A Good Long Run Home
From brand manager caught in the modern corporate world’s clash between consumer demands and personal intrinsic values, short-term results and excellence, personal responsibility and trust, Ilona Buddingh’-Maas returns to her social entrepreneurial home, determined to grow her understanding of business cultures past and her vision of a sustainable present. Still active in the field of her corporate background, she now grows her own entrepreneurship in her new found home in the Impact Hub. She remains a participant almost like an intrapreneur in her former field, but as a protagonist and with a clear solution in hand to create a basis for sustainability within the organisation.
“..on how you should keep what you love and try to make it sustainable.”
Mother of two Ilona is a social entrepreneur and author for the initiative Begin met Duurzaamheid. It is founded by one person, yet upholds the ambition to change whole organisation culture by five simple steps. The choice to leave the comfort of brand management at a company with stature seems surprising. Emotion is not hidden and it becomes clear to me she is driven by good intentions and dedication. “These so-called bad corporations are actually responding to consumer demands.”, Ilona shares how it is while being in the treadmill of pressure complicit to please boardrooms with profit goals. Many of us still choose for ourselves. Looking back it feels at times like competing with a giant, and one might wonder where did all the breadcrumbs go we strategically trailed behind on departing our trusted homes filled with our values and beliefs. I am faced with the aggressiveness of this typical giant’s home solely determined to make profit. “The pace leaves almost no possibility to reflect on one’s personal intrinsic values.”
While on the Westergasterrein in Impact Hub Amsterdam’s red stone building breathing the dense history of hard labour we are reminded of a transformation that fades out this old system. Into a more circular organisation structure based on equality, as suggested in the method? Her tone is deeply considered, and she says, yes, we all asked for this, even if we don’t realise it. Ilona is on a mission to guide corporates and their professionals, by an inner compass telling what is enough on ‘sustainability’. There is always a new step once you get clear on what the term means to you personally. Step by step, there is a group that recovers the lost breadcrumbs and are returning home in borrowed-giant-boots. Through her workshop clients are introduced and faced with the broad term sustainability.
“Yet Ilona remains low-key, the Impact Hub community of similar minds she found in Amsterdam was a definite necessity..”
The goal is to create awareness for the topic, unearth the personal intrinsic motives and to give tools to start to make a positive impact. The fact that businesses are less afraid to add more sustainable values to the bottom line nowadays, drives her to grow her approach into a business of transforming organisations to be more sustainable. “It seems practically impossible to steer change while being part of the organisation”, she reflects on her time as manager. She now has a clear vision and encourages to find alternative ways, with her book and the method through the workshop sessions on location and most recently from the inspiring Impact Hub spaces. At the moment she investigates if a sponsorship offer for her book is a tool to expand her positive impact goals. It would be a great example if we could increase impact in connection to each other and from thereout drive change. In example in common vision via endorsement constructions, organisations could be a cooperating project partner. Ilona is not afraid of marketing misuse of such constructions. Her method stimulates intrinsic motives so she is fully convinced and therefore solely focused on the possibilities this offers for a much larger platform.
”It is a way of courageously driving the system to awareness, without losing business.”
Ilona finds her success approach in cooperation. Through acknowledgement of the social issues, recognition of how the current system interferes with change, acceptance of equality in the participants’ possibilities, she facilitates one to take responsibility in taking concrete action and claim a leadership position in your own environment. In this five step method the author takes a strategic place right besides her former corporate colleagues. She knows as no other the need to slow their pace and to give a deeper reflection on the somewhat vague term – and what it can include for each personally. In many of her cases a full level of awareness on the topic is unknown to most of the attendees. It becomes clear that the Begin met Duurzaamheid experience is more than just about sustainability. ”It is a way of courageously driving the system to awareness, without losing business.”
Yet Ilona remains low-key, the Impact Hub community of similar minds she found in Amsterdam was a definite necessity to create the method. From talks with Edward Goossens on how you should keep what you love and try to make it sustainable, how systems of local governments can impede on your initiatives, to expert in change management Johanna Kroon in preparation of her presentations. “Noortje van Kleef pops up in my mind immediately, though this are more common discussions who are faced by many pioneering entrepreneurs at the community. Collective action is at the base for a solution. So all members I met, spoke with, tested my idea on are even credited for every sentence I wrote in the book and speak in my upcoming workshop.” A reflection loaded with thanks, hope and happiness. Starting social entrepreneur Ilona accelerated from a participant of Impact Nights to an entrepreneur with a clear sense and product. Impact Nights is an initiative driven by our members which we are proud to say unleashes peer-to-peer talent. Ilona brought in a huge treasure of expertise and is here to uphold the responsibility of being an impact maker.