9-12 March, 2019 at the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland

The 3rd annual Eldest Daughter Retreat will provide a life-affirming opportunity to look at the defining qualities firstborn women share – being the responsible, dutiful, thoughtful, hands-on, caring ones. Do we have these qualities or do they have us, that is the question. Over four days, together with others from many walks of life, we will reflect on our role as the eldest daughter and reconnect with what drives us. Allowing ourselves to become more conscious of common eldest daughter patterns is bound to bring greater freedom of choice and movement.

If we can transform responsibility into wisdom, also through silence, we will be powerful beyond belief.

-Jenny Elissen, Founder/Managing Partner of NewGenes, participant 2nd Eldest Daughter Retreat
2nd Eldest Daughter Retreat at the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland 17-20 March, 2018
The first Eldest Daughter Retreat provided such a life-affirming opportunity to meet other firstborn women that we are organising one again in 2018. Please come and join us to reflect on your role as the eldest daughter. There will be space to reconnect with what drives you personally and professionally and become more conscious of your eldest daughter patterns – also through seeing them acted out by others in the room. The accomplished Gill Emslie will again be the expert facilitator of our sessions. There will also be time to walk in the woods, spend time by the sea and exchange on topics close to your heart with women of the tribe you belong to without having known it.
Findhorn International Forum for Eldest Daughters
March 18 – 21, 2017 Retreat at the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland

Inspired by The Eldest Daughter Effect, the world-renowned Findhorn Foundation and Community will host a 3-day retreat exclusively for eldest daughters: women who are the firstborn in their family, with at least one younger sibling of either gender. Women who had no elder brother(s) to pave the way. Women who in their youth broke new ground – and who continue to do so. Through combining inspiring facilitation with this unique venue, you will meet other inspiring eldest daughters from many walks of life, reflect on your own personal patterns as a firstborn and renew your self-image. In addition to drawing directly from our research, you will creatively integrate the experiences of fellow course participants and the expertise in personal and collective growth honed at the Findhorn Foundation over its 54 year history. 

As a participant you will gain deep insights into the patterns that eldest daughters share. You will see how these have worked out in your personal and professional life and how you can avoid the inevitable pitfalls. Crucially we will learn how to harness the undisputed strengths this unique birth position brings, such as authority, depth, overview and zest. The retreat will be hosted and facilitated by Lisette Schuitemaker, Helen Wildsmith and Gill Emslie. If you are interested in this invitation-only event, please send an email to

The Eldest Daughter Effect Book Launch London
November 9, 2016 Hosted by CCLA, Senator House

So what does it mean to be an eldest daughter? After the success of the Eldest Daughter Day in Amsterdam, CCLA hosted a similar event for female leaders in their network who are the firstborn in their family. CCLA is one of the UK’s largest charity fund managers. For over 50 years they have provided investment management services for charities, religious organisations and the public sector. 

Subsequently the book was launched with the Dutch custom of handing the first copy to Dame Gillian Wagner, PhD, who called it an important contribution to the subject and a much to be recommended read. “I thought I might skim through this book,” this estmeemed author, former Chair of Barnardo’s, Carnegie UK Trust and many other charities said, “but found it a fascinating and educative read which made me think about my own eldest daughter characteristics. Talking of it with my daughter, my daughter in law, my granddaughter, my granddaughter in law and even my grandson, all felt suddenly united in a new understanding of their place in the family. I found the dispassionate yet intimate way in which Lisette and Wies as the authors present this thought provoking and penetrating analysis of the lives of firstborn women very engaging. It will surely cause all eldest daughters to re-evaluate who and how they became what they are. 

The Eldest Daughter Effect Book Launch Amsterdam
November 12, 2016 The American Book Center, Amsterdam

On Saturday November 12, 2016 at 3 PM journalist and eldest daughter Liddie Austin will interview us in The American Book Center, Spui 12, Amsterdam. This will mark the launch of The Eldest Daughter Effect in the Netherlands. Please join us for a chat about how our siblings formed and shaped us, what it means to be an eldest daughter and how we can all harness our strengths. There’s time for a chat over drinks after the interview.

Please register here: