Karlijn Buis is the founder of Lighthouse Projects.
After 14 years of having worked in strategic and commercial roles in Shell, in which Karlijn has always looked for the link with sustainability, she decided she wanted to use her skills and experiences to contribute to the energy transition in the Netherlands.
Energy affects everything
Karlijn studied business administration in Rotterdam, with Business Society Management as a major. After completing her studies, she did not immediately have working in the energy transition in mind, but mainly wanted to focus on a socially relevant theme.
“I asked myself: where can I contribute? As far as I’m concerned, energy affects everything, the general prosperity of people, but also, for example, food supply, health care and education, so working in the energy sector was a logical choice for me.”
Transition to independence
Quite early in her career, Karlijn has had the opportunity to work in a diverse range of roles, from finance to sales and also in leadership positions. In her last role she worked on Shell’s energy transition strategy towards its B2B customers. That was the moment that she decided to explore if she could start up her own business and help other companies to accelerate the energy transition with her acquired knowledge and experience.
“I named my company Lighthouse Projects because I want to contribute to businesses and projects that set a beacon for the future. During my time at Shell, I learned that there is seldomly a lack of knowledge or expertise. Much more often it is about connecting this knowledge in the right way and at the right time – often across disciplines and organizational boundaries. I help companies to accelerate and scale up innovative and sustainable solutions. I do this by simplifying and structuring complex issues, developing new business models, clear strategies and action-oriented roadmaps, on the basis of which decisions can be made. This helps companies to realize their ambitions in a smart and efficient manner.
By functioning as a lighthouse, that has the overview and can point the way when the going gets tough, I fulfill a bridging function between different disciplines, people and organizations. In this way I contribute to accelerating the energy transition in the Netherlands. “
““My ultimate goal is to bring together the right team for each problem. That’s why I always try to understand what other people’s talents are, in order to be able to combine the right mix of characters, skills and experience at the right time, so that the best result can be achieved.
A network like 75inQ is therefore very relevant to me. It’s important to understand what everyone is doing in the energy transition. There are so many aspects to it, and you need everyone. And as Anouk rightly says: “You cannot be what you cannot see!”
All kids of diversity are needed
“My experience is that men and women have different qualities that potentially complement each other well. Of course, not all men and women are the same, but I already notice the differences in bringing up my own children (3 boys and a girl). Men generally tend to take more risks and can think bigger, whilst women tend to take longer term consequences more into account. I think women are in general more open to cooperation and building trusted relationships. I think these are very valuable traits, but in the end we need each other. You can’t get there with women alone either.
In addition, I think it is important to create a culture in which people listen to each other and are open to what everyone can bring. The diversity the energy transition needs is more than just gender. Combining different experiences, skillsets and personalities, non-traditional ways of thinking and forming partnerships are equally important. I hope to contribute to that. ”
There is no substitute for a good job
“The best career advice I can give you is ‘there is no substitute for a good job‘.
So if you ensure that you not only do a good job, but that you also build good relationships with the people you work with, it is invaluable. A network with people you trust and of whom you know what you can do for them and who know what to do with you, that works very well.
And for young professionals my advice is: stay true to yourself, but don’t be afraid, while you follow a larger path, to take a side road every now and then without knowing exactly what it will bring you, ‘it’s a jungle gym, not a ladder‘. ”