Fighting for the new normal: Breakfast Session in Amsterdam

The last breakfast session of the Academic Year 2017-2018 took place on Tuesday, June 14 at the Nyenrode premises in the heart of Amsterdam. The theme of the morning was "maximizing positive impact through leadership'' and it included a keynote speech from Wineke Haagsma, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility PWC in EMEA.     

Haagsma started the session with self reflection on what makes people perceive you as a leader. She identified three ground rules: 1. Creating your own world, 2. Acknowledging that life is not always fair and 3. Following your heart.

According to Haagsma, it is vital to challenge the status quo as what was relevant yesterday may not be relevant tomorrow. She reflected on her experience involving refugees - or new comers as she prefers to call them - in leading a project to engage this segment of society in the workforce. She also highlighted that leaders should ''dare to set an ambition goal and to say ‘this is what I know and this is what I don't know'.  

Acting as a leader

She reflected on the importance of letting others shine and encouraging them to improve everyday rather than to prove themselves. For her 'becoming a leader is about putting your ego aside. It's not about you. That is the only way in which people will want to follow you.' 

As part of this Breakfast Session, Haagsma challenged the groups of BBA students, MBA students, alumni and business representatives to think about the traits that are required for leaders of the future. Each group worked also on ideas to reward and develop these future leaders. 

Education in times of transition

The groups presented their ideas such as how education should imprint a new belief system in students and develop skills like resilience, humility and no-fear of failure. Also, they suggested setting cross-age boards that stimulate different perspectives and turning employees into share holders so that they would be engaged in the long-term interests of the company.  

One of the key challenges discusses was that leaders of the future need to bridge the gap between the traditional commercial interests of companies and the well-being of society. According to the attendees, both interests should go hand-in-hand. Therefore, social enterprises will only become more relevant in the market as years pass. 

The session was concluded by encouraging the groups to ''fight for the new normal''  and play an active role in shaping society. 

The Nyenrode breakfast sessions are held every two months to connect students, companies and alumni with one another. If you are interested in attending or would like to know more about Nyenrode network events in Amsterdam, please send an e-mail to