My father, born in November 1939, joined the Navy when he was 17. He grew up as the oldest of 7 kids, older than any of his 6 sisters. My father worked all his life with his hands, in different governmental organizations (the Dutch national railways and Electricity Company after the Navy) a great part in outside air regardless of the weather.

July 2012, a nice, sunny and quiet day in Madrid. Enjoying the sunshine with my wife and kids. It is around 16:00 in the afternoon when the phone rings. It’s my mother calling from the Netherlands. She is in tears, telling me my father has had a stroke that morning…

Saturday, February 6, 2016, I get another call from the Netherlands… My father is getting worse quickly. I have a chat with my brother and for what we could judge it would be good to go in the next few days to the Netherlands.

He calls me back 15 minutes after we hung up — My father passed away.



His whole live he was always there to lend others a hand if they needed. You just had to ask him. And he continued enjoying that, helping others, even after his retirement.

I like to believe I have, at least some of, that in my blood as well: wanting to help others if I see they are in need of it. Offering help even if they don’t ask for any. But, how can I let others know I want to help them, how can I let people know with what I can help them…Many ideas spun through my head the passed years, many little attempts, many little tries… It just never really came together.

September 2015, I join Happy Melly. Happy Melly is a professional network with a shared purpose. A global network of businesses and individuals dedicated in some way to helping people become happier at work. I wanted to learn about how to do that, do my part in spreading their messages and with that hopefully trigger other people to learn and take action to become happier at work. I considered myself an evangelist.

November 2015, I receive an e-mail… Lisette Sunderland from Happy Melly asking if I would be interested to join Happy Melly… And that was a sign, I think… I said yes, I became a freelancer (in addition to my fixed job), I am freeing up time, doing extra hours in the evenings and the weekends as Community Manager, as part of a team that has a purpose: help people to be happier at work.

It is not a lot, but it is something, something that I call HeartWay.

2016 – HeartWay is something in which I’ll always be thinking back to the great example my father has been for me – hoping to continue doing what he did his whole life, in his honor.