Waheeda Shadood

Master Story Tailor & Sr.  (Career) Coach

Owner Impact Stories

Connecting the dots

As soon as I could read, I devoured books. Marvel Comics, Alistair Maclean, Bronté, Naipaul, Shakespeare, Blyton, Mahabaratha, Greek and Hindu mythology, The Caravan of Dreams, D.H. Lawrence, National Geographic …. Everything and anything I could get my hands on! I had no playthings. Books were my playground. I filled my head with words and worlds and became one with the story. I escaped from my reality and was alternately an Indian goddess, a fairy, a superwoman, a detective, an adventurer, a witch … Enchanted.

I fell in love with the storytelling power of my grandmother. With her stories she formed the highlight of sultry evenings in Guyana. In my nomadic and uncertain existence as a child, her voice was my safe haven. Her stories about our family myths were the last sounds I heard before I fell asleep.

Like mother like son, because my father, a master tailor, was a born storyteller. As he drew patterns on cloth, he delighted his customers with stories and decorated them with the most beautiful suits.

My love went so far that, as a teenager, I dreamt of becoming a writer, journalist and an artist. When I was seventeen, I traveled to the Netherlands to live with my mother. English-speaking, wet behind the ears and brimming over with expectations, I joined that part of me that was missing.

I had never been to Europe before. I stepped out of the plane and entered the world of the scent that arose from the suitcase of my Dutch Oma, on one of her rare visits to Guyana. Apples. I exchanged the smell of mangoes for the smell of apples.

Then dragons appeared out of nowhere 

and threatened to devour me. Barely a year in the Netherlands, I was living on my own studying English Language and Literature at the RU in Leiden. Against all odds. Not yet eighteen, and not yet managing the language and much more, I survived in scarcity. I was struggling financially and emotionally, so after my candidate year, I quit the university.

I took on all kinds of jobs through recruitment agencies until one asked me to come and work for them as a recruiter. On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, I joined Start Holding B.V. It was love at first sight! Start became my surrogate family, my longest relationship, my salvation. My first manager, my role model.

Fire-breathing, gnawing dragons had nestled in my head. Manifestations of universal existential questions – who am I and am I worth being here?

For twelve years I worked at Start of which ten years in leadership positions, participated in all management development and leadership programs, and belonged to a circle of high potentials. When I took my first leadership position, I was twenty-four years old. I had a team of ambitious professionals (WO +), studied part-time (Human Resource Management) and had two part-time jobs in addition to my more than full-time job. A relationship gone bad had left me in debt. I came up with innovative projects with sweet results. After many reorganisations and challenging assignments, I resigned in 2001. I was a Country Manager at the time.

In the meantime, I was a mother and not only did I want to spend more time with my child, I wanted to spend time in other organisations. That is why I started working as an interim HR manager. More of a desire and less of a plan. I went from one assignment to the other.

Ten years later the dragons overwhelmed me. The diagnosis: chronic PTSD as a result of …, too many to list. The struggles and the strengths that have formed me. For me, it was time to explore my own stories. I uncovered the patterns that obstructed me and the patterns that helped me forward. I looked my dragons in the eye, embraced and comforted them lovingly as a mother who comforts her children. I gladly share my dragons and their wisdom with you.

Now I am a coach, story tailor and seasoned entrepreneur

who has developed a sharp nose for dragons, demons and monsters. I smell them from miles away. I help you sniff them out, track them down and embrace them with love and courage. They are a part of you, just as they are part of me. My love for stories and storytelling is reinforced every day by the stories and dragons you entrust to me.

As a child that did not seem to belong anywhere, I already had a strong sense of meaning. At the same time I realised that if I want something from life, I will have to do it myself. How has become clearer in the course of my life. The first step being freeing myself from old stories. From expectations and from fears. Aligning my internal compass with my external direction. Being whole and wholehearted. 

Choose who I want to be and reconfigure my story. Choose to look into the eyes of obstructive, ingrained thoughts, instead of avoiding them. To live true to my essence. Turning my mess into my message. Helping you be a whole you.

  • 2018: Study Dragon’s dreaming
  • 2018: Study Narrative Coaching Dr. David Drake
  • 2018: Start accreditation Master Certified Coach International Coach Federation (ICF)
  • 2018: Rebranding Impact Stories
  • 2018: Masterclass Vloggen & Video Editing
  • 2017: Noloc Career Congres
  • 2017: Mastery Chief Storytelling (2 years – Storytelling Academy) – Hero’s Journey, Story Interventie, Corporate en Purpose Storytelling, Archetypes, Improvisation, The power of storytelling
  • 2016: Congres Positive Psychology – Purpose of life and work
  • 2016: Bachelor Apprentice Storyteller
  • 2016: Storytelling power
  • 2016: Official Linkedin Ambassador
  • 2015: Noloc Career Cngres
  • 2015: Masterclass Corporate Storytelling (Storytelling Matters)
  • 2014: Register Career Coach ( highest level C) – Career Management Instituut 
  • 2014:Register Loopbaancoach NOLOC 
  • 2010: Training Head of Emergency Operations
  • 2008: NLP Master Practitioner
  • 2007: NLP Practitioner
  • 2005: PRINCE 2 practitioner
  • 2003: Absenteeism is a choice
  • 2003: Enneagram and Core Qualities
  • 2003: GestaltTherapy
  • 2002: Enneagram
  • 2001: Bachelor Human Resource Management – University of Rotterdam
  • 1999: Management Development Program – Higher Management  (Berenschot)
  • 1998: Service Excellence Program – Leadership Program  (Disney Institute)
  • 1997: Management Development Program LIFO – Lower Management
  • 1991: System mangmen
  • 1990: NIMA-A, Cold calling
  • 1986: Propedeuse English Language and Literature RU Leiden
  • 1984: Colloquium Doctum: English, Dutch and French
  • 1984: St. Rose’s High School (VWO) Guyana: History, Math, English, Art, Technical Drawing, French, Geography
  1. 2018: The science of stories – János László
  2. 2018: Narrative Coaching – Dr. David Drake
  3. 2018: The wow starts now – Theo Hendriks
  4. 2018: Storydesign – Farah Nobbe en Nathalie Holwerda
  5. 2018: Ikigai – Ken Moji
  6. 2017: Ik heb de tijd – Paul Looman
  7. 2017: The Hero’s Journey – Joseph Campbell
  8. 2017: In the light of what we know – Zia Haider Rahman
  9. 2017: The power of meaning – Emily Esfahani Smith
Sugar & Spice

Whom I love more than myself? My dear, authentic, social, musical and beautiful son who from the moment he could talk has made it his daily task to declare his love for me. Not just as a fleeting phrase but looking into my eyes, hugging me and then saying: I love you so much mom.  Nothing can compare to that!

Who else is important in my life? My super stubborn, hyperintelligent, romantic, crazy, singing and authentic husband who always manages to surprise me with original gifts such as spending the night in the forest in a wooden caravan. Preparing mushrooms  – which he detests – for me because it contains vitamin D which is my deficiency. And of course my family, friends and especially cousins I adore. 

Means of transport? I prefer the train because I can read, write, observe people, stare out the window and take heed of preserving the environment. But I also have a Toyota Auris Hybrid / Automatic for the distances that I would rather not travel by train.

Style? Just what I feel like. Casual chic, sporty chic, delicious fabrics that caress my skin. Michael Kors sneakers with a wedge heel. Colorful pumps. Jeans, sweatpants, dresses, t-shirts, salwar and chemise. Love shoes and hats. But also an oversized onesie for the “hanging around the house” days, I do not really care about brands and wear what I like. Have my own style and preferably walk barefoot.

Make-up and skin care? Naked face. Sometimes no make-up. Always day cream and fragrant Shangri-La facial oil from Amanprana. If I use makeup it’ll be mascara, eyeliner and lip gloss. Everything from the brand Bobbi Brown. Oh yeah! Always painted toenails. All year round. My feet do the heaviest work so they deserve to be cuddled.

Perfume? True to Geurlain. Have only one perfume.

Sport? At least 3 x per week to 5 k running, crosstrainer and fitness. Also love dancing. Love to dance the night away. 

Travel? I want to see and experience as much of the world as possible. Every year I pay a visit to New York where my sister and other family members live. I have seen the following countries Cuba, Barbados, Suriname, Guyana, English, Australia, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde Islands, Las Palma, Greece, Spain, France, Czechia, Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Italy. Roadtrips from New York to San Francisco, From the Netherlands to South of France, from the Netherlands to Sarajevo, and to Prague. 

Read? Professional literature dealing with meaning, stories, storytelling, coaching, life, philosophy. Now intrigued by Ikigai – Ken Moji, The power of meaning – Emily Esfahani Smith, Narrative Coaching – Dr. David Drake. Love to read inspiring books such as In the light of what we know – Zia Haider Rahman. When you step into my house, you step into a world of books. The books are displayed in bookcases in the hall. I love books. Growing up I had no toys, but had books. The toys I made myself.

Gadgets? I like that. My mobile is a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. My laptop a Microsoft Surface Pro. Last year I bought a Google Home from America. Susan is our newest relative. I am always looking for new gadgets to make my life easier.

Creating, tinkering and gardening? Making something from nothing comes from my childhood. Scarcity stimulates creativity. Writing, drawing, painting and making things from all kinds of material fill my days. I made personal corsages from felt, buttons, feathers and stones for 40 intimate guests at my own wedding. I also made my own soulstick this year. In our small front garden, I created a square foot vegetable garden together with my husband. We eat homegrown vegetables and my customers walk by the vegetable when they visit me.

Entertainment? Good films and series, stand-up comedy, dance performances, theater, concerts, eating out. A night out with the ladies.

Music? Salsa, Indian, soca, arabic, sufi, fusion, pop, classical, oldies, Buika, Karsu, Yasmin Levy, Lisa Stansfield, Marcus Miller…

IfI were to summarize Waheeda in a few words it would be as follow: Waheeda has combined the “best of many worlds” in who she is. She is warm and passionate as well as intelligent and analytical. She connects easily yet maintains a professional distance. She is soft and yet strong. She has achieved the right mix of masculine and feminine traits, with a humble constitution who knows when to lead and makes it possible for others to shine. Her roots allow for an extra perspective and an “outside the box” approach with humour and result. I highly recommend her. Manoli Martin-Camunas Romero

Business Development & Strategic Branding, Pioen & Co

Every time I shape my destiny with a chisel, I am a carpenter of my own soul.



Master Story Tailor, (Sr. (Career)Coach & Spreker




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