Co-founder of TEN – a networking community for entrepreneurial women that started in Amsterdam and is now going global. From working in a start-up, to starting her own, her journey is one that shows how connection, creativity and community can lead to great things.

24 Oct 2023

Olaf Hussein

Hi Nathalie. What were you doing pre-TEN? How did that lead to starting the community?

I first worked at fashion brand Daily Paper after I studied at Academie Artemis where I specialized in Strategy & Creative Concepting for fashion, interior and media. What was nice was that I got the option to work with a business coach there. I really enjoyed that also because I wasn’t really being taught about the organisational part. I think for myself as a person I am quite organised and I love organising projects so it is something I like to do but it’s not something I studied, especially business wise. It’s a whole different game. So that was really nice to have someone. She is a really inspiring woman who really had more of an experienced big sister type of role. She was able to lead the way a bit more for me. She was also the one who told me to get out there and go network, which was something that I really wanted to do but I really didn’t know where. Three years ago in Amsterdam there were many events in the creative industry but they were more focused on PR and brand type of events. I really felt like there wasn’t a place that was about the people in it and the type of connection. I felt really disconnected when I went to several events. That’s when the pandemic came and I decided to set up my own network.

I had the mission to bring women together because I thought it was interesting to see how we could support each other in that way. I think it’s just a really beautiful thing to have women come together in one space as well. I wanted to have deep connections, meaningful conversations, to support each other, inspire each other, and also share knowledge. I started a closed Instagram account, invited my own network and asked everybody to invite ten other women to the group. I think it worked because a lot of women liked the idea that they were also part of it. A lot of women were really eager to invite other people as well. It grew quite fast right from the beginning. Then I also met my business partner through the network which was really nice.


Founder of TEN Women and ambitious entrepreneur with a creative background and proven track record in managing projects from concept to completion. Developing business models, (marketing) strategies and coaching individuals effectively. Known for being a realistic optimist with an open-minded growth mindset.

It was through you inviting people that you ended up meeting her?

Exactly yeah. She was in that closed account. She reached out to me and we decided to organise events together. We clicked so well that I really felt like it was just way more fun to do it together than just by myself. We share the same vision and I think it’s really unique to find someone in that way.

A perfect example of the power of networking!

It’s super funny - we’re the living example of what you can get out of TEN. We didn’t even realise it in the beginning. We organised many different events from that moment on and we grew into TEN later on.

TEN tells women that “it’s time to step into your power”. What does that mean to you? When do you feel at your most powerful?

I think for everybody stepping into your power can have a different meaning. I think it’s letting go of the things that are holding you back. It’s tapping into the knowledge that is already around you by surrounding yourself with the right people who have the knowledge that you are attracted to and who also want to share that knowledge with you. People who are on the same path in wanting to grow into the best version of themselves. There’s a Harvard study that says that you become like the 5 people that you surround yourself with. I think it’s interesting because I feel that it doesn’t matter what type of studies you’ve done, it really depends on a certain mindset and who you surround yourself with. And I guess that’s also the answer I have for myself – when I surround myself with inspiring people, inspiring women, it definitely gives me a feeling of power and wealth.

Your membership is open to anyone who “believes in the power of feminine energy”. Tell us more.

We’ve always had a focus on women and we often get asked who the platform is available to. We said feminine energy because we actually don’t want to limit it to a gender, but also have the focus on the fact that being in your feminine energy is really powerful as well. You can draw a lot of strength from being in your feminine energy. It depends on your industry but there is a big stigma around being vulnerable, for instance. It’s seen as weak, while I can see that it’s really your power. That’s what we really mean by “in your feminine energy”. We really believe in that and we also want to attract people in our community who stand behind that.

TEN is open to entrepreneurial women from all creative backgrounds. Can you talk about the mix of profiles of your members?

It started out in the creative industry because that’s mostly where my own network was. We narrowed it down and made it into a niche for us. But the longer we were working on TEN, the more we realised that we didn’t want to be limited to only the creative industry. You have so many women with the same spirit who also want to be connected to each other and also feel like they can share their knowledge. It’s actually really nice to have someone talk about finance or generational wealth, which is a totally different topic to what the creative industry is used to or ever has a connection with. We believe it’s super nice to bring these two worlds together. It’s important to learn from that side as well even if maybe it’s not your first interest. We believe in the cross over of different industries. That’s what we realised later on and that’s why we opened it up a bit more. We focus on women with an entrepreneurial spirit, so it could be that you’re working somewhere and want to start a side hustle or eventually work for yourself. Or if you’re in a leading position, that also really fits within our community. The industries are quite broad.

Can you give an example of how you foster human connections through creativity at your events?

Human connection is what we focus most on at our events. The creative thing is something that we sometimes implement but you don’t need to be creative in that sense. For instance, we’ve sometimes hosted ceramics workshops and shared with people that it’s just to get their inner child out and be playful. Not to focus on making something super professional. We added a twist that they had to create a ceramic for someone else – like the person sitting in front of them. Which is fun because they’re then trying to get to know another person and what they like.

Do you have any personal creative practices? Either that feed into your professional work or maybe allow you an escape?

I used to always really love to draw but it’s something I don’t do often anymore. I think in general being creative and working with your hands is something that a lot of people really enjoy but forget to do because you get caught up in all the other things you have to do. That’s what led us to do creative workshops at our events -sometimes you just need to plan that moment. I don’t think a lot of people would easily say, “OK, tonight after dinner I’m going to sit and draw.” I try to sometimes but it’s really easy to get caught up in other things or maybe watch a movie, which is also nice, but it’s not really feeding into your creativity. I think it’s really healthy to do it also.

Maybe you’ll be inspired to do a bit more drawing now! Moving from creativity to culture – TEN has done a few international events now. How does the different cultural setting feed into the experience? Do you feel like each country creates a different vibe for the meet ups?

It’s something that we find super important and that’s why we work with local women when we go to other countries. We really believe it’s a synergy. We bring our concept of finding connection with one another, which is kind of universal – you don’t need language to find a connection with someone. But, of course, there are many different cultural ways of interacting. For instance, in New York people are really outspoken, whereas in Holland, people are more introverted. Our local teams are very valuable to us as they understand what works best.

So, events are tailored to your location?

Yep, and I think this is also something that we want to explore more in the future, to see how we can more specifically tap into the different cultures that we enter.

Do you have a story from an event that stands out as encapsulating what TEN is all about?

It’s difficult to describe only one! I think for Luca and I, any event is really rewarding to us. We both feel really grateful for the gratitude we get from the women who join us because they have felt a connection with someone. We’ve researched that and it’s a basic human need to have these connections. A lot of us don’t even realise how disconnected we all are.

Finally, what are your hopes for the future of TEN?

We want to build our network internationally but also outside the western world because we really want to see how we can connect women globally!

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