Fresh supervisors speaking – part 1

Several renowned supervisors from Twente set up the Nieuw Toezicht (New Supervision) initiative. We need to start working on our need for fresh thinkers who will provide Twente’s organisations with new motivation and stimulation using their excellent and modern view of the world. An overwhelming number of people were interested in becoming an aspiring supervisor, but the selection was tough. The result was a group of fresh supervisors who started working, full of energy. How are they doing? Cindy Winkel, Ard Bossema and Maria Walters share their interesting insights.

Read the full article below
 
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In short

  • The Nieuw Toezicht initiative, set up by nine initiators from Twente, is looking for young talents with fresh perspectives for a position on a supervisory board
  • These fresh thinkers will be offered traineeships in companies and organisations as junior supervisors
  • Three aspiring supervisors share interesting insights from their traineeships
How does that work?

There you are, suddenly at a table or - in the past year - at your laptop. A new place in a new environment, as a trainee. What is that like?

Cindy Winkel is a commercial manager for Asito in her everyday life. She is now also connected to TMZ as a trainee supervisor through this initiative: “I have been a fan and enthusiastic about this initiative from the start. It is a unique opportunity for growing into a supervisory role. Not immediately having responsibilities gives you the opportunity to learn, observe and reflect. This time as a trainee also allows you to discover who I am as a supervisor and where my strengths lie. I am invited to every meeting, and the board members challenge me to fully participate.”

 

Being in this position was a new experience for Maria Walters as well. She is usually responsible for “Lang zult u wonen”, which focuses on the world of the elderly. Now, she joined Concordia in a world full of culture: “Nieuw Toezicht is a great initiative to me, and it came at just the right time. I had already made plans to investigate whether a supervisory position would suit me or not. I had just completed a short course on ‘Good Corporate Governance’ to learn more about supervision. After all, I had little to do with supervisors and their work in my own small business and my past as an employee. I didn’t have any role models. Nieuw Toezicht allowed me to take a look at and experience what supervision is in practice and how I can give meaning to it.”

Working with multiple stakeholders and supervisors was not unfamiliar to Ard Bossema, with his experience as a Chief Marketing Officer at Grolsch. Still, his traineeship as a supervisor at RTV Oost showed him a new perspective: “I have been a member of RTV Oost’s supervisory board since last year. It is a great and innovative organisation that focusses on the future. The media is constantly changing, and regional broadcasters face the challenge of staying relevant to the various target groups. As members of the supervisory board, we help and supervise the daily management at RTV Oost. My marketing background is a perfect match for this because I have a lot of media experience and its far-reaching digitisation. In other words, I immediately noticed that I could be of added value in the discussions.”

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Views on supervision

There are many different views on supervising. Some think it is something for old grey men when, for others, it is a healthy controlling body that ensures that directors are not alone in deciding the course and policies. 

 

The trainees have now gained some experience in this. How is your view on supervising now?

 

Ard: The image that used to come to me regarding supervising was that of elderly ladies and gentlemen who occasionally came to discuss the figures. However, my recent experiences at RTV Oost have shown me that the supervisory board is an energetic group of people who try to share their thoughts on policies and help the directors. We offer help when necessary, we challenge the organisation, and we want to help the organisation move forward. 

 

In my experience, supervising does take time; you want to understand what is going on in an organisation and know what happened before. Having another busy job during the day can, therefore, be quite a juggling act at times. I also notice that you sometimes tend to get too involved in the day-to-day business as a supervisor, which is not what you should be doing. On the contrary, it is best to look at the organisation from an appropriate distance… supervising, in other words!

 

Cindy confirms this: My view on supervising has not changed, but I have been able to reaffirm that a supervisory role is intensive. It takes time and attention. Supervising is not something you can just do on the side. It is, however, worth the effort because, as far as I can see, it brings broader perspectives and new networks. I have also noticed that it is important for a board to look at risks or how decisions are made, for example, from different knowledge areas and perspectives: that is what integrated supervision truly is. Having members with various profiles and areas of expertise promotes this integrated view. I hope that I will soon be contributing to that integrality as a ‘green’ supervisor with a young family while still working as well. 

 

Supervising in the cultural sector was new for Maria, who has experience in healthcare. She had the opportunity to be open-minded about it, though, as a trainee: “My view on supervising was mostly based on what I had read and heard about it during my supervising course, which I followed before this initiative started. It helps me with reflecting on the learning goals I set for myself beforehand. This traineeship has shown me what supervising is like in practice. I have learnt how the supervisory board and the director work together and how they deal with stakeholders. In my opinion, members of the supervisory board alternate nicely between control and advice for the director. It is also clear that the corona crisis is very tough in the cultural sector. The supervisory board keeps an eye out for the director and supports employees where possible on the one hand. On the other hand, the director thinks about different scenarios and shows the supervisory board how the business process will stay (financially) manageable. There was also a change in management while I was there, and I saw how the cultural governance code was applied. I have experienced a lot in a short time, and this has undoubtedly enriched my view.”

More information

The Nieuw Toezicht initiative was started by Inge Zwijnenberg, Wilma Toering, Wilma van Ingen, Regina Nieuwmijer, Annerie Bemthuis, Caroline Kamphuis, Sanne Lohman, John van der Vegt and Marc Woesthuis. 

 

Are you interested, or do you want to know more about this initiative?

Then please contact nieuwtoezicht@twente.com.

Date: 17 February 2021