You know what you are capable of and how you can make optimal use of your capabilities. Acting from this point you know how you want to present yourself to the rest of the world and have been given handles to realize this. You have been working with a group of hardworking young women and have discovered the power of a buddy. You have thought – together with the group – about ways to continue learning and developing yourself individually and jointly.
Time: Multiple sessions of 2,5 hours led by a professional trainer and 1,5-2 hours of assignments per week.
Commitment: This is a programme for young women who are prepared to undertake the course together from beginning to end. Which means: present at all sessions, commitment to complete all exercises and assignments and the preparedness to support one another and give feedback.