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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Stanley

Being a Buffalo: Walking Through the Storm of Loss

Why is death a taboo topic?

Mariska Kesteloo, founder of Word of MICE, shares her story of losing four loved ones over the span of five months—and the mission she is on to change the way we navigate grief.

Read on for information about the star of this episode, Mariska Kesteloo!

Mariska Kesteloo is an entrepreneur, public speaker, author and board member. With more than 18 years working experience in tourism and the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector, she is an authority in the industry.

Passionate about storytelling, Mariska founded her company Word of MICE in 2017. Word of MICE connects the MICE industry with the right storyteller: an expert to spread the story of the suppliers in an authentic way amongst the right target audience.

In January 2020, Mariska's husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and since then her personal life has turned upside-down. She decided to share her experiences in a book. In 2021, she lost four of her loved ones in just 5 months’ time: her father-in-law, her mother, a dear friend and, in July 2021, her husband passed away. Despite the challenging circumstances, Mariska decided to create an association to inform, motivate and encourage patients and their loved ones who go through similar situations.

She is a source of inspiration for many people because of how she deals with her personal and professional situation. Now, she navigates through life, shaping and creating her new life as widow, entrepreneur and digital nomad. She decided to turn her experiences into action and support entrepreneurs who are dealing with a loss and going through the grieving process.

In 2022, Mariska decided to buy a camper and to become a digital nomad. Her first destination on her journey was Poland, where she supported the country with her knowledge of social media, digital marketing and B2B influencer marketing. She became an official ambassador of Poland during IMEX Frankfurt during her three-month stay in the country. In August 2022, she will continue her journey in her camper (with her cat!), this time to Slovenia.

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