Earlier this year, the Board of Lovinklaan welcomed Maricel Atienza as its new member. Maricel has been working at Arcadis for six years, and currently serves as the GBA GEC Places Director and lives in the Phillipines. See what inspired Maricel to join the Lovinklaan Board and her advice on pursuing a profession.
You have been with Arcadis for six years. What inspired you to become a Board member?
What truly inspired me is the value that Lovinklaan gives to Arcadians to grow and improve their work and professional skills, by implementing programs and initiatives aimed at learning and development. And to be able to do this successfully, a good representation of the different parts of Arcadis is essential in order to identify the current situation and needs of the different people.
Your journey as an Arcadian is remarkable. You started as a Design Manager and are now a GBA GEC Director. Since joining the Board, how has your day-to-day evolved?
As a design manager, I used to work with a team of engineers and BIM modellers to deliver projects. My entire day revolved around engaging with project teams. Running my own team helped me focus on both the operations as well as the people, and I had a fairly fixed routine, I would say.
As the GBA GEC Director, I’m now part of the Places GBA Operations team. My new role mostly involves engaging with different stakeholders around the globe, understanding each country’s way of working, and developing strategies that drive more and better collaboration between countries and the GEC. And thus, my schedule looks quite different now. It can even be rather unpredictable at times as I need to work across different time zones. This is also when I realize that Arcadis has transformed into a global model. There are no more geographical boundaries in how we operate, which is really exciting for me. My new lifestyle does need a lot of adjustment though, both professionally and personally.
What is your top career tip?
Challenge yourself to constantly step out of your comfort zone. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow. It will also help you in discovering your true potential.
Bring people along with you on your career journey; create a network and alliances, have a mentor to guide, coach, and inspire you, and reciprocate it by inspiring and teaching others. It also helps to have a mentee to pass on the learnings you gain.
You’re coming up on your one-year anniversary on the Board. Do you have any significant learnings you can share?
My key takeaway from this year is to allow myself more time to learn and understand Lovinklaan Foundation; there are many issues to resolve and decisions to be made. So, it is important that I keep myself well-informed when participating with the board in decision-making.
The other thing I have learnt is that it is essential to listen to and explore different perspectives on the various issues. I am fortunate that I joined the board when it was at its most diverse: the point of view that the board members provide during board meetings is truly a representation of the different parts of the Arcadis organization.
We are getting closer to the new year. What ambitions do you have for Lovinklaan in 2023?
My ambition for Lovinklaan is to have more programs that engage most Arcadians in an impactful way. I’d like to see programs that not only support Arcadis’ business continuity by leveraging its strategic goals but also drive diversity, inclusivity, and equity. I’d like to see every Arcadian being given an equal opportunity to grow and develop, helping them improve themselves, the business, and the society to which they belong.