About me

Thanks for stopping by.

Who I am? Well, my LinkedIn profile more or less says that I am a versatile critical thinker and creative tinkerer who is into bioethics and inclusivity and has an earth & life science background.

I am based in Britain, a country that is often totally off-the-charts nuts in many respects. Sorry folks, but Brexit also illustrates this perfectly well, although I am still hoping that it will eventually cause a shift toward the positive and the better.

I have previously lived in the United States and hail from the Netherlands. I’ve spent most of my adult life in vibrant Amsterdam, where I was a member of the Amsterdam-American Business Club (AABC).

It was at its first Dutch-American Friendship event where I met Lencola Sullivan (a world-class public speaker and singer, as I later found out) who introduced me to Toastmasters of The Hague.

At a Berenschot workshop on cultural differences, I chatted with Pinkney Froneberger; we discovered that we were both members of the AABC. Later, Pinkney and I were business partners for a while and we spent part of election night 2004 at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, where I enjoyed a few Thanksgiving dinners as well.

I moved to England at the end of 2004.

In 2017, I published the first version of my book “We need to talk about this“, then doubled the number of pages in the much better version that I produced in 2018. The book deals with the new eugenics and related topics. That’s part of bioethics.

A bit of Background

Photo taken for my university ID in early 1994.

I went to university relatively late in life. I initially worked in tourism and hospitality in Amsterdam, then quit my job and enrolled in earth sciences when I was in my mid-twenties, to become a geologist and marine biogeochemist. Most women my age were starting to have babies or were already well into their careers.

Doing fieldwork in Sweden. The year was 1989, I think. I lost that coffee thermos at the end of 2010. I may have bought it in 1978, when I went to Leiden University.

After I got my Master’s, I moved to the United States to do a PhD. That’s a long story. My goal was to be a professor with my own top-notch marine biogeochemistry group. I let go of that when I was in my mid-forties because I was enjoying working for myself and learning a lot from it.

I became self-employed in Amsterdam in 1997, working with an international network of associates for clients ranging from universities and university scientists, mining companies and high-end consultancies to publishers and start-ups from all over the world.

In addition to being a sole trader, I am a Company Director, for a Company that isn’t active at the moment (Angelina Souren Ltd).

I am a former board member of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society as well as former editor-in-chief of its newsletter and yearbook, a former member of the board and of various committees of NIMF (a Dutch foundation for women in science and technology), and former associate editor of the newsletter of the US-based but internationally operating Geochemical Society.

At the end of 2004, I relocated to the United Kingdom. One reason for my relocation was that the air in the UK is cleaner. Depending on the exact location, there is generally a lot less fine dust in the air here. It was my intention to stay here a few years, and then move back to the States.

I am a feminist. I believe that women are fully fledged humans, not “flawed” or “defective” males. Not a lesser kind of human. Does this mean that I am free from prejudices? Of course not. We all have them. They once started out as biological defence mechanisms. These days, they are more like urban myths and fake news, often created for political gains.

I do creative stuff as well. You can find me on Zazzle (I only get a tiny commission on sales), Etsy and Pinterest and I’ve  written some entertaining flash fiction.

A fun fact about me? I once flew a small aircraft – an Aero Subaru Fuji FA200 – for a few moments, long before I learned how to start a car. Also, I’ve had blue, pink and turquoise hair a few times.

That’s me with my alto sax at a rehearsal in Bristol in 2009. I looked a lot better than I sounded! (Partly owing to a turquoise-coloured fibre deftly stuck onto the pad of my A, that day.) My grey-white hair was dyed; this was before I became allergic to various synthetic hair dyes and before I started using a great (French) henna brand.

 

The rehearsals were for this event:

 

Footnote about my interest in bioethics and inclusivity:
After I moved to Britain, I found myself severely hampered by a host of stigmas. About being over 35, about being a foreigner, about being a woman, about being single, about being educated, about being perceived as lying about that professional background, about being too enthusiastic and too confident (hence too “loud”), and so on and so forth. This was a completely new experience for me and it taught me a lot.

I was physically attacked in Southampton, where too many people found it normal to attack random strangers, and I became instantly bullied and sabotaged in Portsmouth, where too many people simply hate everybody else, particularly if those other people seem happy and content, and even more so if those people are women who are perceived as “not knowing their place”. It’s damaged and restricted both my personal and my professional life immensely. I am constantly on edge these days, often angry or scared and wary of people, and usually looking pretty haggard as a result.

By the way, this is one of the most inspiring and supportive statements I’ve ever come across, and it tells me, that I am far from alone in this:

 

For example, my home gets broken into a lot, just for fun, and I never know what I am going to find when I come back after I left my place for more than about two hours. If you go to this page and read it all, you’ll see some examples of other stuff that’s been going on (and I only mention a few examples!) and that explains why I am often on edge these days. I do manage to rise above it from time to time – and that is key! – but I am merely human and I have my limits.

Bullying is one of the parts of British culture that I least like and least understand. British humour is mostly about pushing someone – which can be any random stranger – off the stairs and laughing when the person breaks each of his or her legs as a result. I don’t get it.

I have often been stunned by the level of cruelty/callousness in British society. I’ve been baffled by the lack of respect for the (human and regular legal) rights of other people and absence of mutual human respect that I’ve witnessed. I finally began to see that Britain is still held back by what happened here in the 19th-century (Victorian prudishness, the habit of talking in riddles, and the teachings of callously calculating utilitarianism).

People in countries that rank very low on masculinity on Hofstede’s scale – like the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark – tend to have much better lives and be much happier. Their societies are more egalitarian, more focused on cooperation and on true democracy.

Kindness is a not a weakness that only fools engage in. Education should be available to everyone, not restricted to the happy few.

It is not on to keep a large group of the British population, including many with chronic illnesses and disabilities, deliberately in deep poverty so that the government can milk and manipulate these groups to balance its books (and this is not exclusive to Britain’s Tory governments, but is structural).

It is not on that tens of thousands of people die in Britain every winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, but that wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few people who are mostly based in London, while about one third of the country’s population lives in poverty.

Many Brits seem obsessed with holding each other back and making each other as miserable as possible. But if just about everyone in Britain feels that he or she can only be happy when everybody else is miserable, then Britain is doomed by definition! A successful life is not about beating everyone else. In fact, being selfish contributes negatively to your income over time (see video below).

A first step? Stop gossiping. Stop making stuff up about people you don’t even know. Stop believing in gossip. Stop spreading gossip. Stop this:

(GOSSIP | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary)

gossip definition:
1. conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true

Breathe and let breathe.

PS
If you’re British and you don’t recognize any of the above, about Britain, then please remain exactly the way you are because it probably means that you are one of the people Britain so desperately needs!