Ellen Cornelisse, 52

Fabulous Over 40, Women

If your friends/family had to describe you in 3-4 words, what would they say?

Strong drive, independent, approachable, thoughtful, empathic, goal oriented, eager to learn, analytical/detail focussed, humor, quick learner, impatient/high energy. (I did ask a couple of people independently and they all gave the same kind of feedback. It was very insightful).

What would you say is your best emotional quality?

Looking forward, finding ways to move on even when it is scary or even not meeting our ideas/hopes/plans. So that would be future driven and having a strong drive/energy to keep moving and going forward.

What is your occupation and how do you like to spend your free time?

Occupation: Director Global Finance Operations P2P EMEA at Nike inc.
 Free time: travel, nature exploring like hiking & skiing. Love music, going to concerts with family and friends. I try to read more fiction and nonfiction to further expand my world and knowledge.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of having lived abroad, by myself, having to start from scratch. It has given me confidence and a great insight in the world. It made me even more independent, knowing I can do this all by myself.

What is your favourite poem, quote or saying?

“You are never too important to be nice to people.”
 “Be nice; in the end it will give you more joy in life and in the end that is how you want to remember others as well so why not do this as well.”

What advice would you give your 20-year old self looking back?

There is a great book called: The Midnight Library of Matt Haig that I wish I had read when I was in my twenties. It is about the choices one makes during life and how your life evolves after each choice and also what you leave behind.

One particular part of the book resonates the most:
 "It is not difficult to see yourself through the lens of other people, and to wish you were all the different kaleidoscopic versions of you they wanted you to be. It is easy to regret, and keep regretting, ad infinitum, until our time runs out. But it is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It's the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people's worst enemy. We can't tell if any of those other versions would have been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on". The Midnight library: Matt Haig.

When you entered your 50's, what did you find were the most significant or poignant changes?

In Dutch there is this saying: You have to do what you think is best, people will talk about it anyway.
 (Je moet doen wat je zelf wil want de mensen praten toch wel)

It is related to the 20-year advice actually. If it makes sense to you and it is good for you - do it.

Do you have a story about yourself that you would like to share? Something funny, wise or that you have overcome?

 Back in the days when I started working I was one of the few full time mothers (parents I prefer iso mother) in my children's classroom.
 It has been clear there always was this message, and people even told me directly in the face, that I was not available for my children because I was working full time.
 I never really understood that to be honest because at the same time I had to let go of a lot of personal things I would like to do. That was a personal choice for me and I did not understand why others were judging me on this. Now women are encouraged by the government to work full time. That is not gonna fix the issues and perceptions that are somehow embedded in our culture where it is simply not supported to work fulltime (expensive childcare , school hours and holiday's fixed). Lastly, as long as women still get less paid for the same job and responsibilities we should not talk about the fact that the women are supposedly princesses that do not want to work.

What are your thoughts on aging?

Aging is just there. You can ignore it but it still will be there. You can hide it, yes to a certain extent, but it is still there. Embrace it, live with it, love it.
 Having lost people my age already has made me realise we have to feel okay on aging, I never hide my age and am very open about it. It is nothing to be ashamed of but one should be very proud and happy to share!

Ageism is a real thing, especially with women and this campaign can help to change that perception!

Do you still have a dream or big goal that you would love to accomplish? What are the skills or things that you'd still love to learn?

 Big goals or small goals, as long as there is a goal or some kind of idea of what to achieve it is good. I'd really want to further expand my knowledge and share this regarding change and transformations in organizations. Other plans are to travel as much as possible to learn about other cultures and insights. In the end we are all here to be heard and understood and by going out and finding those opportunities it will make one grow.

Ellen Cornelisse, 52 - 0
Ellen Cornelisse, 52 - 1
Ellen Cornelisse, 52 - 2
Ellen Cornelisse, 52 - 3