My Career Clock
Name: Marit Hendriks
Interviewer: Sally Higham
Where you are based for work and what do you do?
I’m based in Kent and I have a home office where I run an events and consultancy business. The consultancy is around events and also Broadband initiatives and delivery which involves understanding the appetite for high speed broadband.
Did you train for a specific job?
My first degree is HR and I really enjoyed the course but I never really worked in it. I’m Dutch – I’m from the Netherlands but ended up in the UK. I had never planned to stay in the UK for long, but one thing led to another and I ended up staying here. I did an MBA on International Marketing and it was very intense as I did this in a year at the University of Kent.
What’s a typical working day for you?
Right now I run a series of events under the NextGen banner. It was started in 2008 and the initial focus was promoting better broadband in the UK. We organized events and that kick-started NextGen events. We started looking at why Broadband is so important and what it brings to communities. We look at the digital advances and we see very exciting projects come out of this. We also run the NextGen Dgital Awards on an annual basis and have run these for the last 7 years. They culminate with an awards ceremony at the House of Lords each year.
In the last year my client base has changed and I began working for the Global Wind Energy Council who are based in Brussels but running a big event in Buenos Ares. I am very interested in climate change issues so this is a new area of work for me.
What are your aspirations for your career in the future?
I would like to do more of the kind of work around the challenges that the planet is facing. My peers and I had always wanted to be successful in business, and although it’s important to be sustainable, I am now more interested in ‘bigger’ things. I am currently working for the Centre for International Environmental Law in Washington. We have just launched some reports on their behalf – we are saying it’s not sustainable to invest in fossil fuels. There are both legal and economic cases here, which can combat climate change. We had a launch in New York in December and now we have an outreach event in New York and then another on the West Coast.
Sally – wow some great travel opportunities!
Can you tell me about a defining moment of your career?
It’s been a gradual process – my children are almost grown up now which changes the way we work. I have started to take more notice of the climate around me. I am also a judge for an award in New York, which is based on Intelligent Communities – it’s something I really enjoy.
We partner with the ICF and we would like to bring them to London in 2018 to run their Annual Summit there. I would welcome anyone who would like to work with us on this – advocates, helpers with this, contacts. People who are in a position to spread the news and get the buy-in. We will be looking for sponsors too of course. This summit has never been in Europe.
Who helped you along the way? Did you have formal or informal mentors?
I had a mentor in a colleague – it was someone I did quite a lot of work with. At one point I did some work with Canterbury Council around culture, museums, tourism etc and I was part time for a while but I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. I started working with this mentor in his business and it was quite a leap from a council role to something more independent. I set up the events business and the rest is history!
What are the worst and best bits about your job?
The best bit is that I am my own boss working flexibly – whether taking time off or working through the weekend. I love the freedom that comes with that. The draw back is that you are always looking for new clients and it can be up and down financially.
Have you ever considered a Board/NED/trustee role?
I don’t have a role of this kind – I have considered it but I haven’t done anything about it yet.
What helps you to stay interested/excited in what you do?
I would love to study the Circular Economy as a course if I ever have a chance to study again. Overall though, what I find important and am interested in is key – and ideally to earn some money around too!