If you had told me a year ago that I would be the Netherlands Deputy National Chairman for the association of International Management Assistants (IMA) from 24 June 2017, I would never have believed you. Last Saturday, I was appointed as the brand new Deputy National Chairman of this vibrant international network for management assistants.
It all started a year ago on a sunny terrace in the middle of the country. I met Jannie Oosterhoff for lunch to become better acquainted. It emerged that we had much in common, such as the importance we attach to maintaining our network. Making time for it, even if inconvenient, produces long-term relationships.
She told me about the international IMA conference in Copenhagen in October 2016. I told her she simply had to have dinner at Noma. To which she replied that the chance of anyone joining her was remote. ‘Then I will go with you?’ I blurted. That was settled then. I joined as a member the same evening and booked my flight and hotel for Copenhagen.
Suits and high heels
We had booked a cheaper hotel away from the conference centre and we thought we were being smart by travelling via public transport. There we stood in our suits and high heels on a draughty platform in the wind and rain waiting for the train. It was by no means comfortable. We will do this differently on the way back, we told each other.
From that point on, we used a taxi that took us from our hotel to the entrance of the conference centre and back again. Sure, it was a few tenners more expensive, but well worth the investment. What a luxury!
We learned two important lessons. Firstly, that you must be willing to pay for quality. And secondly, that if you want to present yourself as a professional, you need to behave like a professional. That includes your transport.
Networking sounds like work
That first introduction to IMA was so inspiring that I have not missed an event since. It just shows you where a meeting over lunch can lead. Since that first meeting, we have made it a habit to dine together before every meeting. Networking certainly sounds work, doesn’t it?
What is extra special is that Jannie Oosterhoff and I will work together when she takes on the role of National Chairman of IMA Netherlands from 1 October. After all, it was she who introduced me to IMA.
From rainy Copenhagen with high heels, draughty platforms and expensive taxis, to the role of Deputy National Chairman of IMA. I am incredibly proud to hold this position and to shape and develop IMA Netherlands further.
Would you like to know more about IMA Netherlands? Then I would be delighted to invite you to an introductory meeting or to attend one of the events.
This article was written by Annemieke van Elst of Committed Power. Annemieke van Elst has extensive experience as a personal assistant to CEOs, directors, majority shareholders and medical specialists. She is also a Personal Recruiter who can find you a reliable right hand.