This year, the Board of Lovinklaan welcomed two new members who have succeeded Todd Bechtel and Holly Herner. We are excited to introduce Zakiya Seymour (ZS) and Maricel Atienza (MA)! Zakiya is an Expert Management Consultant at the Arcadis office in Atlanta, while Maricel is GBA GEC Places Director in the Philippines.
We asked Zakiya and Maricel to share some insights about themselves and their new roles on the Board. Take a look below to read the full Q&A!
How do you plan on applying the skills and knowledge from your current role in Arcadis to your new role as a Lovinklaan Board Member?
ZS: As a licensed and trained environmental engineer, I would have never thought I would work with water utilities specialists on showing empathy and considering the emotional resiliency of their workforce. I think that having a “people first” mindset in my current role is directly aligned with what Lovinklaan represents: the interest of Arcadians.
MA: Incidentally, I started with Lovinklaan at the same time that I started my new role as the GBA GEC Places Director. Since I started both of my new roles at the same time, my proximity allows me to contribute to how we promote our core business, understand their needs, and consequently align them to the objectives and goals that Lovinklaan pursues.
What unique experience do you think you bring to the Lovinklaan Board?
ZS: I have worked in many diverse organizations – the federal government, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, and technology companies. With all of them, I have had a people-first and process improvement mindset. I am looking forward to bringing the best practices learned throughout those experiences to my tenure on the Board.
MA: My experience in taking on different roles within Arcadis has allowed me to work closely with people across various levels and specialties throughout the organization. I believe that this culmination of experiences allows me to view multiple issues from different perspectives.
What attracted you the most to becoming a Lovinklaan Board member?
ZS: I was most attracted to the opportunity of making a substantial and impactful difference in the lives of so many Arcadians. I love being a part of Lovinklaan’s mission and helping further the development of Arcadians – regardless of where they sit across the globe.
MA: I was really drawn to Lovinklaan’s mission, of investing in Arcadians through programs and initiatives that enable them to develop themselves. These programs attract and retain talent, which is essential to the continuity of Arcadis. The Foundation is unique, to say the least! Therefore, I am very happy to be part of the Board now.
What are some of your prior board/leadership experiences?
ZS: I currently serve on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), an environmental advocacy organization focused on environmental justice, climate change, and clean water. I also was recently appointed to a six-year tenure on the External Advisory Board (EAB) at my alma mater – the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Within both of those positions, I advocate on behalf of the people – serving on SELC’s Personnel Committee and championing the rights of graduate students at research institutions at EAB.
MA: My experience spans from working with construction teams in the Middle East to working with clients and project delivery in Australia, working with the GEC in Manila, and working with the executive team in the NV office. I’ve learned how to strategically navigate various stakeholders across various levels, nationalities, and backgrounds.
In your career, what are you most proud of?
ZS: I am most proud of learning that it’s ok to fail. It is about the lessons learned from the failure and being able to iterate from them.
MA: I am incredibly proud of how my career has evolved over time through my experience working in transformative industries such as construction and engineering. My roles have provided me opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people, even in my own little way.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the Lovinklaan Board?
ZS: I firmly believe that when individual perspectives are listened to and connected with the right tools/technology, playing fields can be leveled and sustainable development begins. During my tenure on the Lovinklaan Board, I hope to clarify how that work is done in an inclusive way, where all Arcadians feel respected, represented, and heard.
MA: During my time on the Board, I want to create more awareness for Lovinklaan, and promote more engagement and participation in projects and initiatives. I also would like to drive more Lovinklaan projects that promote sustainability and digitalization, both of which, I believe, will be beneficial to every Arcadian.