Life at Philips

Paying it forward as a female leader

Nanda Huizing, Head of Brand Communications and Digital for Philips Benelux

“As a female leader at Philips, I’m conscious that it’s my responsibility to pay it forward by mentoring talented women and doing my bit to help make our working environment ever more diverse. Our collective success depends on it.”

I was working as a public affairs lobbyist when I realized I wanted to join Philips. I’d seen all sorts of global companies and Philips was the one that attracted me. That was 21 years ago.
“Before joining Philips, I studied international relations and political science and was working as a lobbyist representing American businesses to the EU. This start opened my eyes to business life and made me want to work for an international company. I started having conversations with the business by using my network and joined in a broad marketing role. So far at Philips, I’ve worked in Amsterdam, Paris and Eindhoven. I’ve been in my current role for nearly 5 years, but no day is ever the same. Different roles, different environments, different people; if you prove you can add value, this is a great place to progress your career.”
Innovation is so much a part of who we are. The company I joined all those years ago is a completely different place today. That’s because there is a continuous energy and appetite for change.
“We don’t just innovate our products, we continuously innovate how we work. This constant challenge to evolve and improve positively really keeps me motivated. It’s also stimulating that our company has a very clear purpose. We want to improve lives; to have an impact on society. Having a clear goal like this feels really good and it’s inspiring to be part of a very clear direction."
Every year the Reputation Institute – a global institute connected to the Erasmus University – recognizes the Top 30 Dutch companies. This year, for the 11th consecutive year. Philips has come out on top. We hold the reputation of being the most innovative and most sustainable organization.
“I’ll be proud to collect the Reputation Award on behalf of the company this year. In the 2017 results, Philips was the only brand to score in the 80+ (Excellent) range. Our score of 82.1 was 5.5 points higher than our nearest competitor in the ranking - an extremely significant lead – and, in terms of Reputation Drivers, we held the outright lead on: Products & Services, Innovation, Governance, Citizenship, and (Financial) Performance.”
Part of my role involves overseeing the management of the Philips Museum. We don’t view it as the word ‘museum’ suggests, though. It’s not about being sentimental. It’s about getting inspiration from our heritage and inspire towards the future.
“The Philips Museum in Eindhoven is a unique part of our story and it’s a great place where we can share knowledge with people of all ages. Innovation and design is strongly represented, and we’re constantly exploring learning and thought leadership, such as our new augmented reality design experiences.”
One of the recent campaigns I’m proud of is #Lumify. It continues our close relationship with PSV Eindhoven, the sports club we established in 1913.
“Of course, PSV Eindhoven is now independent, but our close links and shared pride remain as sponsor, founder and innovation partner. Our recent #Lumify activity is just one example of this. This came about through our close partnership with the club physician, Wart van Soest. Wart is also a surgeon in a local hospital and is passionate about sharing new innovations with players and patients. He was really keen to be the first to try our new portable ultrasound, Lumify. The size of a remote control, Lumify connects to an iPad and makes it possible to conduct on the spot checks – just what you need to act in the moment on the playing field. The first of its kind, Wart tells us he now uses Lumify on the PSV Eindhoven players every day.”
“We’re committed to being a digital innovator and continuously building our people’s capabilities. Everyone in our business – not just those in roles like mine – has to commit to make digital part of their DNA. That’s why we regularly visit our digital partners and keep in close collaboration about developments.”
“As part of our ongoing capability building strategy, we conduct Leadership Safaris. This is when 30 or so people from our Personal Health Management team visit all our digital partners to see how we can work together and actively build our capabilities. We spend one-to-one time with our partners like Google, LinkedIn, the Direct Marketing Association to debate where the world is going and how we can positively shape and contribute in line with our company values.”
The High Tech Campus is Eindhoven is one of our innovation hot spots. As well as being one of our main offices, it is where we run large-scale workshops where our global and key market teams come together to share growth plans and develop future strategy.
“It’s great that Eindhoven is one of our innovation hotspots of talent. When we run workshops, we tend to have our key markets represented together with our global business unit. It’s inspiring to collaborate with colleagues from all over the world within our Health Systems business to share knowledge. We also employ key business techniques such as LEAN in order to create breakthrough plans to achieve our vision of transforming health care.”
Something that might surprise you about Life@Philips is how the company supports us to take on roles in society, independent to Philips.
“I have another role in my spare time. I’m on the supervisory board of my local bank. It’s a role that is encouraged and supported by Philips and I really enjoy it. I use my multinational experience to help advise entrepreneurs and participate in the bank’s financial strategy sessions. We’re also encouraged to see ourselves as part of a global community of business and one that is always people-centric; be this our partners, our people or our customers. That’s why you will also see our people on the shop floors at our partners’ commercial outlets, going in and helping them sell our products.”
Life outside Philips is a big part of Life@Philips. It’s a very flexible place to work where families and hobbies are respected. I always tend to work from home on Fridays and encourage my team to do so too.
“If you join Philips, you can expect freedom and space. I work from home one day every week and I actively tell my team, “I don’t mind where you are. It’s the results and teamwork that counts.” Nowadays we can easily meet over Skype and I think having time out of the office is great to stimulate deep thinking and problem solving."

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