Mandy Brussaard is one of the founding mothers of 75inQ and currently a member of the advisory board.
As an independent interim director with more than 10 years of management experience in more than 10 municipalities, Mandy is an expert in urban development and the related issues.
Speaking more than one language
After graduation, I took a classical path and started working at the ministry of traffic and water management. After five years, however, I wanted to be more hands-on and work where the ideas are close to realization. So I shifted to the municipality. I worked in several municipalities and had project management and management roles.
I like to work in as many different places as possible. It lets me have a broader perspective about what is going on both the public as well as the private sector.
Love the team you lead
I think being a leader suits me very well. The most important thing is to love your team!
I always use a little humor to light things up. At the end of the day, it is the human capital that is crucial for you. You should build up trust, listen to them and provide them what they need to do their job. You should make it a team effort and make everyone feel part of the team. And I think I can do this very well.
I worked for more than 30 years in male dominant environment. I can tell you a lot of anecdotes about gender balance. I had issues and I still have, but I don’t let it distract me. I knew I was good, so why would I care about people who think otherwise? I have guts and I’m not afraid to make mistakes, and I earn respect because of this.
Let me share a memory with you.
I was the interim manager and my whole team was about 50 employees, all men. After six or seven weeks, the youngest colleague came to me and said “I have a confession to make!”. And he continued explaining that he was upset about having a female manager, because he has never experienced it before. But after a while, he understood that he was wrong. He said “The way you make us feel like a team and take us into the decisions, is like no other manager that we had before!”.
I could have become upset, but I decided to embrace his bravery and thank him for sharing his thought with me.
Mission for a higher well-being
At a very young age, I knew that I wanted to improve the welfare of the people around me. I wanted to be a part of society and improve it. But I also let myself go with the flow. I followed my heart and looked at what makes my heart tick.
It is very helpful to know what you want to do at a young age, although I didn’t know it precisely. At the same time, it is important to be honest with yourself and don’t get stuck in a tunnel vision. Make sure to revise your ambition every other time and keep your eyes open for other opportunities.
A proper outcome of 75inQ
We are working to get the desired traction towards 75inQ. We are making progress but also have to continue reviewing our agenda. A good end result is to see people switching to the energy-transition domain and climb the ladder of organizations to high positions.