By Royal Appointment

The Team

Our instructors have been carefully chosen by The International Butler Academy for their field experience as well as their ability to teach. All instructors have been in private service for many years and/or held positions in esteemed households or corporations. This combination of comprehensive knowledge and considerable experience, coupled with a deep pride of and affection for a singular and respected profession ensures that all students will benefit from such devotion to duty. We are the only school with a comprehensively written syllabus that provides a framework and standard for all of our instructors to follow. 

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Thomas Kaufmann

Instructor - CEO 

Thomas Kaufmann is a trained private butler with over twenty-five years of experience in private service. He also has many years of experience in training butlers and hospitality service staff in hotels, real estate companies and restaurants in China and throughout South East Asia. He specialises in providing intuitive service, improving guest experiences and presenting lessons on service styles. After establishing The International Butler Academy in China, Mr. Kaufmann accepted the position of CEO at The International Butler Academy in the Netherlands.

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Urvanshi Mahbubani Kaufmann

Education Director - Madam

Ms. Mahbubani has worked in the field of Education and Training for almost 15 years and has earned two Master's degrees in related subjects. She utilizes her depth of experience to revitalize the teaching methods used at The International Butler Academy and expects that this modernized curriculum will be more conducive to today's Butlers and better suited to the needs of our valued clients. 
When she isn't in the office, Ms. Mahbubani is busy interacting with the students in her role as Madam of the House.

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Paul Huizinga

Instructor - Recruitment Director 

After a long career in international banking, Mr. Huizinga followed his dream by becoming a professional butler. At The International Butler Academy, Mr. Huizinga is responsible for recruitment, and he is responsible for the Academy's International Internship programs for its students. He finds it very satisfying to assist TIBA graduates securing a rewarding position. Mr. Huizinga works closely together with the graduates once they are finished at TIBA. Mr. Huizinga also teaches house & household management.

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Alessandro Gennusa

Head Butler

After wonderful experiences both as a student and an intern, Mr. Gennusa joins us as the new Head Butler at The International Butler Academy. Mr. Gennusa is an honest and trustworthy person, which is demonstrated in his work ethic and attitude. He shows unwavering patience, respect and kindness to the students and gives dependable and consistent support at all times.

We are happy to welcome Mr. Gennusa to our team, and know that his experience, service, support and kind smile will earn him an admirable measure of respect from students and colleagues alike.

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Lion Duyckaerts


Handyman, mechanic and gardener; taking care and pride in maintaining Huize Damiaan and keeping these old walls in shape. Mr. Duyckaerts has worked at TIBA since 2017 and knows every screw and bolt in the house.

He enjoys chatting with our students and his advice and support has aided many a student to overcome personal issues and homesickness. 

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Shahad Al Jabery

Office Manager

Shahad Al Jabery is a Hospitality Professional who is managing the Office Operations at The International Butler Academy.

She has been working over 10 years in the Hospitality industry, and recently moved from Amsterdam to the South of Limburg.

A highly astute and responsible individual, who has the aptitude to succeed in extremely competitive environments,
whilst consistently striving to achieve meritorious standards of work. 

Ms. Al Jabery is looking much forward to welcome our new students on board at TIBA.

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Zoey Zhao

Liaison Officer

Ms. Zhao joined us from The International Butler Academy, China where she worked as a trainer, training operation manager and chief translator. In the Netherlands, Ms. Zhao acts as a liaison officer and ensures a smooth partnership between both Academies.

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Dorian Fercot

House Butler

Following his dream of serving a private family, Mr. Fercot entered The International Butler Academy as a student in 2017 to learn the necessary skills needed to become a Butler. Here he developed a keen eye for detail and great focus for service.

After graduating, Mr. Fercot was employed in a luxury boutique hotel in the centre of London but has returned to the Academy to complete his skillset by guiding new groups of students in his role as House Butler, and reinforcing the TIBA team once again here at Huize Damiaan. 

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Federica Zanisi


Ms. Zanisi has worked as an executive and personal assistant in different companies for many years. She was offered an Internship at the academy and joined the staff to further improve her skills and competences after having attended the Butler training in 2020.

Working in a team is something Ms. Zanisi loves and appreciates very much. Service to her is the best expression of human communication.

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Anoesjka Imambaks

Guest Instructor 

Ms. Imambaks is highly experienced when it comes to housekeeping and cleaning, and has been placing private household staff at the highest level for more than ten years. 

At the International Butler Academy, Ms. Imambaks is responsible for teaching cleaning techniques, the use of (eco-) cleaning products, cleaning tools, cleaning schedules, and safe and healthy work methods. These are some of the essential parts of managing large households.

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Tamar Kersemaekers

Guest Instructor

Ms Kersemaekers is a chef, culinary instructor and business owner. She loves to share her experience and passion for the culinary industry, and imparts basic but important knowledge of modern food preferences. These preferences can be based on medical or religious requirements and other dietary food trends.

Ms Kersemaekers provides an active masterclass in the TIBA kitchen and theory lessons in the classroom as well.

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Herman van der Meij

Guest Instructor

Mr. van der Meij is a Prestige & Scotch Brand Ambassador at Diageo Benelux, who are the biggest spirits producer in the world and owners of brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Gordon's, Baileys and Tanqueray. In 2013 the Scotch whisky industry awarded him with the title " Keeper of the Quaich" which is a prestigious title for those who outstanding contributed the promotion of Scotch whisky.

Mr. van der Meij has spent over 35 years working in the spirits business as a whisky connoisseur and collector.

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Edwin Raben

Guest Instructor

Edwin Raben is a passionate wine enthusiast and owner of He has extensive experience in the hospitality industry where he started as a cook. Mr. Raben worked as a sommelier at top restaurants such as Lauswolt, La Rive (Amstel Hotel), and Landgoed Wolfslaar (where he was co-owner). He was awarded 4 times as the best sommelier in the Netherlands and in 1997 he was 3rd during the world championships for sommeliers in Paris. As a former chairman of the Dutch Guild of Sommelier and as a member of the ASI Exam Committee, he knows the international sommelier world like no other.

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Mirjam and Myriam

Physical Trainers

Mirjam & Myriam are two enthusiastic personal trainers who have many years of experience in teaching sports, group lessons, bootcamps and organizing sporting events. Since 2012, Myriam and Mirjam have been responsible for the physical training at The International Butler Academy. 

In these workouts the students renew their energy levels so they stay fit and focused during the whole course. This class is also meant to serve as ‘time off’ from being a Butler and ends with a relaxation and meditation session, where students wake up with a new level of vibrancy!

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Filippo D'Orto

Guest Instructor

Mr. D’Orto is an established consultant for high-class service experiences and trains on corporate and individual behavior in the hospitality and premium service sectors. With a unique blend of over 15 years of work experience in opening and reopening hotels, sales, events, the food & beverage industry, start-up business as well as hospitality management consulting Mr. D’Orto has analyzed more than 1,000 hospitality-related companies (hotels, resorts, restaurants, airports, airlines).

His services are based on a high sense of value and empathetic service skills and hands-on advisory for intercultural understanding and communication with highly demanding customers for business communication and guest relations.

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Christianne Rousseau

Guest Instructor

For over 13 years Ms. Rousseau has specialised in high end fabrics, interior design and styling. She works with the most beautiful materials and combines them into stunning designs for private customers and luxury hotels at her Maastricht studio. Ms. Rousseau calls herself an Atmosphere Creator, because that's exactly what a house needs, a good atmosphere.

She is very passionate about her work and is always thrilled to share that passion with our students. 

By Royal Appointment