In the coming months, we’ll be having “conversations” with our consultants about their background in learning and development, the Xprtise projects that make them proud, and their vision on the greatest challenges in Learning & Development in the coming years. This time, it’s our office manager Marieke van Zuilen’s turn. Marieke has a background in marketing, communications, and events and has been the face of the Xprtise office in ‘s-Hertogenbosch since May 2018. At the office Marieke handles all organizational and administrative tasks, and she supports both the Dutch and the American Xprtise teams in their daily work.
Who? Marieke van Zuilen (36).
What? Office manager at Xprtise since May 2018.
Where? Xprtise NL, ’s Hertogenbosch.
“A colleague recently said, “You’ve really given me my job back!” I think that’s an amazing compliment!”
I greatly enjoy living with my boyfriend and five-year-old daughter in Rosmalen, not far from the Xprtise office. I have a background in marketing, communications, and event organization. For about nine years I worked at a communications and networking distributor, where I organized fairs, events, and training courses, among others. I was the coordinator between the organization and the advertising agency, and I supported the internal and external sales team, the product managers, and the board in their daily tasks. Because I wanted to work closer to home, I first got a job as a marketing employee at an education company in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and then I made the switch to Xprtise as office manager! It’s a nice job with a lot of variety and freedom: among others, I help my colleagues with administration, preparing 5 Moments of Need™ projects and training programs, our participation in the Performance Journey trip to Elliot Masie’s Learning in Orlando, and various personnel affairs.
The variety of tasks means that no day is the same. I enjoy relieving my colleagues behind the scenes by picking up the work that isn’t part of their regular job. A colleague recently said, “You’ve really given me my job back!” I think that’s an amazing compliment! I take their work off their hands and they can count on me to take care of it.
What gives you the most energy? What is your passion?
I’m really a social creature; I love to go out and do fun things. Drinks, a walk through the forest or on the beach, a day trip, a concert, or travelling far away. At the office I get a lot of energy from doing all sorts of different tasks, and I enjoy having several balls in the air at once. In addition, I get a lot of energy from our team. We’re all enthusiastic, we work hard, and we have a lot of fun. My function as office manager requires me to be present at the office. My colleagues regularly work on client premises or abroad. (Laughing) So I’m also part of the office furniture.
How do you like working in the field of Learning & Development
The L&D sector is new for me and very much in development, so I’m also learning and discovering a lot myself. Xprtise works with the 5 Moments of Need™ methodology, which really appeals to me. You can really see that it concretely helps people. And besides, how nice is it for learning to really be focused on you personally, instead of on a large group where the content doesn’t always match your own learning needs?
What do you think is Xprtise’s distinguishing characteristic?
That is (1) the team. We’re very different consultants with different backgrounds and personalities, but we’re all very enthusiastic and driven. Because the team is small, you know what to expect from each other and can act quickly in projects. And (2) the method we use: the 5 Moments of Need™. What’s nice is that this methodology is applicable within all companies and organizations and isn’t limited to a specific sector. It’s not for nothing that we won an international Learning Award with one of these projects.
What projects are you working on? And which one are you most proud of?
Among others, I’m working on preparing various events. Xprtise will attend the Next Learning event in April. That same week we’re organizing a Bootcamp with Bob Mosher together with Next Learning, and one of our client events will be taking place too. We’re also offering a new Master Class again, and a new training program will be starting in June. In the run up, I’m making sure that everything runs smoothly and I’m taking a lot of administrative and facility issues off my colleagues’ hands.
A larger project that I’ve recently started preparing for again in my role at the 5 Moments of Need™ Academy Europe is the annual Performance Journey trip to Elliott Masie’s Learning event in Orlando. We’re not only attending the congress, but also organizing an additional program for participants to take a look in the “L&D kitchen” at large organizations and to speak to them about their vision on Learning & Development. Looking back at last year’s edition – when the 5 Moments of Need™ Academy Europe organized an all-inclusive trip for 50 people – I’m very happy and proud when I hear that the participants found the trip even better and more interesting than they could have imagined beforehand.
What do you think the greatest challenges will be in L&D in the coming years?
Learning and development is so different from years ago. If I compare how we used to learn and how my daughter learns now, there’s a world of difference! For example, they work with iPads in their class. We didn’t have that. In fact, we didn’t even have a computer. They also work a lot in groups to learn from each other, to explore together and to come up with solutions. We learned from a teacher who stood at the front of the class. So there’s been a huge shift in education. That’s also true in company life, but it’s still lagging behind. The solutions we offer with Xprtise are specified and personalized to the individual learning need. I believe that that’s the future. In that way you can get the best out of yourself and learn faster, more easily, and more. You’re given the knowledge at your workplace at a time that suits you or when you need it. You’re never too old to learn, so how nice is it when your learning needs are fully in line with you and your work!?
“You’re never too old to learn. How nice is it when your learning needs are completely in line with you and your work?”