With a successful background in Banking as a Head of Operational Risk Analysis (ABN AMRO bank), Anita Paalvast has also earned international acclaim as being one of few Dutch women to achieve her fourth degree black belt in Aikido; a modern Japanese Martial Art form.
The combined track records and experience have molded Anita into a unique coach and trainer, with a rare but highly effective methodology of embodying leadership principles, and she is on a mission to take it national and global.
“I really dream of the principles of Aikido in the embodied way for organisations becoming mainstream; it brings people together and on the same course. Millennia old wisdom connected to today’s demands on leaders is really powerful.”
Her Method is solid in the organisational context. She supports executives and teams in increasing their effectiveness in communication, leadership and cooperation. Her clients report increased self-confidence, peace of mind in the daily chaos, self-control, openness and flexibility after just a couple of sessions.
What drives her are the values of integrity, autonomy and cooperation.
Her professional interventions are rooted in multiple practices such as ontological coaching, team coaching, participatory leadership and of course the Aikido practice.
“After four years in the export industry and ten years in international banking, I felt called to serve organisations in a different way. In the course of all my years of training how to deal with attacks to my integrity and effectiveness on the Aikido training mat, I started to realise how I had integrated the foundational principles of Aikido and actually used them in my daily working life. The martial art principles of self-control, keeping the bigger picture, integrating opposing views, adapting real time, keeping the flow in the situation - just to name a few - are very well suited to today’s organisational context.”
Education and professional background
Anita is a practitioner of the Japanese martial art Aikido since 1992. She is one of the few women in The Netherlands with a fourth degree black belt. She has regularly attended seminars and trainings on the border between Aikido, personal development and leadership (a.o. level 1&2 and retreat Conscious Embodiment of Wendy Palmer – 2009/2014 and the Embodied Leadership programme of the Strozzi Institute - 2012). In 2011 she completed the Newfield Certified Coach Training Programme and in 2017 her teamcoach program with Floor Daver – Samen Ontwikkelen.
Anita has studied economy and languages (section Economisch Linguïstisch, HES Rotterdam - 1992) and did a post graduate in business psychology in French (University François Rabelais, Tours, France - 1994). After working for the export department of Vetus den Ouden, a wholesaler in boat equipment (1995-1999), she had an international career at ABN AMRO bank as operational risk manager (1999-2008). She performed risk assessments at all levels of the organisation in different countries, from New York to Tokyo. She became a vice-president and headed up a team of risk managers as member of the Management Team of Operational Risk Europe.
In 2009 Anita established herself as a sole entrepreneur, combining her experience in the business world with her year-long training and experience on the Aikido mat. Her passion and vision are based on her firm belief that the universal principles and the philosophy behind Aikido are very useful for organisational contexts. Her style is subtle and powerful.