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Inside IMA

Recap: Women’s Leadership Series in Amsterdam

More than 100 women from across Europe gathered on International Women’s Day to attend the Women’s Accounting Leadership Series at Vrije University in Amsterdam.

The half-day event, the eighth offering of this popular series, was hosted by IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and NBA (Koninklijke Nederlandse Beroepsorganisatie van Accountants – The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants). It provided a forum for women in accounting and finance to exchange ideas on leadership development and strategies for success.

Introducing the day’s events were Hannie Bovens, RA, RC, Member of NBA Accountants in Business Board; Sandra Richtermeyer, CMA, CPA, Ph.D., Dean, Manning School of Business at University of Massachusetts Lowell and former IMA Global Board Chair; and Anouschka Laheij, Moderator. 
Introducing the day’s events were (l. to r.) Hannie Bovens, RA, RC, member of NBA Accountants in Business Board; Sandra Richtermeyer, CMA, CPA, Ph.D., dean, Manning School of Business at University of Massachusetts Lowell and former IMA Global Board Chair; and Anouschka Laheij, moderator.


Leading off the event was Prof. Dr. Margriet Sitskoorn, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology, Tilburg University, who spoke about how to “Train Your Brain and Become Your Best Self.” Sitskoorn told attendees, “Get out of your comfort zone, train your mind to focus (multitasking really does not exist), sleep enough (seven to nine hours), move every day for at least half an hour (to get your heart rate up), and don’t be a slave to your impulses.”

Sitskoorn also explained how manipulation works, in ways that we’re not even aware of. She discussed how in business, female emotions are often undesirable, in contrast to male emotions. “So, let yourself be heard. People often do not follow the best idea, but the idea that is called first.”

In the next session, “A CFO’s Career Journey,” Annemiek van Melick, CFO, de Volksbank, told her story using five short video clips. She explained that she works hard, but also makes sure to have balance. Other suggestions: “Have fun in what you do and make a difference.” She also reiterated the importance of speaking up and how “women prefer to be 100% sure of themselves before moving up to a new position.”

 Van Melick discusses the details of her journey as a CFO.
Van Melick discussed the details of her journey as a CFO.


Finally, in a panel titled “Strategies for Professional Success,” Deborah Cheng, RA, finance director, Trimb Healthcare NL; Gwen Van Berne, CMA, CFO, RIPE NCC; and Ginger White, CMA, CSCA, IMA Chair-Elect and corporate purchasing finance director at Cummins Inc., offered their insights. They fielded audience questions such as: “Should women create their own opportunities?” “Should women work part-time, especially early in their careers?” “Should you set an official quota or goal for the number of women in senior positions?” Their message: “We can make an impact only if we work together.”

In an interactive panel, Cheng, Van Berne, and White share their insights. 
In an interactive panel, Cheng, Van Berne, and White shared their insights.


Lisa Beaudoin, CMA, CSCA, CAE, IMA director of business development, said, “We appreciate the speakers who shared their inspiring stories and insights, as well as thank the participants who took time from their busy careers to attend this event. We believe that everyone came away with useful tools for how to better manage professional challenges, achieve better work/life balance, and cultivate executive skills. We also hope that attendees made some valuable networking connections.”

Stay tuned to future issues of Inside IMA for information on the next Women’s Accounting Leadership Series event, coming to Boston on October 26, 2018.