I wanted to join the police force, but my parents thought it was a waste of all my schooling. As it turns out, through my work, I’ve still ended up working for the police, as they’re one of our clients. So I’m still involved indirectly with the detective work that always excited me. In this way, I feel I can also help to make the world a bit safer.
We work for the Dutch Defense Ministry, too. It’s important to me that my work has this social relevance. It’s my most powerful source of inspiration. I want to have an effect on society and be able to explain to my children what I do and be proud of my work. That’s something I was taught at home: Be there for other people.
I jumped at the idea
When I started working at Accenture, a global professional services company, I was initially involved in consultancy assignments for big companies. After a few years (by then, I was expecting our second child), I was no longer inspired by my work. I was searching for my own identity and was thinking of taking a new job outside the consultancy world.
While I was going through this crisis, the managing director of Health & Public Service visited me at home. He had seen (even before I had) that I was troubled about my work not having enough social relevance. He thought the public sector might suit me better. I jumped at the idea. When something feels right, I don’t need long to decide: It’s just how I am. I was also impressed that he came to see me at home and had been thinking about my personal development. As a manager, I now also ask my people what inspires them and think about the role that would suit them best.
Conference call on the beach
We continuously have to make decisions in our lives, based on our ambitions, personal motivation and dreams. I wanted to be a mother, and I now combine a full-time job with four children. When, after having had two daughters, I turned out to be expecting twins, I asked if I could reduce my working hours to three-and-a-half days a week. That was no problem and was approved at once.
Even so, I didn’t manage to keep my phone switched off on Wednesday afternoons. I once took part in a conference call while I was on the beach with the children. Later, I went back to working full-time, in part because I wanted to become a managing director. I really thought that as a mother of four I’d never be eligible for such a move. But after talking it over with my husband, Marc, and a lawyer friend, I changed my ideas completely. Why shouldn’t I make that move? So I took part in the leadership program and went on to achieve my ambition.