Karin Bosman

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Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
01. About Karin

“Comments such as “Check your cleavage when you go to that client”, did not affect me. I stood firm in my shoes, I thought.”

Karin Bosman is a researcher, author, speaker, and expert on (sexually) transgressive behavior in the workplace.

It was 2017 and Karin Bosman was walking through a neighborhood in the city of Trenton in The United States. She had been warned about this city. As a blonde, white woman, she undoubtedly stood out, and it showed. With a pack back and a walking stick in each hand, she attracted the attention of a person in a large SUV. He called out to her and asked what she was doing. Her heart beat fast in her throat and yet she decided to do what felt contradictory at the time. She walked to the car and told him why she was hiking 35 kilometers that day. Alone. Just like the days before and the days that would follow.

In total, Karin walked 523 kilometers. From New York to Washington DC, to draw attention to sexual harassment. She visited universities, spoke with and for students, and collected data with which she mapped out sexual harassment. She made the problem transparent; the seriousness and the extent to which it happens, within all layers of the population. She wanted to bring this problem out in the open, so that it could no longer be ignored.

The fear slowly slipped away from her when it turned out that the person in the SUV was genuinely interested in her story and she could share her experiences. A new sense of regained confidence and optimism flooded her as she continued her way. On to Washington!

Karin Bosman has more than twenty years of experience working for various international advertising agencies. After her personal experience with structural (sexual) harassment in the workplace, she was completely dumbfounded. Her self-confidence and self-esteem disappeared like snow in the sun. With the help of a lawyer, she managed to break the vicious cycle and take it to court. Although her boss was declared guilty, the verdict was only an admonishment. A disappointment.

She wrote everything down, making order of her experiences  so that she could tell the people around her what happened during that period.  Not only was it the beginning of her personal healing, but she discovered a new strength and direction in her life.

Her book ‘Spitting on Hans’s Sandwich’ was published in 2016. She followed the NAADAC study in the US on Social Safety and Psychosocial Workload collected data on a large scale and developed the Report App, an independent platform that employees of companies can use when they encounter or suspect (sexually) transgressive behavior.

Since 2015 Karin has been traveling all over the world advising companies and SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), among others, on prevention policies and creating awareness. For this she uses her unique mix of communication and legal knowledge and (personal) experience.

As a speaker, she makes a deep impression on her audience  the power of humor and the courage of vulnerability.

Karin Bosman is a researcher, author, speaker, and expert on (sexually) transgressive behavior in the workplace. It was 2017 and Karin Bosman was walking through a neighborhood in the city of Trenton in The United States. She had been warned about this city. As a blonde, white woman, she undoubtedly stood out, and it showed. With a pack back and a walking stick in each hand, View more…

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02. Purpose

"'I miss her too,' said my daughter after seeing The Walk, where I openly told my story."

Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good

"The problem is in trust, and trust is the solution at the same time."

Karin Bosman

Not a victim, but survivor

Karin’s message is that sexually transgressive behavior can happen to anyone. Even if – like her – you are a powerful woman who thrives in the tough advertising world, orchestrated mainly by men.

In the advertising business, you have to be tough. It was certainly a man’s world at the time, where there were plenty of jokes like ‘will you take care of your cleavage when you go to that client?’ That was part of the culture, I didn’t know any better and it didn’t feel transgressive to me. But at my last employer, something else happened. I was harassed and pressured for two years. I never thought this could happen to me.”

She wants people to understand how complex it is for victims to put an end to this kind of behavior, sinking deeper into quicksand step by step, feeling fearful and isolated. Emotionally, she tells in an episode of The Walk how she slowly lost herself and how much she missed the “real Karin. “I was imitating Karin, the way she used to be.”  Her daughter broke down with tears in her eyes and said the words “I miss her too” after seeing the broadcast.

It is as heartbreaking as it is illustrative of the fact that it is not just the person who suffers harassment in the workplace. Loved ones, family, friends, and colleagues also feel the effects. Yet Karin prefers not to talk about victims.

“I am a survivor, just like so many others. Instinctively you want to hide away such an event, but I did the opposite and then something so extraordinary happened. When I told my story for the first time in front of a large group – in Aruba in front of 200 women – I felt a kind of collective understanding and a huge connection. That gave so much strength.”

Although Karin sees very violent things pass by, it can just as easily be micro-aggression or the feeling of social insecurity. There are situations that do not fall within the criminal law framework but are often classified under “the gray area”. After all, what is transgressive depends on each person’s personal boundaries, right? Karin only partially agrees. As far as she is concerned, timely de-escalation is always necessary.

“It’s not about the intent of a comment or behavior. If someone doesn’t mean harm, it doesn’t mean that the other person should just continue. Nor, for that matter, does it mean that ‘the offender’ should be put on the chopping block immediately. Dialogue is important and mutual trust is  a prerequisite.”

According to Karin, a company, school, or sports club will never be 100% free of undesirable behavior. That is impossible. What is possible is to create a safe space, a Circle of Trust in which everyone feels free to speak their mind and be taken seriously. That is what Karin is committed to every day.

Want to book Karin as a speaker?
Would you like to book Karin Bosman for your event? As a speaker or chairman of the day for example? Ask about the possibilities and availability.

03. USPs

Why should you collaborate with Karin Bosman for your upcoming event?

1. Authentic

Karin speaks from experience and is not afraid to be vulnerable. Karin has the courage to say bluntly what it is about and tackles the heart of the matter without restraint.

2. Data

Karin has gained tremendous insight over the past few years by collecting data, through her self-developed Report App. This gives her access to statistics that she knows how to translate into practice in unprecedented ways.

3. Storyteller

Although she uses data and statistics to ‘drop bombs’, her message mainly sticks by vividly telling stories that are not only heard, but also felt.

4. Relax

Despite this heavily charged topic and the ferocity of her stories, Karin manages to get people in the audience to relax through the art of comic relief. In doing so, she plays on the attitudes and behavior of people in the audience and playfully connects with them.

5. Together

Because there is no one size fits all solution to a safe work environment, she always immerses herself in the audience or company beforehand. Speaking with people is an important element in her preparation because they are part of that solution.

She therefore applies the Circle of Trust principle that Karin works according to during her lectures and training sessions. She makes sure everyone feels seen and heard, safe and valuable. She does not impose anything but invites them to come to solutions together.

  • 1. Authentic

  • 2. Data

  • 3. Storyteller

  • 4. Relax

  • 5. Together

04. Keynotes

What does Karin Bosman offer?

Safe and positive work climate

The explanation of a safe and positive work climate should not be a story that is merely repeated but retold through every interaction and achievement you go through together as an organization. Here, growth is not just a goal but an ongoing process involving opportunity and development. Achievements are not only recognized but shape the collective success stories. Developing a dynamic work environment requires open communication, appreciation for achievements and encouraging teamwork.

Are you ready to discover during this keynote how to change not only the story, but also the way we work, create, and grow together? Karin will show how the fresh momentum of a safe and positive work environment is anything but boring. Focusing on a work environment preventing undesirable behavior, provides stability and is a breeding ground for innovation and satisfaction. A work climate that is bubbly and resilient is characterized above all by preventive measures.

The Grey Area

The gray area of undesirable behavior includes situations that are not always easy to categorize as acceptable or unacceptable. We have quite a tendency to prefer simpler, clearer “solutions” to dealing with complexity. People are often uncomfortable with addressing behaviors that are not explicitly seen as problematic. Not addressing behavior in the gray area leads to its normalization, leaving the unacceptable behavior unsaid and, in many cases, considered acceptable. Strengthening corporate culture begins with making the gray area negotiable. This highlights the importance of respect, integrity, and collaboration within the organization.

At this keynote, we will explore together the limitlessness of the gray area. This is an area that is often overlooked, but whose impact on our organizations and relationships is enormous. Karin visualizes the risks of ignoring or simplifying the gray area and how dealing with these nuances is crucial to de-escalation and understanding.

Stop the Silence

Stopping the silence offers you a springboard to a safe work environment. Talking together about a socially safe working environment means getting everyone in the organization involved. Stop the Silence is a methodology developed by Frank Peters and Karin Bosman. No matter what phase the organization find itself in, the use of an open and honest dialogue, not only prevents the escalation of problems but leads to a truly shared vision and solutions.

In this keynote, Frank and Karin will show how to create a socially safe work environment with the deployment of a practical roadmap, while also considering how to deal decisively with situations in which things do go wrong. Stop the Silence is not about propping up prevention policies but building a safe culture in which trust plays a crucial role.

  • Safe and positive work climate

  • The Grey Area

  • Stop the Silence

04. For Good Interview

Three questions for:
Karin Bosman

Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good

For Good: what does it mean to you?

“Having the best interests of everyone in the workplace and being aware that you don’t discriminate between ethnicity, gender, position or preferences. Things go wrong everywhere, and people can be offended. But it is important that you do something about it, that you discover the underlying causes and that you dare to look yourself in the mirror. If undesirable behavior is part of a work culture, you may not notice it anymore, but that does not mean that people are not bothered by it. Everyone must feel co-responsible for a safe working environment.”

Who is your greatest example or inspiration?

“Without a doubt Frida Kahlo. A very strong woman with an enormous life force, despite major setbacks. ‘What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger’ is one of her famous sayings.

Business-wise, I also admire Gretchen Carlson, whom I speak to regularly. Gretchen tackled U.S. Fox News director Roger Ailes. She exposed his practices of sexual blackmail, after which he was fired. The balance of power there was great, and she is still wary as a result. I find her energy and stamina enormously inspiring.”

Walk the talk: how are you of value?

“I have been sharing my experiences and solutions for years and each time I manage to touch people and encourage them to change. In my daily life I help individuals but also in large groups emotions are released. The recognition and acknowledgement create action.”

  • For Good: what does it mean to you?

  • Who is your greatest example or inspiration?

  • Walk the talk: how are you of value?

05. Media
  • Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
  • Karin Bosman en Frank Peters | Speakers for Good
    Together with Frank Peters
  • Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
  • Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
06. Clients

A selection of companies that Karin Bosman already had impactful collaborations with….

  • “Karin Bosman’s lecture at the University of Aruba left a deep and lasting impression on the audience and gave sexual harassment a (new) face. She is a remarkable woman whose perseverance and dedication is changing the world bit by bit” – Deborah van den Berg, Alexander

    University of Aruba
    University of Aruba | Speakers for Good | Karin Bosman
  • “The workshop was a great eye opener and awareness for our associates. We very much appreciate all your assistance.” – Freya Kraag, Quality Assurance Manager0

    Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa Aruba
    Manchebo Beach Resort | Speakers for Good | Karin Bosman
  • “Karin presented a compelling, real-life account of workplace sexual harassment. She forces her audience to confront what is a very grave and uncomfortable subject with honesty and compassion.” – Steve Blechman, Executive Director HRIS / President HRMA Princeton USA

    Princeton University
    Princeton University | Speakers for Good | Karin Bosman
  • “During our Integrity Professional Day on October 5, 2018, Karin conducted a successful and well-attended workshop. The participants were very positive about the workshop. It brought them very welcome insights. Also on behalf of the workshop participants and the organization team, I would like to thank you very much for hosting this workshop.” – Yvonne Stokhuyzen / Integrity Coordinator and Confidential Advisor Board Core

    Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
    Ministerie infrastructuur en waterstraat | Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
  • On behalf of Dean Paul Jarley, we would like to thank you for another great EXCHANGE at the College of Business. We so appreciate your engaging and informative presentation and our students truly enjoyed their time with you! Dean Jarley created an incredible learning and networking opportunity for our students with the opening of The EXCHANGE ~ but it would not be possible without support from leaders like YOU!

    Again, thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to speak in The EXCHANGE! We do hope you will join us again soon. – Jennifer Johnson | Director of The EXCHANGE

    UCF Orlando Florida USA
    UCF | Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good
  • “Karin is great!

    For over one month Karin and I have worked closely together while she advised and supported me in legal matters regarding termination of labour agreement. I have gotten to know her as a passionate and dedicated expert in labour law. Her personality is warm. In her work she is a professional and has strong communication skills what makes her a fantastic advisor.

    I would highly recommend her.”

    Olga van IJzendoorn
  • “This was a very informative and interactive discussion. The information shared, gave more insight on how to listen when a person reports harassment. The training also highlighted the importance of educating your workforce to draw a line, and to speak up when they experience unwelcome behavior. On the other hand, teaching your workforce what is acceptable behavior at work and that being ‘nice’ can sometimes be interpreted or perceived very differently by people, is something that in our culture still needs work.” Anjali Vishnudatt | Human Resources Assistant Manager 

    De Palm Corporation & Subsidiaries N.V.
    De Palm | Karin Bosman | Speakers for Good

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