Executive Board

Gary Hays


Valshebnik Consulting


Gary Hays was born in London England, but has lived and worked in the Netherlands for thirty years. With a technical background (Chemistry first degree and a Physics PhD), Gary started working for Shell in research & development, but for the majority of his time at Shell he has had either HR roles or line & business roles, switching between the two areas a number of times. HR roles have included being global HR Manager within Shell Chemicals for six years and line roles have included Site Director of the Shell Technology site in Amsterdam.

Gary became interested in both the procedures for internationals coming to live in the Netherlands and support offered, when he managed a project which involved all aspects of moving over 200 senior positions from Shell in London and other locations to The Hague. Until recently, Gary was HR Director for Fonterra (Europe) based in Amsterdam, effectively a start-up of the European operation of Fonterra, a New-Zealand milk co-operative, which deals with 40% of the world trade in milk and milk products. Currently he is Deputy Vice President Human Resources and Organisational Development with TNK-BP in Moscow.

Gary has three children who are now all attending university or college in the Netherlands and who went through the Dutch education system.


Koosje Ploegmakers

Director, International Clients The Hague, ABM AMRO Bank


Koosje Ploegmakers is Director of International Clients The Hague, ABM AMRO Bank. This special department of the bank provides financial advice and services to expats and impats in the Netherlands, and in the rest of the world. International Clients The Hague is located in The Hague and Rotterdam, but also has branches inside the Shell, OPCW and ESA Estec headquarters.

Koosje was born in Algeria and lived in Africa for two years before she moved back to the Netherlands with her parents.

Koosje lives in The Hague with her three sons and partner Jelle. Besides her passion for work and quality time with her family, Koosje plays weekly tennis and supports her sons every Saturday on the hockey field.


Godelijn Boonman

Attorney at law, Partner GMW Advocaten

   Godelijn Boonman

Godelijn Boonman, Dutch by birth, started her life as an expat, and has retained the affinity her whole life, even after returning to the Netherlands for her studies. Born in Africa and having received part of her education in England, Godelijn is not only a native English speaker, but also a Dutch one and has French in her arsenal of languages. A Graduate of Law from the University of Utrecht (in Dutch Civil Law) she went on to add to her knowledge with a certificate in European Law. Since 2000 she has focused primarily on Employment Law, adding to her practice and skills, international employment law. For many years now she has assisted and advised companies and individuals in this area. She also joined and has since been active with, a local law firm, GMW, as a partner in that year. 

Godelijn is a resident of The Hague and has been a supporter, personally and professionally, of several expat oriented initiatives and events, among them previous editions of the Feel at home in The Hague Fair; the Women’s Business Initiative International, and of course, ACCESS.


Lowri van der Linden

Senior Project Manager, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency


Lowri was born in the UK and moved to the Netherlands as an expat in 2004.  Lowri like many has stayed in the Netherlands, married a dutch man and now lives happily in Vlaardingen with her husband and 2 sons.

Lowri is Senior Project Manager at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency headquarters in The Hague.  Together with the NFIA team she is responsible for foreign direct investment projects from across the globe and for maintaining the international companies established in the Netherlands.  She has 13 years of experience in the field of international acquisition, 5 years working for International Business Wales (both in Wales and as an expat in Amsterdam) and 9 years in the Netherlands at regional and national level.  Lowri has a drive to build strong relationships with her clients to assist in the success of the companies she works with.

  Lowri has a degree in Law from the University of Wales, Swansea.


Pauline O'Brien

Director of Educational Recruitment Services, Council of International Schools

Pauline Obrien  

Pauline O’Brien is the Director of Educational Recruitment Services.She started at CIS in August of 2014 after thirteen years of international recruiting at The Blue Lynx Group in the Netherlands, where she served in succession as Regional Manager, Operations Manager and Operations Director. Her responsibilities included the development of corporate recruitment strategies, processes and systems to recruit and place multilingual professionals in the Netherlands and abroad. During her tenure, Pauline managed all aspects of the recruitment and selection processes, including accounts and client relationships.

Her earlier experience also has direct relevance to CIS services, as she worked in association management at the International Pharmaceutical Federation, which included national associations worldwide. During her thirteen years at FIP, Pauline managed membership, exhibitions, training, and evaluated teams internationally.

Originally from Ireland, Pauline came to the Netherlands in 1986, where she continues to live with her husband and two teenaged daughters.



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