As we prepare to step into a new year, I look back with immense pride at my first year as Chair of the Lovinklaan Foundation. When I accepted the position as Chair, succeeding Cecile Cluitmans, I was no stranger to the workings of the board, having previously served as the Secretary. A year later, I can only say that I am inspired and humbled by how much more I have been able to learn and collaborate alongside my fellow Arcadians.
This past year we experienced some exciting changes within the board, welcoming new faces such as Sophie Plantinga from the Netherlands, while others changed roles, with Zakiya Seymour becoming Secretary. It has been a delight to see the impact of our collaborative efforts as we continually identify relevant investment opportunities. Since the addition of our recent board member, Arcadis has notably expanded by 20%. As we continue to build on each other’s strengths. It is worth reflecting over various programs and what our efforts mean for the development of Arcadis and its employees.
Connecting with Arcadians worldwide
Spring was momentous for us; this board meeting marked the first time the entire board was able to meet in person since the beginning of the pandemic. This set a very positive tone to the start of the year as we met for our first quarterly board meeting in Amsterdam. For the other board meetings, we gathered in Toronto and Dublin, where we had the chance to welcome our new Arcadians from the IBI and DPS Groups in Canada and Ireland, respectively. We received warm and enthusiastic welcomes, and our discussions demonstrated the value of connecting and listening to each other so Lovinklaan can represent these new Arcadians.
To remain connected with Arcadians worldwide, some of our board members also made trips to Hong Kong and Puerto Rico. Colleagues across the globe expressed genuine gratitude for the chance to connect with the board members who lead the Lovinklaan Foundation. Our interactions further highlighted the importance of face-to-face encounters as we re-adjust to a post COVID-19 environment. Through various staff presentations, we were able to provide insights about Lovinklaan, entrenching a deeper understanding of the Foundation’s mission and programs.
And, speaking of programs, we are very proud of our accomplishments this year. Earlier in the year, we celebrated the successful handover of our Roots of Arcadis program to Arcadis. Soon after, we relaunched our redesigned Quest program, which continues to be one of our most beloved programs. Once again in April, with our IMAGINE Awards program, we recognized the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Arcadians and supported the realization of the top 3 most innovative ideas.
We also continued with our Shelter program in 2023. Undertaking several inspiring missions to various parts of the world, our Arcadians shared their pro bono knowledge and expertise to find solutions for global urbanization issues.
Our Expedition DNA program was also very successful this year. Many keen Arcadians participated to access knowledge and developed their skills to become more innovative, digitally enabled, and sustainability.
Creating a promising future
The Lovinklaan Foundation is guided by the Articles of Association of 1981 which state that the Foundation’s purpose is to promote the continuity of Arcadis and the interests of its employees. Thus, when deciding which new programs to invest in, our primary focus is on supporting initiatives that advance both these interests. Aligning our support with the new Arcadis strategy for 2024-2026, we identified an increasing appetite for programs that empower Arcadians to develop their skills, particularly within digital and sustainability spheres. And so, we introduced two new programs in 2023: Sustain Abilities and Skills-Powered Organization. Both programs are already demonstrating growing interest from our wider Arcadis community and, we are certain they will become an invaluable part of Arcadian’s career journey in the years to come.
This has also been a good year in working towards our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) ideals. As a Foundation, we feel very strongly about this. That is also why the Board is made up of various nationalities representing Arcadis’ presence around the globe. Personally, I was very inspired by the written words of Zakiya Seymour and Giuliana Netto on the occasions of International Women’s Day and PRIDE, respectively.
We invited representatives from the Ethnicity and Heritage and the Gender Affinity Groups. Their contributions underscore the Lovinklaan Foundation’s dedication to DEIB, and we remain committed to fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment for Arcadians and in our programs.
This year has been a testament to growth, celebrating diversity, and a dedicated focus on skill development and sustainability within Arcadis. As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming year, I am happy to announce that the Lovinklaan Foundation will be hosting another global webinar in January 2024. The aim is to introduce Arcadians, especially those joining us from recent acquisitions to Lovinklaan’s pivotal role as a major shareholder of Arcadis and its function as an incubator for employee-led programs. Join us as we present updates on our ongoing programs as well as exciting upcoming plans.
And on that note, on behalf of the Lovinklaan Foundation, I wish everyone a joyous holiday break and look forward to an exciting and engaging 2024!