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NSM Focus | New RMa director Ingrid Pauwels: "Contributing to better leadership in the Netherlands"

Date of news: 10 February 2021

Ingrid Pauwels (48) succeeded Erik Lazeroms as business director of the Radboud Management Academy (RMa) on 1 December. Born and raised in Nijmegen, Pauwels has a strong bond with both the city and the faculty. In 2017, she completed the Msc evening programme in Business Administration. What are her ambitions at and for the RMa?

You have known the RMa as a student. How do you look back on your study programme?
“It was a very positive experience. I have good memories of the lectures, the lecturers and my fellow students, and of the interaction and the guidance. The study programme broadened my horizons, and all the knowledge and insights I gained there have made me a better manager.”

You worked for years as a manager at Rabobank and its subsidiary Schretlen & Co. Shortly after completing your Business Administration studies, you moved to funeral insurer DELA. And now to the RMa. Three completely different worlds.
“Yes and no. Since my earlier studies in commercial economics, I have been very interested in the psychological side of marketing. How do you connect with your customers as an organisation? How do you deliver what they need? I was able to work on this in my managerial positions at the bank: I was responsible for service provision, customers and the customer experience. How can we organise our services in the best possible way? How should we present ourselves?”

“I have always really enjoyed operating at the intersection of people and commerce: paying attention to my team, paying attention to the customer as a person and, at the same time, steering commercial results and raising the profile of the organisation. This was also the case in my position as regional manager at DELA, although the mental pressure on the services provided by the funeral organisation was even greater. You can only do it right once for the bereaved. It has to be right, at exactly that particular moment. The world of education is new to me. However, at the RMa I can also get involved with the team, the customer experience, content profiling and commercial growth. It' s an incredibly rewarding job.”

What is your ambition for the RMa?
“The social-organisational perspective on business administration, the pursuit of sustainable development in organisations, is unique. That’s what really sets us apart from other business schools in the Netherlands. I want to promote this even more because I’m convinced that we can make a valuable contribution to better leadership in the Netherlands.”

That’s no small feat.
“When I saw the job listing for the position of business director, I was immediately very enthusiastic. Obviously because it’s a great opportunity for me personally, but also because of the challenge of growing the RMa and training more people to be better leaders. Many companies are still too focused on numbers. The numbers are important and you need them to manage but, to achieve sustainable results, you need to look beyond profit maximisation, efficiency and the short term. The RMa gives you that knowledge and insight. I'd like to give that to every manager and thus to their organisations and employees.”

What RMa developments can you share with us?
“We are enthusiastically developing a few new courses. They are still in the early stages, but my enthusiasm has been kindled. For example, together with SBE/UMIO (the business school at Maastricht University), we are developing a course for the university medical centres. Together with an external party, we also are developing a course for HR directors and management, and we are involved in developing a course for IT project managers. The content of that course will be provided by other departments in our faculty, but the RMa will facilitate the course. It’s a nice way of working together. We’re also going to collaborate with Radboud Academy to further develop lifelong learning. What exactly that will look like has yet to take shape, but it’s great to be able to work on it too.”

But first...
“Right now, a full focus on the RMa. In March, I will complete the famous ‘100 days’: a good time to take stock and draw up the priority list together with the team. I like to speed things up, but quality always comes first. So first I’ll explore my new territory further, and then we can talk some more.”

You can find more information about the Radboud Management Academy on the website.