I remember our first impression when she came to tershouse; a positive, energetic, independent woman who has the capacity to motivate everyone, without exception, and with the face of a Bosnian (as she herself noticed after her stay in BiH as everyone addressed her in Bosnian at first).
'I found out about the Erasmus program for Young Entrepreneurs through an acquaintance who was also part of the program and who, like me, runs her own business. I applied because I am someone who learns the most through observation and working with other people. When I heard about the program, I knew right away that I wanted to come to Bosnia and Herzegovina.'
She chose our country because, as she says, she is naturally attracted to complex states; both socially, historically, culturally, and BiH is certainly one of the first on the list. 'Also on a personal level, I was attracted to Bosnia and Herzegovina because I previously worked with Bosnian officials and I liked their directness and sense of humor. I thought; if I'm going to go somewhere abroad, to a society I don't completely understand, I at least want to be surrounded by people with whom I feel comfortable. I was introduced to tershouse through a friend of a friend of a friend, which is a great example of Bosnian helpfulness.'
Kelly is an independent Project and Program Manager, Facilitator and Adviser who helps individuals, teams and organizations in adaptation processes in the social impact field. All this as part of her business, which she symbolically named 'The Adaptation Company'. Her clients are organizations who need external support in order to make progress. “They knock on my door for various reasons; whether due to a challenge within a team, on the organizational level or on the programmatic level. I have the opportunity to work with companies from different contexts, but all of them add value to society with their work."
Since Kelly has experience working with different teams, I was interested in what she sees as the most pressing challenge. "I think the biggest challenge is to understand the people you work with; because it is interesting that we have instruction manuals for almost everything in the world, except for us humans. We have to discover each other’s way of working in the process. So it is important to me when I start working for a new organization to find out as much as possible about the people who work there. Their past, life journeys, what motivates them, what frustrates them, so that I can better understand who they are. Only when there is trust, will people open up to you and share with you things that need to be improved within the team, as well as things they are proud of."
According to Kelly's experience, teams can face different challenges. The most important thing is to reach a level where everyone feels safe and where they can share what they want and what they need, says Kelly. This requires a lot of effort on the part of the leader as well as the rest of the team members. "Because wherever there are people, there is conflict, and I don't look at it as something negative, but something that is necessary for the team to work through in order to grow."
The goal of the Erasmus program through which Kelly came to tershouse was mutual learning and the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences between the entrepreneur and the host company. "It is changing a bit but the Dutch tend to live to work. It’s a very Calvinistic approach to life and in BIH the situation is reversed. As far as I've been able to notice, you know how to enjoy life, and you might have a healthier approach to work than we do. Less stress, and you don't let work take over your life. Overall, I would say that the biggest lesson for me during the time spent here is learning about different cultural ways of working."