Building valuable relationships with Arcadis’ leaders

20 February 2018

Kok Swee Low, February 20, 2018

14 to 18 October 2017, 5 days and each Global Shaper has worked closely —not only with one another, but also with the senior leadership of Arcadis. Though this can be daunting, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how helpful and personable each leader is. Of course, I must be honest; dealing with the senior leaders from different regions can also be challenging. But seeing each Shaper create valuable relationships with these leaders has impressed me beyond words. I checked with my pals from each workflow and asked each to write a list of advice, stories and even a few celebrity comparisons that really describe our coaches. Here’s what they each had to say:


“The Arcadis Culture coaches are Rob Mooren, Lia Belilos and Mary Ann Hopkins. Rob, Lia and Mary Ann all give very honest and open feedback. They have high expectations for our work, but that just enables us to produce a great work. They challenged us to dig deep to find the specific actions that will create an Arcadis Culture that is both exciting and inspiring for all of us.
Rob has the fitness regimen of Usain Bolt and the vision for the future of Leonardo DiCapprio. Lia has the leadership and strength of Michelle Obama. Mary Ann has the energy and ability to inspire of Ellen DeGeneres. Needless to say, we love them!”


“The Forward Digital group is led by Julien Cayet and Nienke Groen. They both stirred the group just enough to get everyone thinking and come up with valuable deliverables. Their interaction went beyond just the deliverables; the coaches have also taken their time to personally engage with each of the members and help them develop their personal goals. They’ve joined in with awful jokes and been approachable about digital but also about Arcadis and all our different cultures. If we had to compare our coaches to celebrities, we’d say that Julien is full of energy and fun like Jim Carrey and Nienke is graceful and eloquent like Emma Thompson.”


“Our leaders, Joost Slooten and Verali von Meijenfeldt, are both very encouraging. They are very passionate about sustainability which helps us understand their vision clearly. They have been very useful in enhancing our thinking process by giving us regular feedback. They taught us how to lead a team in a systematic way and keep everyone in the team motivated and engaged, which is no easy feat.”


“Our coaches are Cecile Cluitmans and Jane Garnett. They were very supportive & helped us understand the issue whenever we were lost or confused. We have learned from their positive attitude and perseverance. Like Angelina Jolie, they’re powerful, charismatic and impactful women.”

“Our fabulous Branding coaches are Chris Cohen and Yan Broad. What can we say about them besides that they’ve been the backbone of this team? Without them, our work would never have been as sophisticated or creative. They’ve taught us not only how to brand, but also how to delegate tasks and work together as a cohesive unit.
A powerhouse of organizational talents, Chris reminds us of a bit of Ariana Huffington. A communications professional, Chris is rarely shaken and remains calm even in the face of adversity. Yan is soft spoken, but she’s full of ideas and advice. She reminds us, in both personality and looks, of Lucy Liu!”

“Thijs & Martjin are #Grandfinale coaches. They are both instrumental to the success of the team. They take on the role of advisors, trying to let us take charge of the job in question but are there to offer guidance and support if it was asked of them and step in if the team were going off track. In addition, they are both upbeat and energetic which help to motivate the team, especially when everyone had been working long hours and needed an extra boost. Comparing them to celebrities: Martjin would be Rowan Atkinson, very funny and clever with strong beliefs and Thijs would be Tom Brady, great leader, energetic and motivational.”