Esther Miltenburg

Our fourteenth alumni presented in this series of Alumni of Psychology is Esther Miltenburg. She graduated from the bachelor psychology in 2005. She graduated from a master in organizational psychology at Utrecht University in 2006. She was one of the founding Amygdala board members.

How long did it take you to find your first job? 

It was before the time of job shortages, so it did not take a lot of time to find a job. After graduating from the bachelor program in Enschede, I started a master program in Utrecht. A seven-month internship was part of that master program. There, I learned a lot about working as a professional. But above all, I learned what it is that I like doing the most. This inspired me to search for a job that I felt passionate about. In my case that was a trainee job as a trainer / coach for works councils at a medium sized company. My application stood out from the big pile of letters because I had done an internship at a renowned consultancy agency. This is one of the reasons why I could immediately start working after my graduation; on September 1st 2006.

What are your tasks and responsibilities?

I now work at the Diakademie, the training and development department at the Diakonessenhuis --a group of hospitals in the Utrecht region. My function is that of a senior educational and development advisor. Here I work on different projects, and specialize in the development of (personal) leadership. I also work as a freelance trainer and specialize in functional leadership programs. Functional leadership is specifically directed at leadership in a specific function or job. I also teach programs about communication and “train-the-trainer”. Furthermore, I blog about parenthood and I also used to have a webshop. Neither of these have a lot to do with my studies though.

Above all, advising means listening and exploring the underlying needs of the organization or department you are working with. This can take some time and often involves conversations with different persons to get a clear picture. Based on the information from these conversations we develop a plan together. Here it is important that I can express my knowledge in such a way that it inspires my clientage. Thus, I have to provide the insight and overview of complex situations. Once we settle upon a plan, I will either develop interventions on my own or seek a good supplier elsewhere. I also monitor and evaluate the programs that are implemented.

What have you taken along from your study, which you now profit from?

Critically examining and analyzing information, seeing connections or sometimes seeing the pieces that create the whole, and telling the story as it is (no management bullshit please). At Twente University I was trained to be a headstrong, critical and practical psychologist. These characteristics not only emerged from the courses that I followed, but more so because the psychology program was relatively new, small, and a bit of an odd duck when compared to other psychology programs in the Netherlands. I was among the first batch of students that started and completed the bachelor program.   

What do you hope to achieve in your career?

A diverse and challenging environment with room for development.

If you think about you study time, which memory comes up first?

I had a lot of fun living on the campus, and always liked living together with a group of students. I also liked the personal interactions with teachers, having the opportunity to develop new skills outside of the curriculum in committees, the dancing on Thursday evenings, and the semester with the statistics course at the Friday morning that followed ;-)

Which tips and tricks would you like to give to current students?

Allow yourself the time and space to figure out what makes you happy. You will only know which function or organization fits you if you can experience it first. But… don’t seek the perfect picture either. Personally, I find joy in combining different activities at once, such that I can use all my creativity.

Any questions to Esther?

This alumni has given the opportunity to answer questions about his/her work. If you have a question you are invited to mail this questions to Our moderator will bring you in touch with the alumni, who will answer your questions. For direct career opportunities you are advised to get in touch with the Human Resources department of the employer.

Get in touch!

Do you know someone who has a nice job, has an inspiring career of otherwise is interesting to join the Humans of Psychology series? Please get them in touch with us. To be able to keep this weekly series going more alumni are needed.

Published: March 4th, 2019