Growing up on a farm gave me a real freedom.
This spring issue shines a spotlight on growth, talent and education. Things that are important for us all! Ilse Overwater is the director of Private Banking at Rabobank. Having worked in the Rotterdam region for many years, the 41-year-old says growth and development are what fuel both her and her organization.
ILSE, CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
“I am originally from Hoeksche Waard, from a small village called Strijen. Growing up on a farm gave me a real freedom. My fascination for ‘growth’ started early on, with the crops we raised. In that sense, growth has been the common thread in my life. It led me to pursue several degrees, from Inholland University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam through to the IESE Business University Barcelona. With my specialization in financial planning, going into banking was a logical choice. I’ve worked at Rabobank since 2010 and have been able to do some exciting things there. First in the regional HR department, covering operations throughout Zuid-Holland, and now in private banking in the province. For me, it’s all about creating movement. It can be a puzzle, with different teams every time, but it’s what I love.”
WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ORGANIZATIONS TO STIMULATE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION?
“Companies need to develop on an ongoing basis and keep up with innovations. Human capital is the heart of a company, so you’ll always have to keep investing in that or you’ll wind up straggling behind. In my view, if you’re not moving forward, you’re going back- ward. I strongly believe we are heading towards a future of work oriented more around roles than titles. If we focus more on skills in diverse areas instead of pigeon-holing in job titles, teams and companies can be much more dynamic. At Rabobank, all of our employees get a personal development budget to spend on twelve skills as defined by the company. You can use it towards development for a future role but also for your existing role. Developments are going so much faster these days. Job descriptions can change completely in just five years, but skills almost invariably stay import- ant. They keep their intrinsic value, so that’s what you ought to invest in.”
WHAT SHOULD COMPANIES BE DOING TO ATTRACT TALENT?
“Companies need to offer new talent opportunities to show their stuff, to develop further and show how they can make a difference in society. Companies need to be willing to step off the beaten paths to attract people. The war for talent is real. Rabobank is a mission-driven organization. Growing a better world together is something we apply both internationally and locally. So, taking this idea, something I’ve done based on my own vision and role at Rabobank was to start posting vlogs on LinkedIn, and that resulted in two new candidates.”
WHAT IS RABOBANK DOING TO PROMOTE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY?
“One way we want to make a difference with Private Banking is through an initiative called the Coöperatie Kring [‘Co- operation Circle’, ed.]. This is a foundation that brings together small donors, of say 1,000 euros, to achieve greater impact. Rabobank is a sponsor of this foundation, which is working for equal opportunities for children in Rotterdam as part of the greater Rijnmond region. The foundation is currently working hard to build membership.” IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH READERS OF RCD MAGAZINE? “Socrates said: I do not claim wisdom, but only seek a true life. Always pursue truth. And then, if you accept that it’s important to keep learning and developing throughout life, stay open and inquisitive about everything and every- one around you. You can learn in small ways, too. What matters is staying open and true.”
Text: Céline Boute
Photography: Bastiaan de Haas