"Everyone here shares the same passions, and this helps build real team relationships."
Describe your journey with the company so far, your current role, and what excites you about working here.
I joined the company in the Netherlands in 1996, and after various Finance roles – including the leadership of several major, transformational projects - I moved to Australia in 2007. I took over the Continuous Improvement (CI) role within Finance, looking at ways to make the company more efficient, and then became the overall CI manager for Australia, initially under expat terms but later as a local employee. I am now Operations Manager for the Coffee and Tea factory in Kingsgrove in Sydney. Coffee is a bit like wine, and working with the factory has opened my eyes to the entire process and what's involved. I grew up with Douwe Egberts, the number one coffee brand in the Netherlands, so now it's exciting to be part of the whole production cycle. Everyone here shares the same passion for coffee and this helps build real team relationships.
As a finance specialist, what do you see as the benefits of working within D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753?
The strength of our business is that we work across the functions, we don't operate in silos. For instance, a marketing expert can knock on my door and ask for my opinion, or offer me a taste of a new blend of tea. We have one company goal, with one shared value stream; and creating a Continuous Improvement team to cover all functions illustrates how professionals can work outside of their own specialisations for the overall benefit of the business.
What are your career highlights?
As a native Dutchman, the celebration of Douwe Egberts' 250th anniversary was very special. It's inspiring to work with a household brand that still exists after all these years, and is still expanding. It was always my ambition to travel with my career, and the culture and climate of Australia made the country a very attractive proposition. So to be able to move to Sydney - 26,470km from Amsterdam - and work with the same brands is the kind of thing I dreamed about when I was young. Looking back, I cannot think how I would have achieved this transition without the support of the business to help me achieve my personal and professional goals.
Do you have any advice for today's graduates - the leaders of tomorrow?
Graduates should aim to work across an organisation, and not just think about progressing upwards within their own areas. It's also important to share your dreams and tell people about your ambitions – because this makes them real. If you don't ask, you'll never know.
How important to you are the company's core values?
Innovation is clearly important, and involves everyone working here. We need a constant flow of new ideas and new products to stay ahead, and we need to think fast – like our consumers. We are already seeing examples of this.