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Delft Mama of the week: Fenia

It’s a sunny Friday morning when I park my bike in front of the tall, red EWI building at the TU Delft. She greets me by the entrance with a big smile on her face and an energetic spring in her step. She has been working as a post-doctoral software engineering researcher for about three years at the TU Delft. She knows an incredible list of languages: Greek, English, some Dutch, Java, C, C#, Scala, VB.net, PHP, ASP, Javascript and SQL. After this alphabetic exercise it doesn’t come as a surprise that she’s also one of the webmasters of Delft MaMa. And today she is our mom of the week, Fenia.
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Delft Mama of the week: Eva

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As a child Eva never felt she fully fit in her native country of Portugal. Being half Dutch and half Portuguese, she spent a lot of time in the Netherlands on holidays where she felt a sense of belonging. She had a multicultural attitude and an appetite for an adventure as long as she can remember. As a teenager Eva won the title of the national champion of texting in Portugal and got to travel to Brazil for this. She studied psychology and worked in human resources. In England Eva boldly took a job as selling insulation materials door-to-door just to get acquainted better with the culture and locals. In her late twenties she lived in an American hotel with her husband, Ricardo, for a YEAR. Yes – you guessed it – she’s the good kind of crazy.

I ask Eva “Bina” Sabina, which name I should refer to in this piece. For anyone who has previously found themselves confused with the woman of many names, here’s the explanation: “I grew up people calling me Sabina, but in Portugal I often struggled introducing myself with that name. In the university I found it easier to go with my first name, Eva, but my closest friends call me Bina.” This reminds me of a saying in Finnish that goes “a beloved child has many names”, meaning that someone dear to many is often pampered with more than one name. I’m not the least surprised this applies to the wonder woman that is also known as Eva “Bina” Sabina.

Eva is a mom to a 2-year-old Nina, whose Dutch grandmother’s side comes from Delft, but moving to this area was a coincidence. Luck it wasn’t though, because persistently Eva turned over every stone, until the window of an opportunity to move to the Netherlands presented itself. “I started contacting every single agency before moving to the Netherlands. I was offered an opportunity on a Wednesday, by Friday I had my second interview and by Monday I was already working”, Eva says. Listening to Eva it’s clear you don’t talk about luck, but about hard work and a positive attitude. She has her values written anywhere she can put her hands on, and she reminds herself of them every day. “We all have those negative voices saying we aren’t capable enough. I shrink that voice and work to come up with something positive. I used to be a person who was always moaning about everything when I was young, and didn’t know how to deal with it”, she points out. Eva continues to explain she did what she does best when confronted with a challenge and started learning about it. She discovered NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and found out it was absolutely possible to reprogram one’s brain by words, actions and new behaviors. Change always starts from within: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change”, she quotes.

When her daughter was seven months old Eva stopped working in order to wrap her head around what she wanted out of her career in the future. This is also the very moment Eva discovered Delft MaMa. “I found out about it through a dear friend; she invited me to playgroup. I had seen the website before, but I never felt like going. I didn’t dare for some reason”, she shares the common feeling a lot of first-time mothers have. Her friend’s encouraging words eventually pulled Eva into the group and after the first visit she simply never stopped going. She took the chance to volunteer, too, and started as a playgroup host. When Delft MaMa was going through structural changes, Eva took the chance to share the responsibility with another mom of being in charge of human resources: “Among other tasks, I’m responsible for the volunteer recruitment activities and everything that that entails.”

Eva studied psychology and after working in forensics psychology for a while, she figured out she wanted to work with people on the development side. Back in the day Eva took a postgraduate course of human resources and landed a work in the field. “With human resources you can do so many things. My passion for developing people was already there”, she says. Through her previous boss she found out about coaching and the idea stayed in the back of her mind for years. Last year Eva took a workshop organized by two Delft Mamas and that reignited the spark of pursuing her dream of coaching. After the workshop Eva signed up for the course she needed to attend in order to take the next step in professional growth. Two months after the workshop Eva opened up her own company called Multipaths.

She is a certified Master NLP Practitioner and Life Coach, but she is continuously educating herself. Her aim is to focus on parents, having learned through her own experience of all the changes parenthood brings along. In her words the playgroups are amazing to share experiences, to feel normal again, “but there’s always something missing and I want to help people to tackle that part. After you become a parent, you need to reorganize your entire life, not only physically but mentally as well. You are suddenly responsible for this tiny human being and, many times, you find yourself reassessing your values. You need to redefine your goals, relationships, career and it’s a tough deal. I basically help parents to explore and overcome their own insecurities, to gain insight on their values and goals, so they can achieve more balanced, fulfilling lives. This, consequently, leads to the ability of raising their children also in a happy and emotionally safe environment”, Eva sums up her philosophy.

Eva is constantly pushing herself to become better at being herself. She has no taboos, so people tend to feel that they can talk to her about anything and feel at ease around her. At the end of our interview she asks me if I have some time. I agree and half an hour later she has managed to help me put in writing a big personal goal. I leave the interview completely uplifted and full of promise of my own future. “She’s good, really good”, I think to myself peddling home in the crispy, beautiful autumn air.


Mom of the week is published every second Friday on the Delft MaMa blog. The next one is coming up on November 25.

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