Diversity and inclusion: sexual orientation

Diversity and inclusion


When we talk about it, we often think about: 


Men and women


Younger and older generations


People from different colors, cultures, countries or religion…


There is however another type of diversity: 


Sexual orientation


Listen to the powerful speech Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, did a few days ago at the United Nations…


People should not judge, but accept differences…


Source: MSN / NBC News


#vlvcoach #diversity #inclusion #diversityandinclusion


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True global leaders embrace diversity and include everybody

True global leaders embrace diversity and include everybody. They never assume they already have all the answers. 

Global leaders keep and open mind. They value diversity and include everybody.


They know that having a diverse team can be challenging. However, they accept and respect everyone. No matter where they come from, their nationality, religion, sex, age, background, ability/differentability, etc.


In addition, global leaders know that everyone has something to offer.  They ask for feedback and ensure that EVERYBODY is included in the process. They know that everyone can offer a different perspective, provide different ideas and strengthen the team.


Finally, great leaders know that the big ideas and solutions come from the most diverse teams.

They know that diversity AND inclusion are key! They simply embrace them.


As a conclusion, I want to finish with one of my favorite quotes from Verna Myers.

Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

This post was shared on Linkedin and on fyi.to

👉 Contact me for help on multicultural leadership, women leadership, communication, diversity or team performance!

#vlvcoach #leadership #professionalwomen #diversityandinclusion


Animals and diversity…

They are all different

And yet, they are all friends…

If they all can get along with each other

Why can’t we???

[French version / version francaise]

Ils sont tous différents

Et pourtant, ils sont tous amis…

S’ils s’entendent tous les uns avec les autres.

Pourquoi nous, ne peut-on pas le faire ?

Source video: The Sound Project – Youtube vlvcoach diversity inclusion animals


This post was also published on Linkedin.

How to embrace diversity

Working in an international environment is usually very challenging . You not only deal with many different people from different countries, but also different personalities, opinions, cultures… However, working with different types of people is also very rewarding.

I’m a huge fan of diversity. Whether it’s about people from different backgrounds, cultures, races, nationalities, languages, religion, age, sexual preference, etc., I love and need diversity.

Appreciating diversity means recognizing differences between people. It means acknowledging that these differences are actually an asset. We should never discriminate but embrace diversity. 

What you can do as an individual

Many organizations have programs in place to improve diversity and inclusion. But as an individual, there are a few things you can do as well…

So, what can you do to embrace diversity?

 Be open minded

Respect everybody. Accept everyone for who they are. Do not judge. Having people with different ages for instance means different experiences and different views of seeing things. Be open to all suggestions.

  Stay curious

Don’t always believe stereotypes. Listen, ask questions, try to understand. Having a team with different expertise areas, backgrounds and/or languages will provide specific insights that you may not have thought of.

 Be willing to learn

You don’t know what you don’t know. People from different countries or cultures view things differently. They bring valuable input, especially if you implement a product or a service globally. 

Therefore, next time you have to set up a new team or manage a team, try to make it as diverse as possible. It will really help your organization.

This post was also posted on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #diversity #inclusion #leadership


Relax and recharge once in a while!

For 10 days, I took a break from social media to relax and recharge my batteries. This explains why I have not been much on internet lately. I needed to forget everything, focus on something else and re-energize.

And what better way to do this than attending the biggest Salsa/Bachata Festival of the world in Croatia in Rovinj (also refered to as the Summer Sensual Days and Croatian Summer Salsa Festival)! 💃🏽

I love dancing salsa (and bachata) 😊

Dancing is one of my passions.

It is my workout, my emotional and physical stress relief.

It also allows me to connect with people in a different way. One more reason why I love so much dancing salsa is the diversity of people I meet.

During 10 days, I danced days and nights with people from all over the world: China, South Africa, Serbia, Norway, Sweden, Poland, UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, India, Suriname, etc.

We all had one common language and one shared passion: dancing. It is truly a universal language.

Salsa in Rovinj

I’m now back all refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of 2019 😉

My advice to you all: Do not forget to take a break once in a while to relax and recharge your batteries!

vlvcoach diversity salsadancing


Yesterday evening I attended a networking event organized by the AMCHAM Luxembourg (American Chamber of Commerce). The main topic was digitalization.

As a small country, Luxembourg has been implementing different initiatives to attract companies and talent. Luxembourg has been trying to be at the forefront as one of  the most digitalized countries in Europe, if not in the world.


During this event, there were two speakers. The first was Marc Hansen, the Luxembourgish Minister of digitalization. The second speaker was  David Goldsmith, consultant, inventor, advisor, speaker, serial entrepreneur, and author. As a coincidence, I had seen David two days before at the TedXLuxembourg event, where he had been delivering a presentation as well.  I had really enjoyed his speech then, but was even more impressed yesterday.

During this event, David delivered an amazing presentation on digitalization. He provided us with an overview of the current situation (not only in Luxembourg but also in the world) and gave us some nice perspectives/food for thoughts…


Many lessons could be drawn from his presentation but one stood out to me, one which is dear to my heart: diversity. 


Main takeaway on digitalization and diversity

If an organization, a company, a city or a country wants to be successful, it needs to be diverse and include people from different backgrounds.

They should never assume they already have all the answers.


For this reason, they need to ask for feedback and ensure that EVERYBODY is included in the process:

✅ Men and women

✅ Young children till retired people

✅ Luxembourgers and foreigners/expatriates

✅ People from different countries, cultures, religion

✅ People with different backgrounds, education, jobs, languages, sexual orientation, etc.

✅ Abled and differently-abled people

It’s only when everyone’s point of view is taken into account that big ideas will be born. Then, solutions will be all encompassing, bringing greater benefits to all people and the businesses that spearhead those solutions.


I’ve said it before and will re-say it again:

⭐️⭐️⭐️ DIVERSITY IS KEY ⭐️⭐️⭐️


#vlvcoach #digitalization #leadership #Luxembourg #diversity #inclusion

This article was also published on Linkedin.

Diversity… I 💜 it, I live it and I need it! 😊

I grew up in a small town in Northern France with only French white people, most of them catholics. All my family was living in Northern France, and we were going on holiday in France. There was nothing a priori that was pushing me towards diversity.

When I was approximately 9 years old, I asked my mom to teach me English. From a young age, I have always wanted to learn a new language to be able to communicate with other people. I asked her because I did not want to wait 2 more years to learn English at school. I was apparently attracted to ‘something else’ at a young age, not sure where that came from…

When I was 18 and I went studying, I started to have foreign friends. At the end of my studies I then left to go to Germany for a training period. After 3 months, I was offered a job. I accepted and never looked back. This was the beginning of my life as an expatriate.

Since then, diversity has been a part of me.

My husband is from Suriname; my brother lives in the UK.

Even before I joined Linkedin, I’ve had friends from all over the world.

Some of my best friends are gay.

I have always managed teams with people from different countries.

When I was working in a bank in Amsterdam, I was one of the youngest, one of the only foreigners & one of the only women.

I cannot imagine my life without diversity.

⭐️ We all have more things in common than differences.

⭐️ Everybody has something to offer, to teach others.

⭐️ And we all have something to learn.

I keep saying it:

Together, we are stronger 💪🏻💪🏽💪🏿

I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t embraced diversity.

Diversity… I 💜 it, I live it and I need it! 😊

This article was also published on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #diversity



World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development.

Today, 21st May, is World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development.

to show how diversity can be embraced, I wanted to post this picture as a demonstration…

This picture was taken the 1st time I went to work in India. I had been hired to set up a team in India and my first trip brought me to Chennai, where I met my team members.

Because I did not know if I would come back, I decided to stay over for the weekend. I wanted to learn more about the country,. My colleagues were kind enough to show me around and bring me to places I probably would not have seen on my own. 

Since I was in India, I wanted to ‘fit in’. I wanted to show that I was embracing the culture. I therefore decided to dress with Indian clothes.

My female colleague wanted to make me feel comfortable in India and decided to wear Western clothes. When we saw each other, we laughed. We thought ‘great minds think alike’. This allowed us to appreciate and respect each other even more.

Not everything is what it seems…

The strangest thing happened afterwards when we were visiting places. Some Indian people were praising me for wearing Indian clothes while they were blaming my Indian colleague for wearing western clothes!

I was surprised by both types of comments. But there are 2 lessons here to take:

– By embracing diversity, we not only learn about people from other backgrounds, nationalities or cultures. We also gain wonderful experiences that open our minds even more.

– Perception can be deceiving. We should never judge people by the way they look or by why they do certain things. There’s always a reason behind it…

This article was published on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #diversity #inclusion #leadership #womeninbusiness #professionalwomen

Diversity and Inclusion go together

Two weeks ago, I had a very interesting discussion with one of my connections about diversity and inclusion.

I came across this article and one sentence stood out, one that my connection also mentioned:  “diversity won’t do a workplace much good if it doesn’t go hand in hand with inclusiveness”.

Verna Myers said: “diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being invited to dance”.

What are your thoughts on this?


#vlvcoach #leadership #diversity #inclusion #womenprofessional


Things to consider when you want to become an expat

In my series ’10 tips for people who want to become an expat’, I explained the main important things to think of when considering moving abroad (summary of all posts):

  • Making your research
  • Checking your personal situation
  • Being ready for a lot of administrative work
  • Paying attention to your finances
  • Speaking another language in a non-English country
  • Being prepared to lose some friends (and win new ones)
  • Being open to change
  • Food
  • Joining a club
  • Reverse culture shock

This article is the follow up of these videos. There are many other things to mention and so many questions you may ask yourself…

Where do I start if I want to become an expat? Which country should I choose? 

If you want to go abroad to escape certain problems you may face (for instance: a break up), moving abroad will probably not change anything. Should you decide to become an expat, leave without ’emotional luggage’. Make sure you are ready to enjoy your new adventure. If you bring your emotional problems with you, they will keep on following you. No matter how far you’ll be from your home country. You will not be able to enjoy fully your experience as an expat.

So, becoming an expat all depends on your situation (are you already an experienced professional or a fresh graduate) and which country you’re coming from. Some countries make it difficult for people to leave their home country so inquire on what is exactly required.

The best is obviously to find a job where a company would help you relocate and would also arrange visa, working permit, etc. for you. Do not give up. This can take a lot of time.

Check out big international companies such as Linkedin, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Paypal, Visa, Expedia, Club Med, big airlines, big car companies, and many others. These companies are present in many different locations and countries, and they are always looking for people. Depending on the job and level you’re applying for, you may be offered a relocation package or the company may help you with some formalities.

Looking for your dream job

You can, of course, look for your ‘dream job’. However, from my own experience, it can take a lot of time. If your goal is more to become an expat and less to have the perfect job, look for any suitable job. Sometimes a step backward can actually help you move forward afterwards… You may even be invited for an interview and might actually be offered a better job depending on your experience and skills.

As mentioned in my first video, you need to do your research, there is no other way around. Everybody has a different situation, a different background and only you know what you want to do. Find out visa requirements. If you need a working permit, if you need to have some money aside to go to certain countries/areas of the world. You usually can find this information at the embassy or consulate of the country you want to go to. Google something like ‘Visa requirements for [xxx] citizen to [country where you want to move to]’. You will get several links and you can then go deeper to find out more about the exact prerequisites, processing times etc.

Do your research

Do your research on the cost of living, taxes (income tax, car tax, etc.), accommodation, public transports, school, other expats, etc. Nowadays, you really can find anything on the Internet. Use this opportunity to find out everything you want to know.

Find out about the weather as well. Some people coming from warm countries going to work in more northern countries sometimes have challenges adapting to the colder weather and actually get depressed. So also google ‘weather climate in [country you want to go to] to get an idea of what to expect and to avoid surprises.

Be aware that in some countries and for certain professions, the diplomas or qualifications you have may not be recognized. Or you may have to have your diploma translated into the local language (and this can be quite costly). So this is also another thing to take into consideration if you are looking for a job.

What else do I need to do once I have moved?

Once you have found a place where to stay and have registered at your town hall, do not forget to go and register at your embassy or consulate. This can be very handy in case something happens (if you lose your passport for instance).

Check also if you can use your driving license (and get insured). Sometimes, certain countries require you to change your driving license to a ‘local’ one.

Inquire about phone/internet providers: there are sometimes big differences in offers.

Will it be easy to learn the local language?

As strange as it sounds, it is actually easier to learn a language where people do not speak English (or your native language). Why? Because you have no choice but to learn it!

When people speak English (even in a non-English speaking country) and they hear you try to speak their language, they often switch to English as they hear you have an accent. Whether they do it consciously or not, does not really matter. The fact is that you will have fewer opportunities to practice and learn the local language if people speak English. This can sometimes be very annoying as you’re trying to make an effort to learn the language but do not get the chance to practice it.

When you are in a country like China, France or Italy for instance, you will have to learn the language. It will be very frustrating and you’ll feel very tired at the beginning. But trust me: once you have learned the basics, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice. Your learning curve will increase quickly. Remember: learning the local language will help you understand all the subtleties of the culture and will help you integrate better. It’s an investment worth making and something you’ll keep for the rest of your life.

I was happy and excited to move, but now I feel disappointed and wonder if I did not make a mistake… Is it normal?

As an expat, you will go through different phases (a big thank you to @Randall Niznick for the inspiration).

You’ll first be a bit scared of the unknown but mostly excited by this new adventure.

After a while, you’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions. You will sometimes become frustrated, angry, disappointed, sad, alone and will wonder if you have taken the right decision. You will notice things do not work like in your own country or not as planned….

But there will come a time when you’ll have finalized most of the paperwork. You’ll have found a place where to stay and will have registered, you’ll have a bank account, an internet connection, a mobile phone, etc. You will start to relax. You’ll start enjoying your new life and appreciating the normal things. You will start making new friends and will start picking up some habits in your new country.

Depending on your character and personality, of the country you’ve come from and where you’ve moved to, these phases will differ from one person to the other. Some may need a few weeks to adjust to their new situation, some may need months (or even years!). Some people may be stuck in the ‘down phase’ (the phase where everything seems to go wrong). Other people will make the best of their situation and will move quickly to the phase where they start to enjoy their new life. The most important thing to know is that it is totally normal to have all these challenges and all these different feelings. We’ve all been there. Even when faced with challenges, take this as a learning experience. Remember, you never lose: you either win or you learn.