Meet the jury

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.

Dino Suhonicfoto: Frank Ruiter

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.



Start of a new public leadership journey

Let me introduce myself, 14902692_10210816206221257_1726496800723737552_o

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!



First ever MAD award to be granted at #MAD2019

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!

Are you ready to go MAD? An inspiring TEDxTalk by Rune Todnem By

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!

Plastic Soup Surfer

merijnLast month, we talked to Merijn Tinga. Merijn is also known as the Plastic Soup Surfer. He raises awareness around plastic pollution in Europe using his surfboard as a weapon. He also created the Pick up 10 app ( to activate others to pick up and photograph litter in their environment. We asked him about how he started this initiative, the activities he is organizing and future plans.

How did you start this adventure?
I am a biologist and an artist. I was always concerned with societal themes as an artist. Then I decided that I wanted to surf a long tour and I wanted to make a statement with the plastic that I would find on the beaches. So that’s what I did: I started an expedition the raise awareness for the plastic soup that we all together create. From the plastic that i find, I make surfboards. The surfboards are the message and I exhibit them.

What is your mission?
The most important to me is to make a difference. With my activities, I am influencing policymakers and I am making society aware of a big problem we have right now. My campaigns are on the one hand focussed on raising awareness among the masses, but also on very concrete steps we could to in order to improve the situation like deposit money.

One of the most important things about my campaigns is the call to action. I started a petition in order to expand deposit money in the Netherlands on plastic products. Furthermore, when I made my tour on my surfboard, I also visited CEOs of big companies. Currently we are making a documentary about plastic to raise awareness.

What is your impact so far?
The most important is the plastic soup surfer petition for the expansion of the deposit money on pet bottles. That petition ended up in the parliament and that created a lot of visibility for my message and the foundation.

We also went with a team to candy producing companies to talk to them about their consumption of plastic. Together we accelerated the process of finding alternatives for plastic wrappings of candy. We are taking small steps in order to make a big difference.

You said we, do you have a community surrounding you?
I am in a team with two volunteers. They are responsible for the program. I am the spokesman of the organization. Our organization is a foundation and exists because of donations, so we do depend on a community supporting us. Furthermore, I am in touch with different policy advisors. I met them through my activities.

What can others do to help you?
People can always make donations or use the pick up 10 app in order to overcome future littering. And try to reduce your own plastic consumption. Take your own mug to your work and take your own bag when you go shopping.

Do you have some advise for others that want to make a difference?
Think big, but start with really small steps. This way you allow yourself to build up your success. Success starts where others stop. Push on and search for small success. From there you are able to build up slowly and you are able to grow further and develop yourself. That is after all what you can do fastest: developing.





Welcome to our MAD partner BECIS!

In 2017 already, the PLF and BECIS found each other in the joint organisation of a Public Leadership Challenge. Together with the Leiden Leadership Centre, both parties organised a challenge about which leadership is needed to promote citizen autonomy in the digital society. A great initiative, showing the commitment BECIS has to Making a Difference in Society. 

BECIS is a consultancy bureau operating in the Netherlands, working on information management projects in the (semi) public sector. The company is committed to Make A Difference by focusing on its social responsibility and running a sustainable business, but especially by focussing on the development of (young) talent.  

In the partnership between BECIS and the Public Leadership Foundation, special focus goes to the development of leadership both within our organisations and in society. With workshops, the joint organisation of Public Leadership Challenges and more exciting initiatives to develop, we enable MAD leadership together!

MAD community dinner for One Young World

During One Young World The Hague 1800 young leaders from all over the world are gathering to work on a better world. Education, Environment, Health, Human Rights, Poverty – anyone of any background, age or position can truly Make A Difference. Let’s be MAD together!

We are very proud as Public Leadership Foundation to organize a community dinner during the OYW summit on October 19th 2018 and connect global and local leadership. Delegates from Australia to Paraguay will connect with residents of Escamp district in The Hague. During an informal dinner, we share how we all can make a difference.

The community dinner is organized in cooperation with Xtra and Conscious Kitchen. Xtra provides us with a wonderful location and facilities in Escamp and Conscious Kitchen helps us to prepare a delicious zero-waste vegan menu.

For more info see also:


Eva Kleingeld is one of this years EPIC apprentices. During her apprenticeship Eva will regularly blog and vlog about her MAD experiences.


So this is the second time I am posting something about the EPIC apprenticeship. I decided to write something this time as I feel more comfortable writing at this very moment. In this article, I will give some more insights on the EPIC apprenticeship, finding my own leadership and the achievements and obstacles I encounter.

Right now, we are at the point that we had three training days of the EPIC apprenticeship. We have learned a lot during the past three meetings. The last meeting, we defined our own Energy, Purpose, Identity and Courage. In my opinion, this was very helpful. We paired up and talked about how we viewed each other in all of the matters. We provided each other from helpful feedback. The atmosphere was cheerful (as always) and very open. The latter is so extremely important to me. I have the feeling that this is also contributing to us learning more and more and I start to believe that openness is key in learning about yourself.

In the meantime I also met my coach (you get a personal coach during the apprenticeship who helps you achieving your personal goals). We met up twice now. I was so happy to meet Dennis. He is not only a very friendly and intellectual person, but he’s also a bit of an example to me. He is active in politics and he owns a succesful company. He seems to be very passionate about everything he is doing. He gives me homework to achieve my goals plus he gives me the right handles to apply in real life. Right now, I am reading two books for my “homework” (does not really feel like homework as I love reading about philosophy).

At work, I do notice difference. I initiate more and more, but I also ask for more feedback. This is helping me a lot. I feel empowered and I have the feeling I can achieve a lot more.

Naturally, during the course of life and also during the course of this apprenticeship, I encountered some difficulties. Next to my job I am also active for different organizations as a volunteer. In one of those I also attempted to show leadership. I wanted to be MAD and I was about to initiate a new step. This time, unfortunately, life hit me in my face and I got demotivated and decided not to follow my purpose this time. Did I feel energized by stepping down? No. Did I feel courageous? More like a big loser.

I guess being MAD has its ups and downs. MAD people might not always be able to follow their purpose everytime they just want to. It does not only depend on your energy, identity or courage. Sometimes, the timing is just not right, I believe. And yes, I do believe that timing is a big thing. What to do when timing is not in your favour? Cry your eyes out for 30 minutes… go on and show your energy, purpose, identity and courage again. Only that way timing will favour you as well in the end. Be EPIC!

– Eva Kleingeld
Check out Eva’s second bog ‘making impact’ here!

Public Leadership Challenge: Autonomy in the digital society

Thursday afternoon 31 May the Public Leadership Challenge took place in the Living Lab, of Leiden University The Hague. During this afternoon, a diverse group of professionals, academics and students focused on the challenge of autonomy in the digital society. Working together on this complex and interesting theme led to creative and innovative ideas about the role of leadership in the digital society.

Autonomy in the digital society

After a warm welcome of René de Jong, board member of the PLF and moderator of the PLC, and an introduction of the organizing partners PLF and BECIS, the Challenge started with a mini lecture. Professor Steunenberg gave an introduction about the theme. In his mini lecture he presented the state of the art of the academic literature about the role of citizens, public policy, data and digital society. After this lecture, it was time for the stakeholders to present their point of view and interests.


The citizen, government and private sector

When it is about autonomy in the digital society, different actors with different, and often opposing, interests are involved. To present these different interests, three stakeholders were asked to present their point of view and interest concerning the theme of autonomy in the digital society. The National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, represented ‘the citizen’. The government perspective was presented by Anja Lelieveld, Dutch Ministry of Interior affairs who is preparing the Dutch government’s digital agenda. The private sector, then, was represented by Jan Kooiker, who is director of BMconsultants, specialized in digital solutions.

Working in dynamic sub-groups

To find an answer to the challenges set out by the National Ombudsman, the Ministry of Interior affairs and the private company, the participants were divided into four groups that were asked to create a clear picture of the challenge. In this first round the sub-groups discussed the problem, the causes, effects and important people and organizations involved. After the groups shortly presented their results to the others groups and to the stakeholders, they searched for possible solutions and the role of leadership in this. The great diversity of the participants meant that there was a dynamic, interactive discussion about the various challenges.062018-plciii

Results, autonomy and leadership

To add to the philosophical perspective in the debate about autonomy in the digital society, dr. Marcel Beckers provided a keynote about ethics. Questions such as ‘ What is autonomy’? led to an interesting debate.  The work in the sub-groups finally resulted in creative posters and concrete advice for the stakeholders. The advice for the stakeholders was an agile model, in which the citizens, the government and private companies work together in ‘innovation labs’ and using a ‘see-feel-change’ philosophy. Leadership is essential in this model and is shared among the parties involved. It was impressive to see what the dynamic and interactive nature of this challenge had accomplished in only a few hours. Seeing how the proposals were received by the stakeholders was a beautiful end to a very worthwhile afternoon. During the drinks afterwards the participants talked further about the theme and exchanged their ideas, opinions and possible solutions.


The PLC 2018 was a successful joint initiative by the Public Leadership Foundation, BECIS and the Leiden Leadership Centre of Leiden University – Campus The Hague

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