Ellen Heesen-Hiemstra – House-o-Orange Au Pairs

Ellen Heesen-Hiemstra BWGeneral Board member


House-o-Orange Au Pairs

The Netherlands


I was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands but raised in Tokyo, Japan and further educated in Oxford, UK and The Netherlands. After quitting medical school in The Netherlands I switched to business and obtained a bachelor in marketing and communication. My love for medicine led to a career in the pharmaceutical industry with companies such as Procter&Gamble and Hoffmann La Roche, but after having 3 kids in 17 months, I realized that a full-time career at a multinational was not flexible enough for a busy mom and I left in 2000 in order to start my own Au Pair company. My company has grown from strength to strength and now has a second office in Cape Town, our head office is in The Hague, The Netherlands.

I have had a lot of board experience over the past 15 years and have been president of the Dutch Branch organization BONAPA as well as being on the board of ECAPS. I have always been active on different committees and have been a member of IAPA for over 10 years. Now that all my children are grown and studying (two of them in New York City), I have the time to take on a new challenge and would love to be part of IAPA’s growth process.

Statement of intent

I would like to be on the board of IAPA to help IAPA grow as part of the confederation and to see IAPA move forward. I aim to bring a lot of expertise and international knowledge to this board. Having grown up overseas and being used to sharing a classroom with 36 nationalities, I think I have a unique outlook on life and on people which will aid me in understanding the different IAPA members and in representing their interests.

I would love to see IAPA grow in under represented areas such as Africa and am also eager to tackle the problems that internet matching seems to cause our members.