10 questions

10 Questions | Ilse Vonk

10 Questions | Ilse Vonk


Ilse Vonk is a business growth coach who loves working with starry-eyed entrepreneurs. For those with whom she works, Ilse plays an instrumental role in helping the vision in their head become a living, breathing - sustainable - business.

Ilse and Jessica, Luxtra’s founder, met in 2010, when they enrolled in the MBA programme at ISM, an American business school in Paris. A few years later, friendship turned in to a business relationship when Jessica gave Ilse a tour of the restaurant she was building in London: Ethos. They have been working together ever since with Ilse coaching and focusing (and re-focusing) Jessica's passion to drive real-world change in food and fashion. 


How do you tend to start your day?

With a 5 minute snooze and then a nice warm shower to wake up my body. When I have no meetings in the morning I squeeze half an hour of yoga/pilates in before taking my shower. Then a nice cup of Rooibos tea and oatmeal with banana, honey, cinnamon and walnuts, whilst checking my emails. 

What's inside your handbag? 

I always take my iPhone, sustainable water bottle, little toiletry bag with make-up emergency essentials, wallet and often a book. 

What's your bag style?

So I would really like to say that I have a sophisticated bag style, but often it comes down to the more practical kind of bag like a tote bag or backpack. Especially when I need to take my laptop, charger and books.  

What you are most proud of in your career to date: 

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve chosen my own career path. It might be an unusual one, but it has led me to so many encounters with amazing entrepreneurs, great companies, beautiful countries and all this whilst continuing developing my own knowledge and skills.  

The most difficult time of your career:

When I was younger I thought I had to pick one profession or fit a particular box. That caused a lot of doubt and stress. Now I know there is nothing wrong with not fitting in one particular box. I’m very proud I can use my broad knowledge of business in many different ways.   

Biggest life lesson:

Accepting and letting go of things that you can’t influence or change and focus on the things that you can do something about.  

I'm happiest when:

Surrounded by like-minded people discussing how we can change the world whilst enjoying great food and wine. 

My favourite place to be is:

Impossible to pick just one, as I love to travel and there are so many favourite places to be! As my parents-in-law live in Rome I get to go often and it is always magical. The vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa, are at the top of my favourite place to be list as well. Just like our cosy house in Voorschoten, The Netherlands, where we made so many wonderful memories. 

The woman/women who have most inspired you?

In my personal life I have a fantastic group of female friends that inspire me on a regular basis, each in their own way. In my work I admire the strength of the female entrepreneurs I collaborate with. Celebrity-wise I would have to say Eva Jinek (Dutch journalist and television presenter) and Michelle Obama, who’s book I’m currently reading. 

Ilse's company is Next Step Solutions

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