Among the buildings soaring over Rotterdam’s central station plaza is Delftse Poort. Its tall towers create a cosmopolitan feel at the gateway to RCD and are home to a wide variety of merchants and businesses. Lieke Poppe, Community Manager at Delftse Poort, WTC Utrecht and the UP Office Building in Amsterdam, is devoted to this complex in the Central District and hopes to quickly expand the community in parallel with the location.
Lieke, could you tell us about your background?
“After graduating with a degree in marketing, communication and management, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. The wife of the then general manager of CAST - a B2B trade centre for accessories, bags and shoes - put me in touch with the company, and I was there 19 years. Though I never planned to stay that long, things worked out differently. Partly because there are so many things I enjoy, plus I’m not quick to say no. I did every job in the company, from organizing trade fairs, event management, reception and bookkeeping right through to being general manager. I was the general manager for six years, but realized fairly soon that the shoe didn’t fit. I like working alongside other people and being close to the action, and after 19 years it was time for something new.”
How did you become a community manager?
“After leaving CAST, I took a nine-month sabbatical to figure out what I wanted. Going from leading a company to regular management is a step down, of course, and the work is very different – from making policy to executing it, but it was clear pretty quickly that this suits me much better. In August 2019 I started as CBRE’s community manager. I like to make people happy, and that’s also what makes me good at this job. Working with people, making them happy and surprising them: that’s what energizes me.”
What exactly does your job entail?
“A community manager is the soft added value piece of the real estate puzzle. I organize events, activities, presentations and lots of other things to connect people with the building. And not only with the building, but also with each other and the location. There’s quite a lot going on here: activities to have fun and unwind, mental well-being groups and also athletic events, and we’re refining and expanding our Delftse Poort app. These are all elements we’re working on, sometimes packaged in a campaign, like the gigantic sticker on the building. They’re always well-received and people get actively involved. Aside from that, I’m also a listening ear for tenants. I try to get feedback from them about possible improvements.”
What do you feel is important in the Central District?
“What’s important from my point of view is to enlarge the connection between Delftse Poort and RCD. Together with Rob, I’d like to investigate opportunities to link more Delftse Poort tenants with the RCD Association. This hasn’t made much headway yet because of the lockdown and long-time impossibility of organizing things. In the future I do want to give a little extra attention to more positive liveliness in RCD to give the people who live, work and pass through here a good and proud feeling about the district.”
Job: Community manager
Favourite spot: Trattoria A Proposito – such a good and cosy place to eat!
Hobbies: Cooking and meals with friends, but I also love losing myself in a book or a Netflix series.
Text: Céline Boute
Photography: Ruben Stam