A selection of our news in English.

“From Craftmanship to Impact” – Jo Maes, CEO Ordina

The story of the transformation journey of Ordina

On Thursday 16th May, the second session of NGL International’s “The Transformation Dialogues” took place at De School, a former Technical College, in Amsterdam West that currently accommodates various educational and creative initiatives.

Some 30 international executives were assembled to listen to and interact with each other and our two guests of honor i.e. Jo Maes CEO Ordina and Annemieke den Otter, CFO Ordina. Ordina is the largest, independent local IT service provider in the Benelux. Ordina employs some 2650 people and is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. Their focus is to give customers in the financial services, public, industry and healthcare sectors a digital edge. Ordina is particulary strong in software development, data related solutions and increasingly known for their high performance teams. Ordina helps its customers to stay ahead of the challenges and changes in their business.

Engagement of people is the key

Jo and Annemieke were interviewed by the founder and managing partner of NGL International, Bercan Günel, about their transformation journey at Ordina. Jo and Annemieke proved to be a pair of enthusiastic, open and engaging leaders who were quite willing to share Ordina’s as well as their own transformation experiences so far. A key ingredient of their transformation journey is first and foremost a clear case for change. In Ordina’s case the need and urgency for change came from outside and inside – out. Ordina’s traditional craftmanship and customer service alone weren’t good enough anymore. Declining results and changing customers required a different approach. Coupled with the ever increasing impact of technology, in particular digitalization, forced Ordina to a radical shift in focus especially with regard to their business propositions and services. This radical shift in focus has a tremendous impact on its people. The impact offers both a challenge to the employees – am I able to change and do I want to change – and an opportunity for personal growth. In order to create internal and external alignment a clear ambition was defined i.e. “Ahead of change”, which was then clearly communicated towards all stakeholder groups i.e. clients, employees and partners to send out the message that we’re all in it together. Subsequently Ordina got busy building specific business propositions, developing new leadership skills and establishing partnerships with customers. They involved their employees with the help of working groups representing all layers and areas of the organisation. By pro-actively involving their employees they created ownership, commitment and pride in the organisation. They also showed progress continuously and in small portions.

Start with the who

In their engagement with the other executives present Jo and Annemieke displayed their personal operating style as individuals as well as a team. They were not afraid to show their own vulnerability. As transformation leaders they were clearly leading by example and acted as role models. They breathe perseverance as change doesn’t happen overnight and they remained very authentic by sharing how they also transformed personally as a result of the business changes. Key lessons they shared were “start with the who and then with the what”. “Don’t start the change at the middle management level but rather at the top. Finally they stressed the need to keep the current business running, to develop your leadership, to bring focus to your portfolio and to re-define the relationships with your customers.

After a short break during which the guests exchanged their personal experiences at transformation and got to know each other, Bercan facilitated a question and answer session that led to a very lively and insightful dialogue. NGL International’s partner Wim Dufourné then presented a summary of the key take away’s and briefly introduced the mission and ways of working of NGL International.

Next guest of honor is Herman Tjeenk Willink, Minister of State on September 10, 2019 and Helen Mets, President Resins & Functional Materials DSM on the 31st of October.


“It all begins with a common purpose” – Stephanie Miller, CEO Intertrust

The story of the transformation journey of Intertrust

On Tuesday 5th March, the first session of NGL International’s “The Transformation Dialogues” took place at the beautiful and inspiring headquarters of Dutch fashion designer and artist, Mart Visser, in Amsterdam.

Some 50 international executives saw Mart kick off the session by sharing some of his personal transformation experiences. He told his spellbound audience that in order to make a successful transformation journey you need to follow your dream, use your intuition, remain authentic and just get on with it by grasping opportunities and overcoming difficulties. Apparent setbacks actually offer wonderful opportunities. As Johan Cruyff, the Dutch soccer icon, used to say: “Every disadvantage, has it’s own advantage”.

NGL International’s guest of honour was Stephanie Miller, CEO of Intertrust, a global leader in providing expert administrative services to clients operating and investing in the international business environment. Stephanie was interviewed by the founder and managing partner of NGL International Bercan Günel about her transformation journey at Intertrust. Stephanie proved to be an energetic, open and engaging leader who was quite willing to share her own transformation experiences from the past and the present. Key ingredients of a successful transformation according to Stephanie are first and foremost a clear definition of the reason to change.

Creating a common purpose for the organization, restoring pride in the organization amongst its people and to create a true sense of belonging are prerequisites. Putting in loads of personal energy, reaching out to and recognition of individuals and teams are building blocks that coupled with role model behavior as a leader will unleash energy of others. Being accessible as a leader and willing to listen and ask questions enable people to work together on a clear strategy and purpose. Involving all stakeholders, being inclusive and having fun make the transformation journey a worthwhile experience and cause. Last but not least make sure that you stick to what you’re good at and never stop innovating will result in the necessary transformation. Whilst you’re at it never stop building consensus and allow people time to contribute to and digest the changes.

After a short break during which the guests exchanged their personal experiences at transformation and got to know each other, Bercan facilitated a question and answer session which led to a very lively and insightful dialogue. NGL International’s partner Wim Dufourné presented a summary of the key take aways and briefly introduced the mission and ways of working of NGL International.

Next guests of honor will include Jo Maes, CEO Ordina and Annemieke den Otter, CFO Ordina on May 15 and Helen Mets, DSM’s President of Resins & Functional Materials on June 18.


Trust is a non-issue from square one

Trust is a non-issue from square one

For a team to be productive, cohesive and ultimately successful, it is essential that the team members trust one another. That’s a matter of common sense, but what lies at the heart of it is our need for a sense of belonging. This is relevant at all levels of the organization, from the shop floor to the boardroom. And, in an environment of trust and safety, morale increases, productivity sees an upswing and the company’s product can become exceptional in its quality.

Everyone has a story

What I observe during my team coaching sessions, especially on the executive level, is that all team members come to the table with their own history. These individual histories include stories and experiences that range from pride in performance and appreciated know-how to backbiting and undermining, usurped ideas, and stolen thunder.
Such positive and negative aspects are a given within any team. But the question of belonging and trust is, in essence, a question of leadership. More specifically, the traits and quality of an executive are defined by how they deal with these group dynamics.

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking

I see too many examples of executives who mainly project previous negative experiences into their new surroundings and responsibilities – as if the negative traits are a given, at any time and in any place! This is a problem, because it makes trust and safety an issue at the boardroom level itself. And that presents a handicap in terms of leadership, as we tend to cultivate such feelings and issues by spending a lot of time, energy and other resources on managing them.

In all those cases, I advise executives to reflect on that trust (or the lack thereof) and ask themselves what is really driving the situation. Do they need to feel a safety net to operate in, and are they waiting for the team to provide it? Is it a matter of having confidence in their own abilities and performance? Why do they need to feel that safety net before they can open up themselves? Instead, why don’t we start by trusting the team and assuming their support unless proven otherwise? We could also say “it’s a non-issue” and assume our responsibility in pursuing our purpose and delivering performance.

Anticipating trust issues before anything happens will never give you the most effective results, because you’re blocking the team’s freedom from the very start. And simply put, that’s not how belonging works.

Feel the trust – in you

Can you take a calculated risk? Waiting for trust to grow “naturally” is a waste of time and your good energy. Instead, take your team’s trust and safety as a given, provide the leadership to let it flourish, and act in full confidence.
In the end, youare the executive – for a reason. Belonging starts with you. So take the dive. Feel the trust. You’ll do just fine, and maybe even better.

– Bercan Günel


Warmest thoughts and best wishes

As the year draws to a close…

You might not think so when you look at your news feed, but in many aspects, the world has never been a better place. Worldwide, hunger is at a historic low. Life expectancy is higher than ever, as is literacy. The amount and extent of the world’s armed conflicts is decreasing continuously.

Challenges of the future

But despite all of this, we experience a profound unrest and foresee big troubles. The trade wars, the degree of inequality between rich and poor, the gap between the elite and the rest, climate change, possible water shortages, plastic soup… these are all important factors, and they’re frightening.

Many governments and individuals alike are trying to address these issues as best they can. But there is a clear responsibility for companies and institutions as well. At NGL, we see that many organizations are struggling to balance two focal points in their activities and policies: on the one hand, traditional bottom-line management (some call it performance); and on the other, defining the organization’s basic purpose as an essential part of society.

Holistic solutions are wishful thinking in monoculture organizations

Such organizations have the best of intentions, but many are missing one essential point. The resources necessary to address these problems can only be accessed, attained, included, activated and captured through a suite of well-balanced holistic solutions. And, as long as the companies themselves are not diverse and inclusive in their nature, they will continue to lack the essentials to make the necessary transformation. In other words: as long as we remain grounded in a corporate monoculture and fail to embrace diversity, all attempts to make a significant contribution to society will go no further than wishful thinking.

An inclusive society is, by nature and by necessity, a diverse society. And a truly diverse organization represents all aspects of its ecosystem in a proportionate manner, in every possible layer.

Studies have shown that diversity starts at the top, where an organization’s strategy, culture and priorities are set. I would like to take that one step further and proclaim that organizations will always miss the basics of diversity as long as they don’t have gender diversity at the top. You can’t claim to be diverse if you don’t represent a critical mass of 50% of the population.

Performance vs purpose – you don’t have to choose

What does this mean for you? The good news is that diversity is sector-agnostic and proven to strengthen both a company’s performance and its sense of purpose. So, whether your organization is working on climate issues, or the circular economy, or improved mobility for all, or better technology for the whole planet—you are wasting time and resources if you don’t embrace diversity and inclusion at the top.

Diversity and inclusion at the top of the organizations is imperative for transformation

I can’t claim that this will solve all your problems. Diversity is not a panacea: there is always work to be done. We can do better, and we should do better. But I do claim that you won’t be solving any of these problems if you don’t make diversity & inclusion the priority it should be. The world may never have been better in some aspects, but that doesn’t mean our work is finished. If anything, it should remind us that we are on the right track, that ours is the good fight, and that we are all in this together.

Happy holidays!

Vacature – Directeur het Mondriaan Fonds

Het Mondriaan Fonds is op zoek naar een Directeur

Het Mondriaan Fonds is het publieke stimuleringsfonds voor beeldende kunst en cultureel erfgoed in Nederland. Het maakt plannen, projecten en programma’s mogelijk van kunstenaars, tentoonstellingsmakers en critici, musea en andere kunst- en erfgoedinstellingen en opdrachtgevers. Alle bijdragen versterken de productie of presentatie van kunst en erfgoed uit Nederland in binnen- en buitenland, waar de markt dit (nog) niet doet. Het Mondriaan Fonds vervult een belangrijke rol in het stimuleren van nieuwe ontwikkelingen en het ondersteunen van bestaande initiatieven op voornoemde terreinen.

Het Mondriaan Fonds is een ZBO gevestigd in Amsterdam en ontvangt zijn middelen van het ministerie van OCW. Het jaarlijks budget van het Mondriaan Fonds bedraagt ca. 31 miljoen euro. Bij het Mondriaan Fonds werken, verspreid over verschillende afdelingen, 40 medewerkers die uitvoering geven aan de regelingen en activiteiten. Het Mondriaan Fonds staat bekend als een open, laagdrempelige en betrokken organisatie.

Van de directeur wordt verwacht dat deze het beleidsplan voor de periode 2017-2020 onderschrijft en uitvoert. Een belangrijke taak zal zijn het vormgeven en uitwerken van het beleidsplan voor de periode 2021-2024.

Mondriaan Fonds. Foto: Ernst van Deursen



De gezochte directeur herkent zich in de doelstelling van het Mondriaan Fonds en heeft ervaring binnen of aantoonbare affiniteit met een of meerdere terreinen waar het fonds zich op richt. Deze persoon heeft bestuurlijke ervaring, kent het landelijke cultuurbeleid en heeft een goed netwerk in het culturele veld. De kandidaat heeft strategisch inzicht, ervaring met ontwikkelen van beleid, en met leiding geven aan een organisatie met een breed werkterrein.

Is in staat om een goed netwerk op te bouwen en te onderhouden zowel binnen de sector als bij het ministerie van OCW, bij andere overheden en overige betrokken partijen. De directeur werkt (inter)nationaal, beweegt zich met gemak in verschillende werelden/culturen, beschikt over een open houding en is (inter)cultureel sensitief en onderkent het belang van pluriformiteit.


Zakelijke ervaring
Financieel/bedrijfseconomisch goed onderlegd. Sterk in zakelijke bedrijfsvoering. Heeft bewezen managementkwaliteiten en is vindingrijk en initiatiefrijk.

People management ervaring
Relevante leidinggevende ervaring in een creatieve en zakelijke omgeving. Inspirerend en motiverend en dienend naar de organisatie, stelt het belang van de organisatie altijd boven eigen belang.

Duidelijke visie op kunst en cultuur
Sterke affiniteit/ervaring met kunst en cultuur. Visie op de (inter)nationale kunst en erfgoedwereld alsook op de verschillende regio’s in Nederland, van hedendaagse beeldende kunst en erfgoed en zijn publiek (lokaal, nationaal en internationaal). Heeft oog voor ontwikkelingen en gevoel voor innovatie binnen het werkterrein van het Mondriaan Fonds. Durft buiten de gebaande paden te treden en is daar succesvol in. In staat het beleid en het belang van kunst en cultuur naar buiten toe uit te dragen en draagvlak binnen en buiten de organisatie te creëren.

Goede sociale vaardigheden; beweegt met gemak op alle niveaus en in uiteenlopende situaties. Tevens diplomatiek, politiek-bestuurlijk sensitief, met goed gevoel voor culturele verschillen en verhoudingen.


Reacties en sollicitatiebrieven t/m 16 oktober a.s. gestuurd worden naar Voor verdere informatie over de vacature kunt u bellen naar Bercan Günel van NGL International, 020-705 89 10.



Newsletter September 2018

New website – NGL International

While it is our main mission to assist the new generation leaders in their quest towards success, we felt the need to simplify and clarify our own quest by sharing our activities in a more concise manner.

Our full range of services is now captured on one website, that, in a way that gives us the possibility to show our holistic approach where Assessments, Coaching and Search are an integral part of our business

Please do have a look at and let us know what you think.

New Campaign

On the website, you will notice our new statement for our Executive Search activities: We’ll find her / We know her / #AllowChange.

You might be thinking ‘What is this all about? Is this new and holistic leadership or is this just diversity?’
And you’re right.

The fact is that diversity is such an excellent example of why we need to transform continuously. So, that’s why we thought: let’s start with the most obvious message. In order to become more diverse, “the leader” needs to start thinking and behaving differently him-/herself. Act more daring, show personal commitment and be consistent.
Hence, we start with We’ll find her / We know her.

We will subsequently build on it in the next 9 months to #AllowChange to encompass the transformation. Wait for it…


You think you don’t need a Coach… think again

– a blog by Simone Noordegraaf, Member Advisory Board NGL and CEO iPEC Europe

We live, work and play in an ever-accelerating world. A fascinating and complex world, where I do not always feel the freedom to take time to rest, sit back and reflect. Fully connected to this world, it is difficult to create space and set boundaries for reflection. Driven by influences both inside and outside of ourselves, we stay busy all the time. Recently, I was listening to a lecture from the Happiness Studies Academy, it hit me again how vital taking space and time for reflection are, especially in our fast-moving and hyper-connected world. read further


Talkshow on diversity

In September 2018, Bercan Günel was a featured guest in the well-respected Dutch political talk show Buitenhof.

Together with host Jort Kelder, the panel discussed the latest McKinsey report on diversity in business. The report concluded that if, on average, Dutch women worked as little as 4 hours more per week, it would generate an additional value of €114 billion for the Dutch economy.

Bercan shared her experience and insights, focusing on two main points: read further

Our mission is to assist a new generation of leaders in their quest towards success as they steer businesses and society towards a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future.

Talk show on diversity at work

In September 2018, Bercan Günel was a featured guest in the well-respected Dutch political talk show Buitenhof.

Together with host Jort Kelder, the panel discussed the latest McKinsey report on diversity in business. The report concluded that if, on average, Dutch women worked as little as 4 hours more per week, it would generate an additional value of €114 billion for the Dutch economy.

Bercan shared her experience and insights, focusing on two main points:

· We need focus and commitment from the government. In practice, this means that the government should exclude from all public tenders any companies that don’t comply to the (extant) law requiring a minimum of 30% women in all participating organizations.

Similarly, the government should revoke public funding and subsidies for companies that don’t meet this minimum threshold of gender diversity.

· We need commercial companies to be visionary and decisive. There are already a number of dedicated companies that perform above average on diversity, like NS (national railway), Accenture, Microsoft, DSM, TU Delft and Schiphol. We also need public companies to understand that real, unwavering commitment by their leadership (i.e., the CEO in person) is a prerequisite of success.

In conclusion, Bercan would like to see both politicians and business leaders stop the endless rounds of analysis on why diversity keeps being a “problem”, and instead take immediate action.

You think you don’t need a Coach… think again

 – by Simone Noordegraaf, Member Advisory Board NGL and CEO iPEC Europe

We live, work and play in an ever-accelerating world. A fascinating and complex world, where I do not always feel the freedom to take time to rest, sit back and reflect. Fully connected to this world, it is difficult to create space and set boundaries for reflection. Driven by influences both inside and outside of ourselves, we stay busy all the time. Recently, I was listening to a lecture from the Happiness Studies Academy, it hit me again how vital taking space and time for reflection are, especially in our fast-moving and hyper-connected world.

Tribes, systems and time

This particular lecture began with the story of the Good Samaritan. Many of us have heard this story at some point in our life, and some of us may interpret that story simply one dimensional. It may say: “be a good person,” or “love your neighbor like you love yourself”. The parable about love and oneness gained depth and became more interesting when it was combined with the 1973 Princeton experiment at the faculty of Theological Studies by John Darley and Daniel Batson.

These two psychologists asked several theology students to deliver a lecture to an audience on the other side of campus. In the short walk the students made between the classroom where they were instructed and the auditorium where the lecture takes place, an actor was visibly placed that was apparently in need of help. The objective was to understand which factors would influence the behavior of the theology students. It turned out that the ONE significant influencer for the students to help was whether they were early or late for the lecture. Two-thirds of the students who were not in a hurry, helped the person in need of care, comparedto only one-tenth of those who were late. What does that say about us, in our lives that are constantly speeding up and in our organisations where there is constant pressure to deliver on our goals?

The trouble with interconnectivity overload

~“In the wake of the Cognitive Revolution, gossip helped Homo sapiens to form larger and more stable bands. But even gossip has its limits. Sociological research has shown that the maximum ‘natural’ size of a group bonded by gossip is about 150 individuals. Most people can neither intimately know, nor gossip effectively about, more than 150 human beings.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind~

The number one predictor of happiness is the intimate relationships we cultivate in our lives. Cultivating these relationships once was a straightforward objective when our neighborhood used to be only our village or our tribe. It was key to our survival, and also do-able as our world was more straightforward and slower. We would not even know individuals outside of those tribes for our whole, short lives.

Nowadays, we have relationships with our families, education, companies, social media and at times (nearly) the whole world. Not only do we live longer, but we change context throughout our lives. We are all part of many large and expanding systems, where we expect to cultivate intimate relationships to feel safe, experiment, innovate and thrive. To be able to handle all those connections, we create a shortcut, an alternative safety, judging everything around that tribe quickly in black and white terms. It is entirely understandable that we take these steps to simplify. However, they erode meaning and context, drive us to make decisions that are not in alignment with our values. And especially in large and complex organizations, we withdraw in our teams, forget that we are part of a more extensive system and dehumanise stakeholders one step removed from our goal.

The complexity of our systems

~“ from the systems perspective, the human factor is part of the feedback process, not standing apart from it.”
– Peter Senge~

The lecture also highlights the power of context or system on the individual. We interpret and judge so much of what happens in our daily lives in a split second. We do not have or take the time to analyze the context or the system. While we judge quickly, we forget that most people have genuinely good intentions. We forget that they may be clumsy in their response because they underestimate the power of the situation or they are in a rush as well. We draw quick conclusions about who is good or bad, who is an ally or an enemy and struggle to step away from those judgements until we get stuck. For companies to successfully transform, reflection on the system is vital. Effective interventions can only take place when the purpose is clear, and we approach every relationship with both caring and daring.

Reflection is the cure

~ Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Victor Frankl~

Last, but not least, time is essential to open our minds, hearts, and hands for seeing the system as a whole and in its interconnected pieces. Time is key to responding deliberately. As the world speeds up, we react rather than respond under time pressure. To choose to respond rather than to react, making the space that Victor Frankl speaks about, taking time is essential. The only way to successfully uncover the potential of teams and organizations is by taking time to reflect and allowing time for connections with a genuine interest and curiosity for the individuals and teams in the system.

So why not take some time to feel, connect and reflect on what is really going on, especially when there is conflict at play. You can play to win in full alignment with a shared overall purpose and with your eyes on the relationship. Remain aware of how caring and daring you are within the individual connection and where your purpose overlaps. Be curious, go slow and most of all, take the time to build the relationship before you drive your agenda. You will be grateful you did because you will achieve both results ànd happiness while working through seemingly conflicting objectives. It is not a novel idea, but impactful, often overlooked and little executed.

And if you struggle to free yourself from the speed and complexity, the demands that the world is putting on you, why not work with a coach? A coach can hold the space for you and allow you to dig deeper into strategy and stakeholder relationships. When it is much easier to keep an appointment with someone else than with yourself, when your agenda is the best proof of this, there are exceptional people out there to make the most of that time. We are here to help and support your reflection process, holding space and asking the next question that you may hesitate to ask.

– Simone Noordegraaf, September 21st 2018

Bedrijfscultuur versus diversiteit


De cultuur van een organisatie wordt vaak gezien als ‘de ziel van de onderneming’ – dat klopt, maar het geldt ten goede én ten slechte.
– Bercan Günel voor

Een Nederlandse bedrijf besloot een tijd geleden om zijn leiderschap en personeelsbestand te diversifiëren door leiders aan te trekken vanuit verschillende hoeken van de wereld. Deze miljardenonderneming was actief in vele andere landen in de wereld, en ze merkten dat ze een betere verbinding nodig hadden met de landen waarmee ze zakendeden. Ergo: meer internationale talent gevraagd.

Vers bloed
Zo gezegd, zo gedaan. Er werden een paar posities aan de top vrijgemaakt om plaats te maken voor vers bloed, vooral in de commercie en marketing. Want het ging immers om een betere connectie met verschillende afzetgebieden in andere delen van de wereld. Vele kandidaten passeerden de revue, stuk voor stuk met uitstekende relevante kennis en ervaring binnen de sector. De uiteindelijke shortlist bestond uit negen zeer gekwalificeerde professionals.

Maar het resultaat van de kennismakingsgesprekken was ronduit onthutsend. Waarom? De Italiaan had een uitstekend netwerk maar hij praatte te veel. De man uit Filipijnen kwam te onderdanig over. De Turkse kandidaat keek ze niet altijd recht in de ogen. De Fransman was te joviaal en de Brit te arrogant. Zo kan ik doorgaan.  Wat is hier aan de hand?

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Podcast – interview with Bercan Günel

Welke prijs betalen vrouwen om aan de top te komen? In deze serie voert verslaggever Harmen van der Veen gesprekken over grote offers, diepe dalen en euforische momenten met vrouwen uit het zakenleven en de politiek; met een man die feminist is; én met zijn eigen vrouw, wethouder in Amsterdam.

Topbestuurder Bercan Günel was ooit de allereerste CFO bij Brunel. Nu pleit ze vóor een vrouwenquotum, waar ze eerder tegen was.

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