In the “Meet the Board Member” we profile a member of our ScaleUpBoard alumni community. Today we are speaking with Class 10 alumni, Gert-Jan Strik!
Gert-Jan is a financial and strategy expert who spent just under 6 years at KPN where he ascended to the position of Coordinator of Financial Control. He then moved to the position of Finance Manager at NPM Capital before changing gears to field of media production. Currently he is the CFO of ANP, the largest supplier B2B supplier of news and information in The Netherlands.
Check out his interview below where he discusses his mission through his work and his take aways from the ScaleUpBoard program!
Meet… Gert-Jan Strik
What is your headline?
Analytical & conceptual thinker | Concrete strategy| Bringing focus | Team player
What are you passionate about professionally?
I find the translation of strategy into operations particularly fascinating. Making a plan is one thing, but executing it well is another. How do you translate a long-term plan into concrete actions? How do you align this with all stakeholders? It is during the process of making concrete strategies where you make choices of what not to do. This is where you come across interesting discussions because several people can look at the strategic lines differently. Becoming better as a team and learning together in the process gives me a lot of energy. I also think that this stage determines success on multiple levels.
What are your insights on board effectiveness that you received from going through the program?
The statement “it’s not about you” stands out to me the most. Egos must stand aside and as a board you must ask yourself how you can best help the company.
How do you want to add value to a board?
I like to add value by thinking with a board on a strategic level and translating this into focused operational plans. My strength lies in making complex matters simple and thus creating overview. My background is mainly in Strategy and Finance. I know that for a board member it is of great importance to immerse yourself in a company and its sector. You can’t do that by just showing up at a board meeting.
If you are on or have been on a board, how did you encounter the opportunity?
My current day to day job is CFO at the Dutch press agency ANP. In addition, I am now helping a number of companies through a startup incubator program in the media industry.
What is the best piece of advice some gave to you?
In these times, you are dealing with a multitude of rapid changes. You can’t know everything so stay open to the ideas of others. Involve people in projects and listen carefully. Don’t be afraid to put your own assumptions aside. Experiment and keep learning.
What do you want your impact to be through your work?
As Maxwell wrote “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” To keep a healthy business in the long run and to work on your value and your personal mission, it is important to grow in a sustainable way. In this time with many changes, you can sometimes miss the overview. I get a lot of energy when I can facilitate growth for individuals, departments or companies through structure and insights. This is because I believe that by starting with small steps you can realize big changes. In this way, I hope to contribute to better companies for the whole of society.
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