I was born and raised in Belgium but have been living in the beautiful Dutch Limburg for 7 years now with my husband, stepdaughter, and three cats.
I love an evening out to dinner and enjoying a nice glass of wine. Crete feels as my second home. Cruising through the mountains of Crete and enjoying the beautiful and quiet south coast, eating at a small, local tavern, talking with the locals ... that is my greatest happiness.
About my work
After working as a management assistant for over twenty years, I started working on my own as a Virtual Assistant under the name oDesque a year ago. I now support multiple clients with all-round office support, social media management, and online marketing.
I joined IMA last year because I wanted to join a network of like-minded people. I enjoy learning from each other and sharing experiences and knowledge. A good network is an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas. And that is what IMA means to me: a broader access to new and valuable information. The first thing I noticed at IMA Netherlands was the friendly atmosphere. This made me feel welcome immediately. In my first year as a Virtual Assistant, I noticed that entrepreneurs often do not get around to their online marketing, even though it is a very important aspect of an online business. Because it fascinated me so much, I started an education in online marketing and made it one of my specialties. So, I did not have to hesitate for long when I heard there was an open position of PRO officer at IMA Netherlands.
It is with great pleasure that I will share my marketing knowledge and contribute to such a beautiful network association as IMA Netherlands.
Executive Assistant to member Management Board NN Group
Looking back at my IMA membership, it’s a pleasure to share my thoughts and experiences.
The first Annual Conference and AGM I attended was in Maastricht in 1990. The theme was: “Networking, communication across the border”. No better subject for a new member to start with. IMA is all about networking: participating and investing in your network, as well as gaining from it. This was the beginning of a very fruitful membership. It provided interesting contacts with colleagues from all over Europe and allowed me to take part in conferences, seminars and workshops on a wide variety of topics in the field of management support. One of the highlights was a lecture by Zelda la Grange, assistant to Nelson Mandela, who spoke about her remarkable career and her book ‘Good Morning, Mr Mandela’.
Thanks to IMA I was lucky to travel to many different countries, from Sweden to Cyprus, from Greece to Iceland and Spain. This allowed me to experience and understand cultural differences. And despite the differences in our profession from country to country, especially between the countries of Northern and Southern Europe, I could always recognize the values which identify EAPS/EUMA/IMA: professionalism, learning, networking and, last but not least, having a good time together.
Professionalism is key
EAPS stands for European Association for Professional Secretaries. Because of the ongoing fast-changing developments in the profession, we had good reasons to change the name of the association twice. However, the importance of being professional remained the same. We have to keep setting our standards high and make use of social media and new communication channels in a professional way. We must be innovative and future-oriented so that all involved may profit from it and IMA remains a successful international network.
In my very first job, working from an office every day, I took letters in shorthand in Dutch, English and German, using a typewriter and triple carbon paper for the copies. Today I find myself working fully digitally from home, without using any paper at all. The years in between, while working as an executive assistant to board members of listed companies, my IMA membership was of great help in keeping up with the latest developments.
Now that regulations resulting from the corona pandemic have forced us to work from home most of the time, the extremely fast changing digital world, social media and all kinds of new communication tools require permanent education more than ever. IMA must continue to play an important role providing this by offering high-quality training and content-driven networking events.
Over 30 years of membership
My membership has been a valuable, inspiring and pleasant learning experience. An experience that has greatly contributed to my personal and professional development, supported by the companies I have worked for.
I strongly advise the younger generation of management support professionals to do the same.
Two of my colleagues, Obzomi and Zahra, recently became IMA members and I am convinced they will enjoy and learn from their IMA membership as much as I have.