At the start of August, we welcomed Dennis to the team as Business Manager. He will be leading our Executive Search team and brings in a lot of valuable experience in order to refine Venturn’s Search activities. It’s been a productive first month and we look forward to learning even more from Dennis in the time to come!
How familiar were you with the maritime and logistics industries before joining Venturn?
It depends how you define familiarity. As a professional, I am relatively new to the industry. My previous work experience in logistics is limited to part-time jobs, at UPS for example. After finishing my studies, I was active in the financial sector, where I gained a lot of experience in recruitment. However, I did grow up here in the area. A big part of my social circle is still centred around Rotterdam. So I’ve always been up-to-date with what’s happening around these parts. In that sense, you could say I’m very familiar with maritime logistics! I’ve always found the sector incredibility interesting, but I just didn’t have an opportunity to make the professional switch to logistics before.
What do you like about the logistics industry so much?
It’s a very interesting market. In terms of people and culture as well. It’s very down to earth, relaxed. I come from a sector that is quite different: more political in how it is organised, more focused on profiling. The organisational dynamics were very different. That can also be fun, but after a few years in such an environment, I think it’s good to want to explore different things. Now I get to apply my skills in a new field and grow my knowledge of a new industry at the same time.
“I’m a builder. I enjoy coming into an organisation and having to figure out from scratch how everything’s done, how the people are, and how to improve.”
What is important to you in a work environment?
A good atmosphere. Lunching together, meeting up outside of work… You hope to create something like that no matter what environment you’re in. Of course it does depend on the people you’re working with, but a good atmosphere is something you can influence and contribute to. What I also find important is opportunities for growth. I’m a builder. I enjoy coming into an organisation and having to figure out from scratch how everything’s done, how the people are, and how to improve. I’d even say I enjoy that journey more than the end result.
When it comes to you personally, what journey are you on? What goals do you want to achieve in the next ten years?
Eventually, I want to act on an increasingly more complex scale, with increasing responsibility. It’s still about building things, but you want the things you do to have impact. So whether that scale is achieved by having more people report to you, or because you’re in a more strategic role where you’re able to make certain decisions… Those are things that have impact on an organisation, but on people as well. So I find that an interesting prospect, but it’s a position you need to grow into. You can’t just stand in front of 20 people and say, “I’m going to lead you from now on.” So I’m very excited about the journey ahead of me. If it seems to be going well, then I definitely have the ambition to continue growing as a leader.
What did you aspire to be as a child?
I thought I wanted to be an accountant, because that’s what other people said would suit me and it seemed like a fun career path. Suit and tie, that kind of thing. When you’re young, you often base your ambitions on things you’re good at. I was good at maths and things like that, so I figured I would do something with numbers. But being good at something isn’t the same as enjoying it. In the end, accountancy just didn’t suit me! I have a lot of respect for accountants, but it’s just not for me.
How important is it to you what others say or think about you?
It’s important to a certain extent, of course. I am someone that will evaluate whether what is being said is the truth. If I feel like they have a point, then I will definitely think about it and do something with it. But if it’s criticism that I can easily disprove, it doesn’t bother me and I will tell the other person why I don’t agree with their perception of me. I like having discussions and substantiating my point of view. But I prefer to do it in an open and relaxed way, and approach it more rationally. I don’t get offended easily, and I’m open to hearing what the other person thinks. Feedback is important—something’s not right if you’re not being criticised every once in a while!
“Feedback is important—something’s not right if you’re not being criticised every once in a while!”
What energises you?
Sleep! It might sound like a silly answer, but as a father of two young children, sleep is very important. As for what energises me mentally, I am motivated by progression. It doesn’t matter if it’s progression in my career, or in sports, or any other type of skill. Seeing improvement is what drives me to continue. I’m not the type of person that will get frustrated or give up easily when I’m not able to do something perfectly the first time. It’s okay if I have to try again, as long as I’ve improved the second time.
What has been the biggest learning moment in your career so far?
An important lesson for me was that it’s more important to look at the interests of others than your own interests. There have been situations in the past where, initially, I would become very defensive when I felt like my team was being criticised or pressured. Later on, I realised I had to look at it from a distance and not only take into account my own team’s interests, but the concerns of others in the organisation as well. My team’s performance had impact on how well others could book results of their own, which is where the pressure came from. When you know why everyone is asking the things they are asking for, that’s when you can begin to choose your battles.