13 April 2023

It has been 100 days already since Sophie Plantinga became a member of our Board! An Arcadian for the last 17 years, Sophie Plantinga currently holds the position of Manager Program & Project Management and has been a valuable addition to the Board.  

In the Q&A below, Sophie shares her experience so far, shedding light on the selection and how the members wear different “hats” on duty. 

Congratulations on completing 100 days of being a Board member of the Lovinklaan Foundation! Can you take us through the journey of becoming a Board Member?  

Thank you! The Lovinklaan Board wants to ensure that it represents the Arcadis business well, and so the business area and region in which a potential Board member works are always part of the selection criteria. For optimum representation, the new member needed to come from ‘Mobility’ and The Netherlands, so the local management team was approached by the Board to nominate between three and six candidates. The candidates were then interviewed by the Board and selected based on their fit with the existing team and their ability to meet the time and travel commitments the role demands.  

What motivated you to take on this role?  

I enjoy the challenge of balancing the needs of the organisation and its employees; you need to work on both elements to strengthen and motivate teams. This is what Lovinklaan is doing as well, so it brings an additional sense of purpose to my role.  

What are some of the highlights from your first 100 days?

These first 100 days have been really inspiring and insightful for me – witnessing the dedication of the other Board members when explaining the Foundation’s history and purpose, and the enthusiasm of people talking about (new) programs like Sustain Abilities, Skills Powered Organization (SPO), Shelter and Quest. Discussions with external experts, the management team, and members from KNHM about organisational topics have been informative and help me in my work as both a manager and a Board member. 

How do you see Lovinklaan impacting the careers of Arcadians? 

The Lovinklaan Foundation brings Arcadians from all over the world and from different business areas together, helping them to think about their future and take steps beyond their daily work.  

The programs respond to the evolving needs of the business and Arcadians, ensuring that they stay ahead of the curve. For example, with the SPO program, I believe that Lovinklaan will be able to identify and respond to skills development opportunities over the coming years, enabling Arcadis to remain at the forefront of our sector.  

What are some of the key challenges that Lovinklaan faces, and how do you plan to address them?

Although Lovinklaan represents Arcadians and supports the business, it is distinct from Arcadis as a whole. While Arcadis runs the day-to-day business, the Foundation exists to protect the organisation and its future.

Being a new member on the Board, I can ask questions and offer a fresh perspective, which helps us to “sharpen the saw”. As Arcadis continues to expand, it is important that we explain the history and purpose of the Foundation and ensure our programs are accessible to new Arcadians. 

How do you balance your responsibilities as a Board member with your day-to-day work at Arcadis?

The real challenge is shifting my mindset between the two different organisations – Arcadis and Lovinklaan – and their own perspectives. We refer to this as wearing “different hats”, so sometimes I need to ensure I know which “hat” I am wearing! 

How long is your term as a Board member, and what do you hope to accomplish during this time?

A Board member’s term is three years, which can be extended by an additional three years if the other members vote for this. The Board is committed to ensuring that the team represents the business effectively, which is why we are constantly saying our goodbyes and welcoming new members.  It is truly unique for an organisation to have a foundation like Lovinklaan. As a Board member, my goal is to ensure that Lovinklaan realizes its full potential as protector, inspirer, and connector. I’m looking forward to reaching milestones with our new programs, such as Sustain Abilities and SPO.  

Arcadis is on track to deliver on their2023 targets while preparing for their 2024-2026 plan, so I am also excited to collaborate and help achieve these goals.