What’s in a name?

So I took the leap of faith. Quit my exciting job as Executive Director and am now taking the steps needed to present myself to the world as a freelancer.

LinkedIn makes these kind of things particularly hard. Once saying you are no longer one thing. You instantly need to say what you are. It seemed to me a bad idea to say I’m “looking for opportunities”, or “available for new challenges”, as many seem to do. Luckily I had the possibility to say that for the moment I am “Ambassador of EUROCLIO“, which doesn’t only sound awesome, but also reflects the way in which that organisation is more than just an organisation, but really a big community.

But still, I needed a name. For the last 35 years, I have lived with the name Even-Zohar, and for the last 24 years, living in The Netherlands, I always (!) had to give some background, or meaning to this name. Usually this went along these lines:

  1. Yeah, sure, it’s Jew-ish. But I’m not. Or maybe I am. Your choice.
  2. No, it is not connected to the Kabbalah. You mean the book of Zohar.
  3. It is actually a direct translation of the Yiddish name “Finkelstein” into Hebrew. This was done by my ancestors somewhere in the 1930s as they migrated into Palestine.

So, it was after some dead-end creative name searching that, like I suppose most freelancers, I ended up with my own surname. But, with a twist.

Evenzo is a not so commonly used Dutch word which means ‘similarly’, ‘likewise’ or ‘also’. It speaks to my ever-present associative mindset. Something is always like something else. And that, I figured, is very much at the core of how I communicate with people. Professionally, it is an important rhetoric instrument in fundraising and advocacy. Philosophically, it is a reminder that we give meaning to our lives through comparisons.

And yes, of course, it is also simply a slightly shortened version of my name.