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Inspirational kick-off for first-year students!

On Thursday 1 September, convention centre De Reehorst welcomes all excited first-year students. Twelve professionals are there as guest speakers to inspire the students with interesting stories about their field of expertise. From travel expert Chris Zegers to Holland Casino CEO Erwin van Lambaart and from Secretary of the Year Vivian Veldman to hospitality professional Milo Berlijn. Let the year begin!

The main goal of the kick-off for the new academic year is to give everyone a chance to get to know each other. In an accessible manner, students can meet each other, their future lecturers and guest speakers from the field of practice. Students from various study programmes attend lectures from speakers from their field of expertise. Well dressed and finely groomed, the students are ready for an inspirational kick-off!

Parastoe Koshai about the hard world (of sales)

Parastoe Koshai works as Customer Experience Account Executive at SAP. She takes students of Commercial Business Management on a tour of the world of sales, making lots of money, travelling, driving fancy cars and - last but not least - working hard.  In 2020, Parastoe earned second place in the Dutch Young Sales Professional competition. She talks about the hard world of sales, but also about huge bonuses. Parastoe has some invaluable tips for the students: “This can be a difficult and tough world, so be sure to find a coach and let them show you the ropes.”

The work of a lawyer with Merle Rondhuis

Merle Rondhuis talks to the new students of the higher-education Law programme about her job as a company lawyer at Witteveen+Bos. Together, they discuss a real-life case. This gives the students a better picture of what it is like to work as a lawyer. Merle: “As a company lawyer, it is your job to translate substantive legal documents into practical advice.” Student Maurits Hilbrands is excited after the lecture: “The work of a company lawyer is far more diverse than I previously thought.”

Running a business with Ruben van den Burg

“Who among you dreams of running their own business one day,” Ruben van den Burg asks the students of Commercial Business Management. Everyone raises their hand. Ruben won the title of Dutch Senior Sales Professional in 2019 and he is the owner of SalesPrikkels. To the students, he reveals his eight keys to commercial success. Ruben: “Learn to cope with setbacks. Always remember that every low will be followed by a high.”

Positivity with Milo Berlijn

Hospitality professional Milo Berlijn has acquired a tonne of experience over the course of his career: at the Holland Heineken House and during the finales of the Champions League. He even got a chance to work for Queen Beatrix. In other words: Milo knows all about hospitality. Full of energy and humour, he introduces the students to the world of hospitality. He shares one hilarious anecdote after the other. Milo: “Do not get annoyed, but focus on the good things instead. Be optimistic and positive. Always keep a smile on your face and have fun. The hospitality sector is amazing!”

Marco Groot about success

Marco Groot is the founder of 8 Days A Week. He has worked for Tomorrowland and Tony’s Chocolonely, he is a teacher and a long-distance runner. He is here today to tell the students of Commerce Entrepreneurship and Organisations all about the value of money and success. When are you rich and when are you successful? Are they simply two sides of the same coin? Student Leanne: “The session was really surprising and interactive.”

Erwin van Lambaart: ”Everyone has multiple talents”

As CEO of Holland Casino, Erwin van Lambaart frequently has to deal with lawyers. “Putting regulations into practice can be incredibly complicated. Having a good lawyer is essential and it also helps to improve your business,” Erwin tells the students. His advice: “Everyone is born with multiple talents. With the help of your lecturers, colleagues and fellow students, you have to discover where your talent lies.”

An inspirational session with Jorij Abraham

Jorij Abraham impresses the students of Commerce Entrepreneurship and Organisations with his daunting CV. Over the course of his career, he has launched multiple companies. Some became a success, others failed. That is an inspirational message for the students: the quickest way to learn is by failing. He wants to impart that knowledge to the latest generation of entrepreneurs: “You can learn a lot from someone who has been there already. Never stop learning!”

Sjoerd Weikamp about (online) events

Students of the event, hospitality and tourism programmes are inspired by Sjoerd Weikamp, owner of Eventbranche.nl. He talks about how the hotel and event sector has changed before, during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The best events were organised during the COVID period, he says. His advice for the students: “Invest in your network. Build relationships with people in the industry. Find your future partners and start today.”

Making people happy with Mark Struik

Mark Struik, Commercial Director at Postillion Hotels, takes the students of Hotel Management on a tour of the hotel sector. Mark used to work at Van der Valk, Okura, Sheraton and Starwood. Mark: “Whatever your job is in a hotel, there are always ways to make people happy in this sector. Both in the Netherlands and abroad. With experiences, events or whatever else you can come up with.”

Exploring the world with Chris Zegers

Chris Zegers is a globetrotter and presenter of “3 Op Reis,” among other things. When he tells his inspirational stories, the audience - full of students of International Tourism Management - is surprisingly quiet. Over time, Chris has gradually begun living his “own” life. When you are young, that can be quite difficult, he says. “You face all kinds of expectations and if you're not careful, you will start to conform to those expectations. Don't be blind to the things you find on your path.”

Secretary of the Year Vivian Veldman-Erlemeyer

With the title of “Secretary of the Year 2021,” Vivian Veldman-Erlemeyer inspires the new students of Executive Office Management Schoevers. Vivian works as an Executive Assistant at Sweco. “The trick is to always stay one step ahead of the director,” she tells her fascinated audience. “By taking care of small tasks, you give someone else peace of mind and make it easier for them to do their job.” Student Gwen de Jong is impressed: “It was really interesting to hear what a typical day at work looks like. This also prepares you for your future career after you finish your studies.”

Choosing a career with Hanita van der Meer

Hanita van der Meer, Brand PR Director at Oyo Vacation Homes, excitedly talks about the organisation and the path she has taken to get to where she is today. She wants to share the lessons she has learned with the new generation of students of International Tourism Management: “Focus on what you are good at, rather than on the things you have yet to improve. When you first start out at a new company, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Always remember that they chose you for a reason.”

A good impression of practical reality

“Today was very interesting and educational,” says Executive Office Management student Isa Lamers after the kick-off. “When you listen to the stories told by the guest speakers, you begin to see the field of practice and your own future from a different perspective.” Law-student Maurits Hilbrands is also excited about the new academic year. Maurits: “I chose Tio because of the small groups and the personal guidance you receive as a student. This kick-off certainly promises a lot for the rest of the year.” Armed with a wealth of new knowledge and inspiration, the students are ready to go. We wish all new students the very best of luck!

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