In the “Meet the Board Member” we profile a member of our ScaleUpBoard alumni community. Today we are speaking with Class 10 alumni, Cecile Veerman!
An enthusiastic and experienced innovation professional in Agri-food & bio-tech, ScaleUpBoard alumni, Cecile, has a MSc and PhD in food technology from Wageningen University. She previously worked for DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living for 15 years before starting her company BioKite and working as a Chief Operations EU and Innovation Officer at Impact Food Systems.
Learn more about Cecile and her experience in the ScaleUpBoard program below!
Meet… Cecile Veerman
What is your headline?
Innovation | Connector | People-Focused Leader
What are you passionate about professionally?
My passion is using innovation to make the world a better place. I get much energy from exploring new opportunities from multiple angles and to turn them into value. . In the food-agri-biotech field, innovation can be quite complex with a lot of roadblocks in your way. What I really like is removing barriers and connecting pieces and people to move to the next step of the innovation journey. I am highly enthusiastic about working in global settings and with interdisciplinary teams with people of diverse backgrounds.
What are your insights on board effectiveness that you received from going through the program?
The program is all about getting insights on how you can be a better board member but at its core the ScaleUpBoard program is about people. This was really illustrated in the case study where we worked extensively with other participants. You can see how people behave, ask questions and how they speak up. This, in combination with their backgrounds, really determines the dynamics of a board.
The program also puts emphasis on the values of a board and its members. This seems obvious but it is key to align with those values since you can’t always assume or expect that board members have the same values and intentions. I also found the “Ambidextrous Leadership” seminar by Anne Mieke Eggenkamp insightful and relevant to my work. Having an ambidextrous team is necessary for long term sustained high performance within a scale-up.
How do you want to add value to a board?
Having over 20 years of global experience in innovation in the food, agri and biotech industry allows me to ask the right questions and advise a team who is on their own innovation journey. In addition, I think that I have a good intuition understanding team dynamics and reading people.
People are key in achieving success and being successful as a company and to my opinion this is still an underestimated aspect. When I left my previous position, several people reached out and asked me to do (freelance) work for them because of my unique skill set of people, innovation and technical skills . I believe that my diversity of experience in corporate but also in a start-up makes me valuable in an advisory role.
Have you are on or have been on a board? Are you open to new board member roles at the moment?
I have never been on a board. This is something that I want to explore. I would be open to an advisory role to start with or a board position for a company close to my heart in the food-biotech-agri field.
What is the best piece of advice some gave to you?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” You can look or complain about things but in the end, it is important to proactively focus on what you want to contribute and try to achieve it. This means continuously taking little steps toward your goal. During all steps it is key to let go what you can’t control or change
What do you want your impact to be through your work?
I really want to create viable impact solutions from innovation to contribute to a world with more sustainable food production where we can secure abundant availability of affordable and nutritious foods.
Scale your impact as a board member
The next ScaleUpBoard class is kicking off on March 2023 in Amsterdam. You can find all of the details here. Get in touch with Jacqueline to save your seat:
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