Can you tell me about your academic and professional background and experience?
Back in 2002, I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master of Science in civil engineering and geotechnology. In 2011, I completed an MBA, which gave me more insight into business operations and running an organisation. This turned out to be very useful for my role later in my career.
How did you end up in the South-East Asian region?
I arrived in Singapore in 2002 as a trailing spouse for a two-year stint. I was fortunate enough to find a local job in Singapore and have not looked back since. I am very thankful for the privilege to work and live in other parts of the world. It makes you agile, streetsmart and broadens your experience at an extraordinary pace. And believe me, some parts of Asia are moving fast!
Living and working abroad means having to adapt to the local culture and business practices, and this has not always been easy. The Dutch are often known to be extremely blunt, direct and stubborn (with good intentions, but still...) and this is often not understood or appreciated in Asia. But we are also known for honest collaboration, taking a win-win approach and having a business mindset. These traits have been very helpful to me throughout my career in Asia.