What does a typical day in the life of a Places Client Development Director and Lovinklaan Board Secretary look like?
To be honest, I’m not sure there is a typical day! My days can start early or end late depending on the time zones of the team members that are taking part in meetings. One component of my job is spending time with Arcadis’ sector leads and account leads discussing client needs and how we can best support them. Then there are the bids that we respond to, planning for them and ensuring that we can win.
Over the last two years, my workday usually takes place at home due to the pandemic – however, I used to spend much of my time traveling to see clients and project teams across the UK. Slowly but surely, I have been going into the office more frequently, and have even had the opportunity to meet with some of my fellow Lovinklaan Board members in Ireland during our Q1 Board meeting at the beginning of February. I am glad to see our offices slowly but surely start to fill up again.
How do you apply your expertise from your Arcadis role into your role as a Lovinklaan Board Member (or vice versa)?
My role at Arcadis often requires me to participate in meetings where we discuss sectors and clients I may not know much about, so I must be able to listen and ask questions to gain an understanding of what is going on in the business and challenge the approach and actions teams are taking, when necessary. The same applies to my role within Lovinklaan, where I must be able to pick up information quickly across a wide range of topics to contribute towards the decision-making process on the Board. I use the same approach as a Board member: ask questions, listen well, and invite others to share their thoughts and opinions to determine the right approach.
What inspired you to join the Board of Lovinklaan?
My first impression of Lovinklaan is that it is a unique Foundation – I have never heard of anything else like it! Acting as a major shareholder of the company that we work for and investing our dividends towards furthering the development of Arcadians comes with a lot of responsibility. While it is an honor and privilege to have that responsibility, it’s also an amazing learning experience. Joining the Board was a great opportunity to give something back to Arcadis and Arcadians in a collaborative and fun way, working alongside fellow Board members from across the globe, stretching from Australia to Brazil. The opportunity to take on a completely new role as Secretary of the Board, as well as leading Lovinklaan’s communications is certainly an enriching experience.
What advice can you share with Arcadians working from home?
I’m still unsure of whether I have mastered working from home after two years, but I have found that going outside, fitting in exercise, and setting some boundaries on working hours have been incredibly helpful during these tumultuous period.
Since we’re now able to return to the office in the UK, I have slowly begun incorporating a few office days back into my weekly routine. It really reminded me of the simple joys of bumping into a familiar face and catching up unexpectedly. Also, I love the idea of being able to meet face to face again with my fellow Board members. Especially when new people join, both in my teams and on the Board, it is great to meet each other in real life.
You have been in your position as Secretary of the Board for nearly a year now – are there any key learnings you can share with us?
My role is also to support our Chair Cecile Cluitmans in delivering her vision. I facilitate this by ensuring there is ample planning and regular communication between the Board; – since we all work in different time zones, we need to lock in our Board meetings and work group sessions well ahead of time. I have been amazed how we can plan with a good level of accuracy 12 months ahead and stick to it.
I also have brought about a focus on how we develop as a team, given that we have been working virtually for the last two years. In the past, the Board met face to face every quarter, but we have not been able to do this, so there has been an added challenge around how we connect and bond as a team as we form our relationships. So far, we have done a good job at finding ways to connect and collaborate, but I am hoping that we can spend some more time together in person this year to support this.