From studying Biomedical Sciences to HR Manager at PostNL. That is remarkable step.
““Isn’t it just? After I graduated I actually took the traditional path of doing a PhD and research. But after a year in the laboratory I realised I’d made the wrong choice. Doing research is lonely and it can take up to twenty years before you’ve made a discovery that really contributes to science. I wanted work that was more result-oriented and social. An acquaintance told me about PostNL’s Young Executive Programme and it really appealed to me. I applied and started as team coach at the preparation location in Vught. I’ve since been promoted to Workforce Planning Manager, covering the South West and South East regions.”
Why did you decide to join WIN?
WIN also helps me keep a broader outlook, within and outside of PostNL
“After finishing YEP, I missed the broader outlook the network offered. I enjoy mulling over ideas with like-minded colleagues and hearing how things are managed in other business units: it makes you aware of the bigger picture rather than just focusing on your own location. WIN aims to support female employees’ personal development. It also stimulates you to think about how you shape your career. That appealed to me.”
How ambitious are you?
“It’s not that someday I’d like to be CEO. First and foremost, I want to be able to grow personally and professionally; whether it’s a lateral, more specialised or senior move. The most important thing is that I enjoy my work and that it suits me.”
How can you achieve that?
“It’s all about promoting yourself well, daring to stand out and in doing so, creating opportunities for yourself. Are men better at this than women? I think personality plays a more significant role here. Although I do believe that men sometimes make different choices regarding working fulltime. And they can have a different, more effective way of negotiating, making it easier for them to get promoted.”
It’s about daring to stand out, and that doesn’t come easily to me
Are you good in this respect?
“Promoting myself has always been one of the areas I need to develop. I just work hard and do my job well, but making myself visible professionally is not really on my agenda. I’m not set on drawing extra attention to my performance. That’s something I need to work on.”
Is that the reason you joined WIN?
“One of the reasons. I also want to talk about my career development with someone who has already made many moves: how did they approach this and what will work for me? Of course, in the end this is something you have to do yourself, but a PostNL network like WIN can certainly help you progress. I’m really pleased that this network is available.”
How do you contribute to WIN?
“I’m in the External Relations committee. We stay in touch with other companies regarding the theme of diversity and organise a number of events on this topic with ING, Shell and HP. I think it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening elsewhere. I really enjoy my current job and I’m learning so much. Also, this is a big company. You can branch off in many different directions. Yet, I don’t think it’s realistic to stay working for the same company for forty years. You need to keep working on your own employability, inside or outside PostNL.”
Do you think Herna Verhagen is a good role model?
“I know it’s quite special that we have a female CEO. But she’s CEO because she is good at her work, not because of her gender. I find her inspiring as a person and in the way she fulfils her role. But to me, being a woman has nothing to do with that.”