Meet the Board 2017 - 2018
Valerie van der Meulen-Sheppard - Chairman
I come from the Caribbean and grew up between the two islands of Barbados and Trinidad, where I was born. I’ve lived most of my life in Barbados, where I raised my family of five children. I married my Dutch husband Meindert in 2013 and Holland became my home, after having lived all my life in the tropical Caribbean islands. I have, however, travelled extensively and love meeting and getting to know people from different countries and cultures.
My work experience was in the field of executive administration and human resource management within regional Caribbean organizations. I started singing at an early age, performing on radio, television and stage in amateur musical shows over the years. I’m an Honorary Member of the Barbados Polo Club and enjoy the sport as a spectator. My interests are in the creative arts and history, and my leisure time is spent in painting, photography, video editing, recording family history and singing in a choir. I also enjoy using social media as a great way of staying closely connected with my family and friends abroad and sharing with them my new way of life here in Europe.
Through the IWC I have explored so much of Holland and made many new friends. I appreciate all that the club has to offer and enjoy being able to give back the warm welcome that was extended to me. In 2014, I became Vice-Chairman of the Board and in May 2017 have become Chairman of the Board. I've found it fulfilling and rewarding to be able to work alongside other members of the Board in running the club. I serve on the Multimedia Team, with particular responsibility for the IWC's website, Facebook and YouTube channel.
Liselotte Roug Odhnoff - Vice-Chairman
I am of Danish-Swedish origin but grew up on the Caribbean island of Dominica. I have a PhD in Phonetics from Stockholm University and worked as a researcher there for many years. More recently, I administered a small consultancy firm of my own, providing translation and text editing in Danish, Swedish and English.
I am married to Petter and we have three adult children, Charlotta, Lovisa and Gustav. I have a deep love for classical music, especially from the baroque era and I sing in Het Amsterdams Gemengd Koor. I also enjoy many sports as well as embroidery, sculpturing and yoga.
As we plan to stay on in Holland, I have taken on the challenge of learning Dutch and getting to know the Dutch way-of-life. The warm and welcoming members and the friendly ambience of the IWC has played an important role in me feeling at home in this new home country.
Angie Funk - Membership Officer
I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan in the USA but spent later years on the west coast, both in Southern California and Seattle. My husband and I had our first overseas expat experience in Shanghai, China and I found the expat clubs there to be a real lifeline. Therefore, I made sure to join the IWC immediately upon arrival in Amsterdam and have been delighted to find the most wonderful community of interesting people who have made the past 3 1/2 years here very special.
I've enjoyed my participation in the Lunchtime Book Group, the weekly IWC yoga classes, the Antique Diva Outings as well as the regular club outings, and the canasta group. I am also a member of the mahjong group and became its coordinator two years ago. The IWC has been very welcoming to me and I hope to in turn pass on that feeling of camaraderie and welcoming to others.
My career started as a Restaurant Manager, and over a 15 year span I moved into Hotel Management, Residential Property Management and the Relocation Business, both as a Regional Manager and later a Marketing Director. More recently, I was a Strategic Account Manager for a Customer Experience Analytics company. I still worked full time when I first arrived, but lately I have been thoroughly enjoying the only time in my life when I have not worked.
My interests include art history, film, yoga, mahjong, learning about other cultures and travel.
Jeanette van den Broek - Treasurer
I was born in Amsterdam and studied languages in Lausanne, Cologne, Bournemouth and Florence. I lived and worked in Italy in a holiday resort in Riva del Garda for 3 years, then managed a hotel for 5 years in Germany. In between I also managed drugstores. For the greater part of my life I was involved in the travel business, training hostesses, contracting hotels and apartments for the Dutch market and managing travel agencies.
Now I am retired and enjoy my free time by traveling, playing bridge, golf, skiing and being a member of the IWC Amsterdam since 1998. I joined the board in 2005; first as Publicity Officer, Treasurer, and Extra Board Member. I am the Treasurer, as well as a member of the Multimedia Team, Newsletter Editor and Open Door Coordinator.
Kim Colman - Public Relations Officer
I was born and raised in South Africa. My background has been in sales and customer services, having owned and operated my own business there. Despite this, I felt that I wanted to be able to achieve more from a different aspect, regarding the well-being of others. I have always been involved with people and enjoy this interaction. This has led me down a path to search for ways that would enable me to assist and heal others on a more personal level. After a few years of studies in various modalities, I became a qualified reflexologist and a practitioner of Quantum-Touch and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). I am a stress management coaching and counselling professional as well as a counsellor for children and adolescents.
When I was living in Johannesburg, I served as a volunteer with the Randburg South African Police Service in their Trauma Unit. This unit assists with all trauma-related incidents as well as responding to crime scenes.
I moved to the Netherlands with my husband and daughter at the end of 2011 and just love living in Amsterdam. Being a member of the IWC has certainly helped me to settle into a new way of life in The Netherlands and has enriched this experience tremendously.
Serena van Osta - Programme Officer
I moved to Amsterdam, after living in the countryside near Paris. Prior to my move to Europe, I lived in Southern California and the San Francisco area. I felt immediately at home in Amsterdam and felt no culture shock whatsoever. Only two months after moving to Amsterdam, I joined IWC.
I am married to a Belgian and it is my intent to learn Dutch so I can better integrate with my Belgian family and new friends here in The Netherlands. I love the true international culture of Amsterdam and IWC is a natural and valuable extension of that experience.
At an early age I was given the book Children of Many Lands by a beloved Aunt and this started my journey to this place. As my parents learned early on, I wander but that doesn't mean I am lost. I believe learning about and experiencing new peoples and cultures leads to understanding and empathy.
My work experience has been in the fields of trade show, event and course planning in the fields of medical devices, non-profits and technology. I am interested in the arts, music, theater, books, travel, authentic costume making and having new experiences. We dress in authentic 18th century period costumes at least once per year and attend balls at Versailles. This includes learning period dances
and being familiar with 18th century music and customs.
Through the IWC I hope to explore and make a meaningful contribution. Thank you for the kind welcome and happiness to all.
Jane Armstrong - Activities Officer
I was born in England but grew up in Australia so am fortunate to hold passports from two wonderful countries. In 2006 my husband and then two small children relocated to Hong Kong with my husband's work.
After seven years there we moved to Singapore and then to South Korea. Twelve years after leaving Australia we feel very fortunate to have settled into Amsterdam.
I really enjoy living in such a vibrant city and try to take advantage of all the many activities and events on offer. I joined the IWC shortly after arriving and instantly felt very welcome. I enjoy the weekly walks and mahjong together with the monthly dinners and outings.
I am very happy to take on the role of Activities Officer and welcome any suggestions you may have for future activities.
Sue Knight - Secretary
I am from Sydney, Australia and have been living in the Netherlands with my husband since 2016. We have previously lived in Vienna and Shanghai.
Previously, I worked in the Public Sector for ten years, before spending more than fifteen years in the insurance industry in various management roles. I hold a Master of Management (Personal Injury) degree.
My husband and I have two adult sons who live and work in Sydney. I enjoy travelling and exploring new places, history and genealogy.
Amsterdam is a great place to live, and since joining the IWC, I have enjoyed meeting new people and finding many new things to see and do both in Amsterdam and throughout The Netherlands.