Saskia van den Dool, new Director of Programs
With effect from 1 October, Adessium Foundation’s board of directors is complete again. Earlier this year Rogier van der Weerd succeeded Pieter Stemerding as Managing Director, leaving Rogier’s position as Director of Programs vacant. We are delighted to welcome Saskia van den Dool as a new member of the board in this position.
In her role as Director of Programs, Saskia will be responsible for the substance and strategic development of Adessium’s three programs. She leads a team of seven program managers. Saskia explains: “To me, good cooperation is essential: in the team, within and between the programs and with beneficiaries and the other funding providers. By working together effectively we intensify the impact of what we do.”
Saskia previously held the position of Senior Advisor for Responsible Investment at PGGM Investments. Prior to that, she worked as a Global Sustainability Services Consultant at PwC and as a project manager at Origin Nederland. “Contributing to a better, more sustainable world has been the common theme running through my working life. Ideally in a business environment. As an advisor on responsible investment at pensions investor PGGM I had an excellent opportunity to put my desire to make a contribution into practice and now I have the chance to do this again at Adessium.”
Doesn’t a pensions investor operate in a totally different way from a foundation like Adessium? “Of course PGGM’s primary focus is on financial returns and a good pension. Alongside this, PGGM feels a wider responsibility to contribute to ensuring that the world in which that pension is received is a liveable one. I have seen that as an investor you can use the power that significant sums of money give to really make a difference. For example, I was able to hold big companies to account if they failed to take proper care of their employees or other stakeholders. At Adessium we take a very direct and targeted approach to seeking out projects with impact and we have a much closer involvement with their results.”
“Adessium Foundation operates in a way that really appeals to me: professional and thorough, and with a constant focus on how we can improve things. We want to contribute to a positive change in the world and we are also continually reviewing the way we do this. There are always aspects that can be improved and by examining these critically Adessium and its beneficiaries have learned a great deal over the years.”
You’ve been working at Adessium for a month now. You’re no longer completely new and you’ve had a chance to speak to most of your colleagues in depth. What’s your most important project at the moment? “I’ve actually been really lucky. Together with Rogier and the program managers, I’m working on a new plan for the next three years. In this plan we build on the excellent foundations that have already been laid. We also examine the connection between the programs and add greater focus. I’m also spending plenty of time getting to know our partners and their projects properly. We have a great portfolio with organisations that work with a combination of passion and expertise on issues that are very important to me personally. I get a huge amount of energy out of that. And to top it off we have a staff outing at the start of November, the first one for me. I’m looking forward to it! ”