Looking back at 2020 – Todd Bechtel

Looking back at my final year as Chairperson of the Board for the Lovinklaan Foundation, I cannot help but feel a great sense of pride to have had the privilege to take part in leading this inspiring organization.

As we all know, 2020 proved to be one of the more challenging years for not only Lovinklaan and Arcadis, but for individuals, communities, businesses, and governments across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged us in ways we did not think was imaginable, and yet the Lovinklaan Foundation tackled those challenges head-on.

We started off the year by welcoming our newest board member, Nora Taylor – a valuable addition to the board. Her active involvement has resulted in a female-majority led board – something that we are deeply proud of.

Additionally, we rounded up our Business Evaluation Audit results, which provided valuable insight on how the knowledge and understanding of Lovinklaan has evolved since the last audit three years ago. Moreover, this audit provided us with important feedback – which we are currently implementing to increase the awareness and visibility of the Lovinklaan Foundation.

One of the moments I look forward to most each quarter is the opportunity to meet with my fellow board members to discuss the progress and future of Lovinklaan. However, due to the onset of a global pandemic, we placed safety and health at the top of our priorities and decided to conduct the majority of our board meetings virtually. Although it was disappointing to not have the opportunity to sit down face to face and enjoy a coffee with my peers, the virtual board meetings were incredibly fruitful, and we managed to make the most of our time together. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to my fellow board members during our latest Q4 meeting in November 2020. Myself, along with Gordon Baxendale and Holly Herner, had the honor of welcoming our successors for the coming year. I would personally like to congratulate Cécile Cluitmans, who will be taking over as Chairperson, Nora Taylor will now act as Secretary and Marco Foo will take over as Treasurer.

In addition to holding our quarterly board meetings in a virtual setting, we also made the decision to suspend all programs that have a face-to-face element to them. This decision was not an easy one to make but ensuring the health and safety of our people has and always will be our top priority. Due to the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, we cannot provide any specification on when our programs will resume.

The COVID-19 pandemic has positioned Lovinklaan, and Arcadians in general, on a fast track to the transition to digital as we navigated daily team meetings, board meetings, and continued collaboration across geographies and time zones – all while working from home. In order to better equip current and incoming Arcadians, we have developed and implemented a transition package that can be used as a reference guide to work remotely, as well as onboarding.

Yes, 2020 was a year to remember. Although it did not go as we had expected, I could not be prouder of the resilience and strength Lovinklaan has demonstrated during these challenging and uncertain times. I am fully confident that Cécile, alongside the rest of the board, will take make 2021 a year of progress and prosperity for the Lovinklaan Foundation.



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