Female leaders are on the rise. At Philips we strive for equal opportunities for everyone, no matter what background you come from or what gender you have. However, it is still a given that there are less female leaders than male leaders. Why? And what have our successful female leaders done and experienced that they have succeeded to climb the business ladder to great heights? We will be talking to female leaders in the Benelux to get their expert tips on career management and finding the right balance. Sanne van Schoonneveldt, Director of Communications, Innovation and Strategy has some useful insights to share.
Sanne has spearheaded many teams. Her drive and ambition has brought her to different companies but has also helped her in deciding what career path to follow. What she has learned first and foremost is finding a balance. “Balancing my energy at work can be challenging, as my ambition comes with a high feeling of responsibility – and related workload. I try to regularly have a moment to pause, reflect and zoom out. Or just breathe for a minute at the lakeside of the High Tech Campus. Spending time with my husband and friends recharges me and I’m conscious about having quality time with them”, said Sanne.
Ambition is not a dirty word. Be explicit in what you need and how you contribute to your team’s success. If you see an interesting job opening: go for it!"
Don’t work so hard
Finding that time to recharge, is necessary, a necessity even. It is also the career advice Sanne has gotten frequently and one she has taken to heart. “It sounds strange, but I have been told a couple of times to not work so hard, said Sanne. “People aren’t hired and promoted simply because they work hard. It happens because the decision maker knows the character of the person and feels confident about his or her ability not only to do the job, but also to do it in a way that promotes collegial team relationships.”
Asked if that is the best career advice she herself would give, the answer is no. Sanne wants female workers to know: “Ambition is not a dirty word. Be explicit in what you need and how you contribute to your team’s success. If you see an interesting job opening: go for it! Don’t think that someone would have contacted you if you meet the requirements. Be proactive and show why you’re perfect for the role.”
Pippi Longstocking still inspires me today. I believe we can all benefit from being more like Pippi in a corporate environment at times, in order to drive positive change.”
The skills Sanne admires in other leaders are: courage, resilience and curiosity. Traits she also sees in her longtime role model: Pippi Longstocking. “Shestill inspires me today. She is the strongest girl in the world and lives by herself in a colorful house in the forest with her pet monkey and a horse. I just loved that,” beams Sanne. “Moreover, she’s independent and great fun to be with. She lives by her own rules, is adventurous and perfectly fine with being a little different. I believe we can all benefit from being more like Pippi in a corporate environment at times, in order to drive positive change. Or at least embrace the Pippis in our organization, who challenge conventions and get things done in an unexpected way.”
Sanne van Schoonneveldt
Director of Communications, Innovation & Strategy at Philips
Sanne is a results-driven Marketing & Communications leader. She has experience in leading strategic branding and communications programs at times of change. Key goals in her current position as Director of Communications for Philips Innovation & Strategy are: driving transformation in how Philips innovates and building its reputation as a health technology leader and digital solutions provider.
In her previous position at Philips, Sanne developed the first-ever Group level content strategy. This strategy is critical in in shifting perceptions of a legacy brand like Philips across multiple markets. Prior to joining Philips, Sanne founded and directed a boutique content marketing agency. Before this, she held the position of Head of Global Corporate Communications at Dorel Juvenile, where she played a key role in rebranding after multiple mergers and acquisitions, and successfully set up a central global Communications Center of Excellence.
Sanne studied International Business (MSc) at Maastricht University (Netherlands) with a major in Marketing; she also holds an MBA degree.
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