We found her!
Actually, to be honest, she found us!
Two weeks ago today, my publisher, XPat Media, reached out to let me know that he'd heard from the lady in the photograph that made it to the cover of the Holland Handbook 2016/17.
A few days after that, and exactly 11 months after I snapped this photograph of her, I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person. And let me just say, she's even more impressive as a person, both personally and professionally than any photograph is capable of revealing.
Her name is Sarina Maat, and she's a corporate account manager, business developer and a marketing communications professional for more than a decade. In her work she strives to make positive impact, by building partnerships and by jointly with others carrying the torch for the global empowerment of women and other global challenges and working to make the world an even better place. The last four years she's working for the NGO CARE and Oxfam before that and after this summer she will be available for new opportunities. A happily married mother of two, she also sports two bicycles - one for her motherly duties with children seats, and the lighter faster second city bike I caught her on in the photo.
How did the meeting go? Well, you know how, when you meet someone who is amazingly incredible and you get engrossed in conversation with each other, and after when you think 20 or maybe 30 minutes has gone by, you realise with shock that three hours actually has gone by, and you can't believe it? It was very much like that.
We spent most of yesterday afternoon together at the offices of XPat Media, making introductions, telling our own personal backstories, share how all this transpired from our individual perspectives and talking about what happens next. The added bonus of course was - I really got the share all this incredible feedback and compliments about her and the photo with her. To be able to meet a complete stranger and say "It's finally nice to be able to meet you. A whole lot of people think you are beautifully 'typically dutch' and represent 'woman empowerment' only to have that person turn out to be someone who's professionally striving for making the world a more receptive place for woman empowerment - that is just WOW!!!!!!
In fact, during that meeting with Sarina, I decided then and there, I'm not done with this story. I've got more to discover about Sarina and share with a wider audience, and thankfully, Sarina delightfully agreed.
I hope in the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more about Sarina, more about how she found out she was on the cover of the Holland Handbook, and more about who she is, how she's out to change the world through working with corporations, foundations and social enterprises on the economic empowerment of women and other global challenges and eventually, I will reveal more on how she does everything on her bicycles. And also, for the first time ever, I'll give the essential low down, from the actual taking of the photo, tohow it had a hand in me deciding to leave my job in security of 20 years, and eventually lead to a book cover deal, and what my thoughts / views / plans to publish more in the future are.
In the meantime, if you think Sarina's photograph is awesome but you haven't liked it yet, why don't you welcome her to Haagse Fiets Chic by Liking her photograph and share her story with your friends.