Cheers to five years:
Meet Kimberley de Ruiter

Kimberley de Ruiter (26), Communications & Change Management Consultant, has been with Venturn for over five years now. What started as an internship eventually became her full-time job. We look back on the past 5 years. How did she develop? What has changed? And how did she see Venturn develop during those years?

We start at the beginning. Kimberley studied Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. In the final phase of her bachelor’s degree, she had to do a research internship. ”I already knew that I wanted to go back to Rotterdam for my master’s. Then my father forwarded a vacancy for a marketing/communication internship at Venturn. It was exactly what I was looking for, because it was in Rotterdam and for a shorter period of time.” After her internship, Kimberley stayed on as a working student and after completing her Master’s in Global Business & Sustainability, she entered the Venturn Young Professionals Programme. After completing the traineeship in 2021, she decided she still liked Venturn – and here we are today.

A port of possibilities

The maritime sector is no stranger to Kimberley. She grew up with it, as many of her family members are in the industry. Yet it was not so obvious for Kimberley herself that she also wanted to go in this direction. “It’s an invisible world, to most people. The port has a conservative and old-fashioned image, but a lot of innovative things are happening in the maritime supply chain. There are so many developments in the field of technology and digitalization, but also in the field of sustainability.” And those are precisely the two topics that really attract her: sustainability and digitalization. “In my master’s thesis, I focused on the Port of Rotterdam and the role they play in bringing these themes forward in the port. It excited me that there was so much going on in the maritime sector that matches me and my ambitions.”

“A lot of innovative things are happening in the maritime supply chain. There are so many developments in the field of technology and digitalization, but also in the field of sustainability.”

Communications and marketing has always been part of her role, but at a certain point Kimberley felt the need to develop more broadly. “When I was in the VYP program, I worked on projects that weren’t necessarily focused on communication. At the KNRM, my role was more akin to a Business Analyst and at North Sea Port I supported a change management program.” Kimberley’s assignments are rarely very defined in advance. ”It is rather a search together with the client or another consultant, without limiting myself to a specific role. Often, my contribution to a project is very flexible, depending on what is needed for the assignment or the challenge an organization faces. I really like that and it suits me well.”

Back to her roots

The danger of developing yourself broadly and also liking everything, is that it becomes difficult to focus. After a few years, Kimberley therefore decided that she wanted to go ‘back to her roots’ and immerse herself deeper in the field of communication. ”Zuid-Holland Bereikbaar, De Verkeersonderneming at the time, was looking for a junior communications advisor. A number of VYPs had done projects there, so I already knew the organization. What really attracted me to the assignment, even though it was a role meant for someone just starting out, was that I would be part of a team. That was different from the other projects I’ve done. I often worked closely with one person, usually the project manager, who was the linking pin through which I worked with other people in the organization. This was the first time for me that I really got to be part of a team in which everyone is involved in communication. To this day I have never regretted taking on that junior role, because it allowed me to grow within another organization as well. It’s been nearly two years and I’m still very happy with my assignment at Zuid-Holland Bereikbaar and the growth I’ve experienced.”

In the past five years, Kimberley has made great strides in her professional and personal development. An important development point was expressing her opinion. Ironically, Kimberley found it difficult to communicate with others when she started. She found it difficult to vocalize when she did not like something in time. “I’ve definitely progressed in that and that’s because I had a safe and supportive work environment, but also because I have simply gained much more experience in working with others.”

Moving and improving

In recent years, Kimberley has also seen Venturn develop and contributed to that development. “Looking back five years ago, I could not imagine that the organization would be where it is today. When I look around now, I see a team that I have a lot of confidence in.” The biggest development, according to Kimberley? ”We have more capacity, but also more diversity in competences and personalities in the team. I think we’ve created a better balance between wanting to be entrepreneurial and innovative versus learning how to work in a structured and process-oriented way as an organization.”

”My translation of the vision of the Venturn partners is how we present ourselves to the outside world. That’s still my role now.”

In 2020, Venturn entered a strategic trajectory to renew the website. Kimberley also thought the logo could use some updating and decided to commission the designer to come up with some new suggestions. Only then did she inform the partners and together they made the decision for the current logo. “I am really proud of that, that I was able to do things so early on in my career that benefited the organization in such an impactful way. My translation of the vision of the Venturn partners is how we present ourselves to the outside world. That’s still my role now.”

Two-person job

After working alone for 5 years, the communication team has doubled at Venturn since the summer of 2022. “I’ve always been used to doing things my way. Now that Britt has joined, my role has also changed. Instead of doing things my way, it is more important that I know how to convey what needs to be done and guide her further in her development. I like that very much. You see that the two of you just get different things done than when you play a role on your own for five years.”

Kimberley has outlined a plan for the next two years. She has started to study how she can further professionalize Venturn’s communication and also take the step towards commercialization. “There is a bit of strategy and commerce involved. My aim is not only to add value internally, but ultimately also to take the step to help other organizations further. Among other things, by further integrating theory and expertise in the field of communication into our services.” For the longer term, Kimberley has set her sights on Venturn Digital. “For now I have chosen to focus on communication. Once that foundation is in place in the organization, it creates space for me to further explore the world of digital transformation.”

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