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Paul Donkers

"I've always been fascinated by companies, teams and it's people. At my deepest level I want to assist organisations create value, while helping them to navigate through the big challenges of our time: disruption, digitization and sustainability."

I think that successful companies in this market are the ones who are able to reinvent their business models, embrace digitization and work sustainably. And who are serious about it!

I work on the execution & people side of strategy. I walk the talk. For our clients, for our firm and for myself. My approach is entrepreneurial. I help unlock purpose. And then translate this into strategy and execution. I connect the hard and soft side of management. Trying out innovative approaches and their application. 

In my view, executive behavior always needs to be connected to the businessplan. I always try to be hard on the matter, but soft on the people.

My career started as General Manager for a Fortune 500 company. I felt fortunate for the chance to work as intrapreneur in those early years. I wasn't even 30 at the time! A steep learning curve and my, sort of, real life MBA. 

Early 2000, I introduced a New York based consulting firm in The Netherlands. I built it organically from scratch into the profitable market leader in a decade. I always had full bottom-line financial, commercial and operational responsibility in my corporate years for more then a decade.

Early 2009, I took a leap of faith and did a start-up. Despite the difficult economic conditions, I felt it was time for me to make a bold move and take a new direction. But I needed to execute my own plan this time ... so, I reinvented myself from intrapreneur to entrepreneur. I learned first hand what it takes to work as a line management executive in the corporate world. To have success, get things done and to make my share of mistakes. In the last 10 years, I learned what it really means to create and build a new company.

I continue to develop myself through informal and formal eduction. I read books weekly, listen to podcasts, and I travel & work worldwide. Every few years I step out of my own bubble and I go back to school to deep dive in topics that I believe will be relevant for our clients in the next years. In 2019, I took a deep dive into eco-systems and platform companies. I think that this will play a key role for many of our clients in the years ahead.

With every mission I learn more about our clients, their business and what keeps them really awake at night. This helps my every time we start with new missions and clients. 

My experience as independent entrepreneur ànd as corporate executive enable me to be a soundboard for our clients. As coach, consultant, speaker, trainer, writer and facilitator.

My wife and I live with our two teenage daughters in Breda, in the southwest corner of The Netherlands. Which is centrally located in the Benelux area. An hour from Amsterdam, an hour from Brussels and two hours from Düsseldorf. With direct fast train acces (60 mins.) to Amsterdam Schiphol and Brussels airport. 

I'm a hobby chef, enjoy slow food that is produced with respect for nature, the outdoors, many types of music and reading non-fiction.

Very happy to connect via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via social media channels.

International Experience
  • Founding partner of tèn company, with a global client portfolio.
  • Working in the Global LHH Organization in a senior management role from 1999 - 2009.
  • Working as General Manager for LHH in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg between 2006 - 2009.
  • Languages: Dutch mother-tongue. English full professional proficiency. French & German advanced. Basic understanding of Italian and Spanish.

Corporate experience
  • Initiated and launched American Human Resources consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison in The Netherlands in 1999 as intrapreneur. Served as it's General Manager from 2000 - 2006
  • General Manager LHH Belgium, LHH The Netherlands and LHH Luxemburg from 2006 - 2009
  • Member of Executive Committee of the parent company of LHH, The Adecco Benelux group from 2006 - 2009 (size: 1 billion € in revenue)
  • Member of European leadership team of Lee Hecht Harrison

Lifelong learning
  • MIT Sloan Executive Program. Platform Strategy: building and thriving in a vibrant ecosystem (Cambridge, Boston, USA, 2019)
  • Harvard Business School Executive Program. Leading your small business through it's lifecycle. (Harvard, Boston, USA, 2014)
  • Personal Directions™ from Management Research Group (Dublin 2013)
  • Hogan Dark Side Assessment™ from Hogan Assessment Systems Inc. (London 2012)
  • Sales Performance Assessment™ from Management Research Group (Dublin 2012)
  • Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Marshall Goldsmith Institute/Prism (Salt Lake City, USA, March 2011)
  • Management Research Group ( 360 degree Strategic Leadership Development, (London, UK, september 2009)
  • LHH (various trainings in delivery & sales worldwide between 1999 - 2008)
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (Brussels, Belgium, 2002)
  • SHL, Occupational Personality Questionnaire (Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1999)
  • Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Human Resources & Services, graduation in 1995, cum laude, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Honors and awards
  • Global coaching leadership award, World Coaching Congress, Mumbai, India, February 2016
  • President's award for Exceptional team performance in 2004 (strategic team sale & delivery to Sara Lee worldwide) from Lee Hecht Harrison Worldwide, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  • President's award for Exceptional Performance by a General Manager in 2001 from Lee Hecht Harrison Worldwide, Naples, Florida, USA
  • 2nd prize Thierry award for best Thesis from Catholic University Brabant in Tilburg, The Netherlands in 1999


IKIGAI™ Card Game October 2017. Unique Card game to help people identify their purpose, their IKIGAI™. Currently translated into Dutch, English and Japanese. More languages will follow. More information about this game or other publications click here

Master of your own destiny
. e-book. November 2015. In their powerful book, global executive coaches Herman van Herterijck and Paul Donkers share the proven methodology they use with their clients around the world. Available for download via

Regisseer je eigen loopbaansucces. ISBN 978-94-91121-02-9. Authors: Paul Donkers & Herman van Herterijck, 2014. Dutch book on how to become the master of your own career success. Pragmatic tools on how to approach your own career as a small business owner. Using proven techniques from corporate environments and integrate them into personal & professional development.

Areas of Expertise
  • Start-up. Creator and founder of tèn company early 2009
  • Intrapreneur serving two companies: LHH The Netherlands (created in 1999) & LHH Luxembourg (created in 2008)
  • Revitalizing a company and turn around management (e.g. LHH Belgium: 2008)
  • Executive Coaching - Leadership Development. I love to work with successful strong characters and I'm not shy in confronting them to enable them to become even more successful.
  • Global and Multicultural Team building
  • Executive leadership and board positions
  • Succession and next generation leadership
  • Public companies / Fortune 500
  • Large family owned companies
Levels of Experience
  • Board of directors
  • CEO – CFO
  • EVP's, SVP
  • Medical Specialists (mostly in the surgery specialism)

Charity & non-executive work

Global Executive Coach - International Committee of the Red Cross - ICRC
Executive coach for their worldwide leaders. Leaders who are selected to participate in the Red Cross' global leadership development program are entitled to some one-on-one coaching. To accelerate their development. Paul works with the Red Cross on this project since their start of the program in 2013. Paul has delivered coaching and consulting to the leaders in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Haiti, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Geneva Headquarters and some other countries.

Member of the supervisory board- Stichting de Uitdaging (2014 - 2018)
Member of the supervisory board overseeing the work of Foundation De Uitdaging in The Netherlands. The goal of the foundation is to coach young adults with a mental handicap, through offering them employment and experience in their own restaurant, to the regular labour market.

Industry and functional experience
  • General Management and c-suite
  • Finance & Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Working in matrix organizations
  • Fast Moving Consumer Goods
  • High tech electronics
  • Pharma
  • Non Governmental Organisations
Some current and past client relations
  • Royal Philips Electronics
  • Electrolux Professional
  • Maastricht University Medical Center
  • Zuyderland Hospital Heerlen / Sittard
  • Barry Callebaut Gourmet
  • Swinkels Family Brewers
  • International Committee of the Red Cross Geneva and worldwide
  • AholdDelhaize
  • Sol Group (Vivisol)


Paul's work has been been featured by several media. Please find a selection hereunder.

We love to continue our conversation with you via social media:

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