Before the outbreak of covid-19, we were able to have a chat with Alain de Schutter, who founded Stichting Kletsmajoor. Stichting Kletsmajoor is a foundation that connects students and interns with elderly in the Netherlands. We talked with Alain about his foundation and about how Kletsmajoor makes a difference.
How did you start Kletsmajoor?
‘Kletsmajoor has been started out of Monkeys and Bananas. Monkeys and Bananas is a marketing consultancy and I am one of the co-owners. A little over one and a half year ago, we started this company and we started working with quite big brands. Soon after, these companies more or less dictated our agendas. I started wondering why I created this company again and whether this was what I really wanted. It wasn’t. I was already a buddy with a guy from Eritrea and I helped him with very simple tasks in order for him to be more included in society. I noticed that this gave him joy and his joy also gave me joy.
I started reading about millennials and about adding value to people’s lives. I read that you create endorphins as soon as you are doing something for someone else. Then this question popped up: what if I give my interns a couple of hours a week within working time to help out elderly? And that’s how it started. The interns of our company got two hours a week to have a cup of coffee with elderly or to play cards with them.
It was successful and I thought it would be so useful if other companies also start doing this. There are so many interns every semester. They can have so much positive impact on the lives of elderly. Then I decided to create a foundation around the concept, to be able to have that impact.’
Why did you choose to help out elderly with Kletsmajoor?
‘Well, I did not choose for it myself. I asked the interns to choose themselves and it turned out that all of them wanted to help lonely elderly. I also noticed that it was useful to narrow the story down for people to understand the concept, so we did.’
And why interns?
‘There are so many young people nowadays with burn-outs. We wanted to show our interns that there are more important things in life than work and deadlines. This way, we are able to help elderly and we show young people who are at the start of their careers that work is not the only thing in life. This way we also hope to prevent them from having a burn out in a later stage of their career.’
What does the future hold for Stichting Kletsmajoor?
‘We have extended our network and we are talking to different companies and organizations who also work with interns. We start small and we are currently organizing this for our own interns and for interns of the municipality of Breda. We see this phase rather as a pilot phase. But in the meantime we are in the process of making partnerships with other companies and organizations in Breda to have more positive impact with our foundation.’
Do you want to learn more about Stichting Kletsmajoor? Check out their website: https://stichtingkletsmajoor.nl/
Foto: Wiebke Wilting
Recently, we visited the headquarters of Sea Going Green in Amsterdam. Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy, headed by Aleksandra Dragozet. During our visit, we talked about setting up a business, how Aleksandra makes a difference and how she sees the future.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
‘I am the founder and CEO of Sea Going Green. My parents are Serbian and Croatian and they decided to move to Canada, where I mostly grew up. Before turning the age of 21, I had already lived in six different countries and I travelled a lot. However, during all those travels I got to see not only the great and positive effects of traveling, but also what negative impact it can have on communities. Every year, we used to go to a small beach town. At the time, it was not very touristy, but in a short time, it became quite popular. The people in the village were able to make money off of the tourism during the summers. However, during the winters they were cleaning up after those tourists. Tourism really affected the water quality and the beach quality. I decided to make it my goal to make tourism more sustainable from that point on.’
Why did you start Sea Going Green?
‘I couldn’t find the job I wanted to do after graduating from marine biology which would merge my two passions together – tourism and the marine environment. I had interned at a big NGO, which sometimes meant working at quite a slow pace. I liked to see more results quickly. I also did research at a research institute. During that time, I was mostly spending time in a lab and my supervisor was spending the majority of her time writing grants. That was also not what I wanted to spend my whole time on. The United Nations World Tourism Organization named 2017 the year for sustainable tourism , and this seemed to perfectly merge my two passions together so I started looking into consultancies around this but couldn’t find any that specific. Then I decided that I wanted to unite my two passions: traveling and marine biology as a career, so I started a sustainable tourism consultancy. I already had a lot of contacts in tourism and I started researching the needs of the tourism sector. It kind of snowballed from there.’
How do you make a difference?
‘We focus on carbon footprint measurements. We aim to lower the impact of the tourism industry on the environment. An example of this is lowering single use plastic, plastic pollution and fuel use. Local communities can really benefit from this as they no longer have to live in the trash that tourism leaves behind. With our online content, we also inspire people that travel to become better visitors. We encourage them to treat their destination like their own homes. In your own home, a lot of people also recycle and don’t leave trash behind so a holiday should be no different. ’
What kind of leader do you want to be?
‘Mainly a fair leader. I want to be the best for my team, so we can achieve our mission and the goal of making tourism more sustainable. I want to be motivated and healthy for them, so I can support them in every possible way. I also had a lot of mentors and advisors, which is so useful. Every day, I also learn from friends.’
You did not start this too long ago. Your company is considered to be a startup, which can be at times quite a challenge. How do you keep motivated?
‘Right now, my projects give me energy. The team that I have around me gives me a huge responsibility, but I do have supportive and very impact driven people around me. I really love to see how they have grown. Most of my team started as interns and afterwards I could offer them a position. That really makes me happy. I always wanted to work for purpose and impact. Giving back gives me energy to go on.’
How do you see the future of sustainable tourism and Sea Going Green?
‘I would like to have impact worldwide. We aim to have an impact in all travel hotspots in the world. I hope I can say during my lifetime that my mission has finished, but unfortunately it will never be perfect. Sustainability is such a complex multi-stakeholder issue. There are always challenges, but I do think that we can tackle the plastic issue.’
If you go on holiday, what products do you advise to readers? And what other tips can you give?
‘I think behavioural change is key. People do not act as at home when they travel. Take your recycling habits to your destination and don’t depend on your destination for reusable items, like water bottles. Make your own sustainable travel kit. What helps me as well, is taking no flight challenges for a few months of the year. I do it myself a lot. I really look forward to Eurostar, so we can take the train to London instead of flights.
Do you also want to know more about sustainable tourism? Check out www.seagoinggreen.org
Do you want to learn how you can reduce your environmental impact while traveling? You can download free guides through their website: https://www.seagoinggreen.org/sustainabletourismguides
A little while ago, we got the opportunity to speak with one of the board members of a MAD organization: Conscious Kitchen. This organization aims to promote a conscious and sustainable living. They do so by organizing weekly dinners in The Hague and Leiden with leftover food. During our meeting, we sat down with Anu, who told us more about the initiative.
What is Conscious Kitchen?
‘At the Conscious Kitchen, we organize weekly dinners to promote community, conscious living and sustainability. We aim to bring people together over food, and in doing so create awareness about food waste and show how to cook with any fruits and veggies given to you and how good plant-based food can be. We make sure that all our dinners are produced in a sustainable way, either by using food from local markets that would otherwise be wasted, or by sourcing it from local and organic producers.’
How did Conscious Kitchen start?
‘I was living in The Hague and I noticed that a group of students were rescuing food and cooking meals for the local community. I thought that was a very interesting initiative, so I joined. I like cooking. However, after a few months this group stopped, because it was far too much for them. I thought it would be a shame if this initiative was dropped. So, I teamed up with another guy and we tried to keep it going. After a while, more and more people became enthusiastic and our organizing team was growing. Since then, we have been organizing weekly dinners.’
How does Conscious Kitchen make a difference?
‘We are a nonprofit and we try to make a difference in three ways. Sustainability, community and conscious living. They speak for themselves except for conscious living. That is more about raising awareness. We aim to be an inspiring organization where people can learn about new things or see how things can be done differently when it comes to a more conscious lifestyle. One of the ways we make a difference is the community aspect. We bring people together and a lot of people find their sense of belonging here. There are so many internationals and people living in their own bubbles. Conscious Kitchen connects all these people. We do that by rescuing fruit and vegetables and on a weekly base, we make delicious vegan meals out of that. We charge 6 euros per meal. During those dinners, new connections and friendships are being born.’
How do you spread the goals of the organization?
‘Every week, we start our dinners with a pitch about why we are doing this. After the pitch, we start eating and on the table, we discuss different topics of conscious living. Nowadays, we have around 80 people joining our dinners, so during those dinners we reach quite some people. Every week, we have also new people coming since we have started this initiative. It is amazing to see new faces every dinner. People usually see it on facebook or they hear it from acquaintances. We do not distribute flyers. We are only active online and somehow everyone knows about it. I guess it is the whole social thing.’ Want to get involved? Every week, Conscious Kitchen organizes dinners made from rescued fruits and vegetables in The Hague. Everyone can get involved in the creation of the event. You can volunteer to help them pick up food, cook, serve or clean. If you are unable to donate your time, you can also donate some money to support the dinners and make sure they continue. You can check out their website for more info: https://www.consciouskitchen.nl/
On the 9th of October, our partner BECIS|DIOR is organising a Public Leadership Challenge about “The limits to digitalisation”. During this event, we focus on one of the biggest challenges the digital revolution brings: How do we keep our digital society inclusive?
Nowadays, the services of both government and in the private sector are becoming ever more digital. The question rises: is everyone able to participate? Can every citizen make full use of all the posibilities technological development brings, or are we broadening the gap between differents groups in our society? How do we make sure that all people have a worthy role to play in our digital society?
During this Public Leadership Challenge, you get the chance to advise key stakeholders on the question:
Which kind of leadership is needed form government, tech companies and citizens to create an inclusive digital society?
This event is open for Dutch speaking professionals, academics and students. Interested? Check out the event page of our partner BECIS!
Please note, this event will be in Dutch.
Do you want to engage in public leadership activities? Are you a communication talent, a great networker and/or do you want to develop partnerships to anchor public leadership?
The Public Leadership Foundation (PLF) is looking for a
Public Leader with a great network
to strengthen our board and movement!
The purpose of the PLF is to develop public leadership together. We are setting out to be MAD (Making A Difference) through EPIC leadership (Energy, Purpose, Identity and Courage).
The PLF is a young and ambitious foundation. We want to anchor public leadership in society by connecting public, private and third sectors based on our shared purpose.
Over the years we organised multiple events internationally and gave workshops at several congresses. Last year, we gave out the first ever MAD award to an initiative that really makes a difference. Next year we want to continue growing, both in The Netherlands and Europe. Therefore, we need YOU!
We are looking for people who like to:
- Contribute to strengthening our MAD movement
- Strengthen and further build our network
- Bring our communication and exposure to the next level
- Develop partnerships based on our purpose
- Attract sponsors for PLF events and activities by MAD people
- Want to contribute to the PLF purpose and vision?
- Show leadership with a purpose?
- Have humor (we take this seriously)?
And are you:
- A networker in the public and private sphere and not hesitating to take a business like approach?
- Willing to learn and helping others to grow?
- Looking for an ambitious platform and an energetic team to work in?
Than we really would like to meet you!
Send us your motivation in any way (we care less about formal documents, but writing your motivation is one of the many options) to our email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information contact René de Jong (06-57897521) and of course be our guest during one of the next PLF events (see our calendar online).
On Friday the 22nd of November the annual MAD-event took place at the ministry of Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid (SZW). The event was about public leadership and making a difference. We were proud to invite a few very inspiring social entrepreneurs and initiatives that really try to make a difference.
The event was opened by our board members Ben Kuiper and René de Jong. Réne brought us back to the philosophy of the Public Leadership Foundation by explaining EPIC leadership: the shared responsibility and action to make a difference! Al the nominees for the Mad-award show EPIC leadership: these initiatives and social entrepreneurs make a difference within our society by showing public leadership trough Energy, Purpose, identity and courage. We were also proud to welcome Simon Duits, representative of JongSZW, who made a connection between SZW and public leadership.
Next on the program were the workshops about public leadership. The first workshop was held by Tanachia Ashikali. Tanashia is an expert in the field of diversity management, leadership and inclusivity in public orgnisation. She provided a workshop about inclusive leadership. The second workshop was held by Arzu Catakli and Gavir Breidel. They gave a workshop about paradoxical leadership. Arzu Catakli contributes with pleasure to organizational development by focusing on the development of people. Besides her work as MD she works as an executive coach and trainer. Gavir Breidel is a freelance trainer, he provides training programs for people that like to develop soft skills. He is convinced that these kind of skills are needed to make a difference.
For the Mad-event 2019 we invited initiatives and social entrepreneurs to give them a platform. The MAD-event is about connection and inspiring people. We facilitated ‘meeting-rounds’ so the vistors of the event could meet the initiatives and get inspired by their stories. Schooling for Life, Buurvrouw&BuurvrouwBus, Hofpleintrien, TrashUre Hunt, Conscious Kitchen, Olijf and the NoEscaperoom Foundation participated in the meeting rounds.
For the first time the Public Leadership Foundation presented an award for the initiative that made the biggest difference. The MAD-award was presented by the jury members: Giulietta Marani, (Co – founder van de Public Leadership Foundation); Nienke Bos (Co-founder blikverruimers), Dino Suhonic (Director at Maruf). The jury was proud to announce Buurvrouw&BuurvrouwBus as the winner of the MAD-award 2019. The jury chose De Buurvrouw&BuurvrouwBus as the winner because they connect people with each other in an accessible way, combats loneliness and contributes to a more inclusive society.
We are excited to announce the jury for the MAD-award 2019.
Giulietta Marani – Program manager at ICTU and Digicampus
Giulietta Marani helps organizations reinvent the way they work, collaborate, share information and knowledge. Exploring necessary frameworks and ecosystems. Gaining insight in innovative and technological developments and their impact. She works as a program manager at ICTU and Digicampus and is a former founder and board-member of the Public Leadership Foundation. She believes organizations and their co-workers can only reinvent themselves if they pursue exchange of both talent and knowledge. Taking responsibility to Make A Difference. Outside of their own comfort zone. Getting inspired by others. Like the MAD stories.
Dino Suhonic – Executive director at Maruf Foundation
Dino Suhonic is executive director of Maruf, queer Muslim organisation in the Netherlands, high school teacher and opinion maker. Dino is Bosnian, gay and Muslim. He frequently speaks and writes about queer Muslims, multiple discrimination and intersections of LGBTQI-phobia and islamophobia. He started the first empowerment program for queer Muslims in Netherlands. Maruf is the co-founder of the ‘Global Queer Muslim Network’, founder of European Queer Muslim Network and facilitates different queer Muslim platforms on national and international level. Dino Suhonic also appeared in several Dutch television programs and writes for newspapers like NRC, Volkskrant and De Correspodent.
Nienke Bos – Policy advisor at the Ministry of Justice an Safety
Nienke is a policy advisor at the Ministry of Justice and Safety. Nienke is writing her dissertation at the Radboud University Nijmegen about the ban of politic parties. She is also one of the founders of Blikverruimers. An organization that trains young supervisors and enables a network for young and senior supervisors. Blikverruimers has created various programs for different organizations like Rabobank and Deloitte. Public leadership is important for the future: for the more experienced generation and for the new generation. We should all try to make the world a better place. That’s why the MAD is so important.
Let me introduce myself,
My name is Ariane, I am 26 years old and today I start my internship at the Public Leadership Foundation.
I grew up as the daughter of an entrepreneur. I often got the question “Are you going to take over the families business?”. All the conversations at the dinner table involving topics such as tactics, money and profit made me realize that the private sector didn’t inspire me. I got more intrigued by the public sector instead. How can we make a difference for the whole society in a non-profit way. That’s when I decided to start my bachelor in Public Administration. After finishing my BA I wanted to specialize more in public sector management. During my masters I learned more about public leadership and the difference it can make. The curiosity about public leadership made me decide to do more research on the topic and actually write my Master Thesis about the effects of Public Leadership. Now I’ve come to a point in my research where I want to combine theory and practice, so I can experience the difference public leadership can make and use that as input for my research.
In the upcoming months I will be involved in organizing the MAD-event 2019 and other activities of the Public Leadership Foundation.
I am very motivated to start this public leadership journey!
Over the last five years, we have encountered many initiatives that give meaning to the term MAD leadership. We have seen individuals and organisations taking initiative – big and small – to make a difference! During the last four editions of our annual MAD event, we brought together those initiatives in order to inspire and learn from each other. At #MAD2019, we are planning to take it a step further! On the 22nd of November, for the first time in the history of the Public Leadership Foundation, the MAD award will be given to an initiative the makes a difference through EPIC leadership.
The winner gets a trophy and a platform, for the further development of their initiative. Furthermore, #MAD2019 provides the winner with a podium to promote their initiative, network and share ideas with other MAD leaders in our network of inspirational partners.
The criteria for contestants?
- Are you MAD? You can make a difference in many difference ways, as long as you contribute to a better world. From your own kitchen or back yard, in your street or neughbourhood or in the entire universe.
- Are you EPIC? Making a difference is EPIC. The initiative uses your own Energy, Purpose, Identity and Courage.
- Do you make your difference together? Making a difference is more effective when you do it together. We care for inclusiveness, without distinction of people’s characteristics, backgrounds or preferences.
Does your initiative match this description? You can register candidates on www.mad-award.nl!
Our good friend and former chair Rune Todnem By was invited by TEDx, to share his view on the public leadership needed to improve society. What followed was powerful speech, in which he intertwines a personal story with a broader call for MAD leadership. Against the background of the environmental crisis, Rune calls for a shift in the way perceive leadership. It’s time to take responsibility and go EPICally MAD!