Our Beautiful Board of Advice members are Willemijn Verloop, Halleh Ghorashi, Killian Kleinschmidt and Lydia Suur. We believe in the power of a large and diverse network, our Beautiful Board of Advice is a derivative of that. Strong due to additional fields of expertise and a diversity of backgrounds.

The Board has no formal basis, does not meet and does not make decisions. This is entrusted to our Foundation Board. The board members spar with us about topics or themes that touch their specific fields of expertise. To gain new insights, to ask critical questions, to keep us sharp, or perhaps to open doors.


One of the founders of Social Enterprise NL and Founding Partner of impact investment fund Social Impact Ventures. She is a serial social entrepreneur and one of the driving forces behind the Dutch social enterprise movement. She has over twenty years of experience in starting and growing social businesses & charities, and she has published several books and articles on this topic. Willemijn was also the founder of War Child, where she is still vice-chair of the board, she also holds board positions at Tony’s Chocolonely, V-ventures and is chair of the Dutch Advisory Board (NAB) for Impact Investing.

“Calling people to their own strength and showing them what they are capable of instead of what they are not. Refugee Company links the talents of people with a refugee background to opportunities and job possibilities to better our society in an immensely unique way. I am a big fan of Fleur and her people’s entrepreneurial approach and the extraordinary impact they have.”


Since 2012 professor of Diversity and Integration at the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Social Sciences at VU University Amsterdam (VU). She is also a Crown member of the SER and a member of the KNAW. She studied cultural anthropology at the VU and obtained her PhD in 2001 from Radboud University Nijmegen (at the Center for Women’s Studies and the Anthropology Department). Between 2005 and 2012 she was professor by special appointment of Management of Diversity and Integration (PaVEM chair) at the Department of Organization Studies of the VU. She has published several international books and articles on emancipation, refugees and migration issues and contributes to public discussions about diversity issues in society and in organizations.

“I have great admiration for what Refugee Company has accomplished in the last few years. It is unbelievable how this social foundation has been able to discover wonderful opportunities and let them bloom beyond the impossible time and time again. They do this by never losing sight of the power of imagination and creativity.”


Has over 25 years of hands-on experience in international development, relief, resource mobilization and political / regional cooperation across a wide range organizations (UN, NGOs), countries and programs. Previous assignments have included Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Deputy Representative for UNHCR in Kenya, Deputy to the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for aid to Pakistan. In his recent role as UNHCR Mafraq Head of Sub-Office and Camp Manager for Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, the world’s second largest refugee camp and the largest camp for Syrian refugees, he transformed Za’atari from a chaotic and crime-ridden place to a thriving and stable community ready to transition to the next stage of its development.

“I believe in the power and strength of human beings regardless of the labels we put on them. Giving agency and initiative to refugees instead of assisting beneficiaries or persons of concern provides for humanity, identity and dignity. Refugee Company stands for those values and translates them into action and that’s why I am here!”


My name is Lydia Suur. I was born in Uganda. My family and I moved to The Netherlands 6 years ago. As a child, I grew up in an orphanage until my early teens. Although my childhood was uncertain, two things were always clear to me. One, my desire to empower others and the importance of education. I believe that the way to empowerment is through learning.

This past year I got a chance to work with Refugee Company which provided me with the opportunity to use my experience as well as learn new skills. Creating a safe space for our trainees, teaching them life and practical skills, and watching their transformation have been one of the most rewarding experiences. 

I have seen firsthand what a vital role we play in the lives of people with a refugee background. I believe there is no better way to validate/empower someone than giving them the space to be heard, seen, safely share their feelings and talents; and that is exactly what Refugee Company does, and I am honored to be a part of it.”