Gyzlene Kramer-Zeroual, 33, took about eight years to complete her Master’s degree, since all sorts of entrepreneurial activities kept her from writing her thesis for a long time. However, she is now a team coach and programme manager with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, a mother and the proud owner of a company and foundation of her own.

Age: 33

Study and year of graduation: Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Economics (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), graduated in 2006; Master’s degree in Management of Change (RSM), graduated in 2014.

Current position: Team coach and programme manager with the Rotterdam Academy, which is part of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. With her own company, called iCoachTalent, she coaches teams and individuals and helps them change and acquire twenty-first-century skills. She also has her own foundation, Share a Smile, through which she seeks to help underprivileged children in her country of origin, Morocco, acquire a decent education.

Career development: Before landing her current job, she was a marketing manager and model and undertook all sorts of marketing activities for Hoda Magazine.

Motto: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ (Gandhi)

www – fotoGyzlene2

What I learned from my Master’s degree

“People approach the world from their own perspective of reality, which is neither good nor bad. If you wish to make progress with people whose realities are different from your own, you must find the common ground rather than focussing on the differences. This insight changed my view of the world, and I was able to apply it at once to my work as a management-of-change coach.”

Being successful

“Success comes from working your arse off and not giving up when things don’t go your way. Essentially, it is about surrounding yourself with the right people, then taking the initiative yourself. I’ve always been fortunate in that I always did the right things in the right places, with the right people. They pushed me in the right direction, or introduced me to people who could help me along. I’m now in a position where I can do the same for others.”


“My coach gave me the following piece of advice: ‘Your strength can only flourish if you choose to focus on one thing.’ Which is easier said than done, because it means saying ‘no’ and making choices. I’ve really had to work on mastering that for the last few years. The birth of my daughter made making choices easier, because she is my No. 1 priority. I now accept that I have other priorities at this stage of my life. In order to minimise the number of choices I have to make each day, I lead a simple life. For instance, my wardrobe is mostly made up of grey, white and black clothes – all practical colours, which makes it less stressful for me to choose my clothes in the morning. This leaves me with more energy for the rest of the day.”

In Morocco

“A little while ago, I went to the south of Morocco with students of the Rotterdam Academy to establish a multi-media centre at a school. Many children in this region have never worked with a computer, which puts them at a great disadvantage in this computer-run world. We must grant them the opportunity, because each child who does so can pass his or her skills on to the rest of the family. We are also making the school a safer place, so that parents can send their daughters there as well as their sons. At the moment the girls are often kept at home to protect them, even though educated girls are major role models, in their capacities as daughters, sisters and future mothers.”