Don't think in limitations, seize your chance

Author: Choy van der Hooft - Chief Commercial Officer Wealth Management

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6 April 2022

Choy started as a trainee 25 years ago and now sits on the board of ABN AMRO. As a board member, she is responsible for Wealth Management. In this article, she talks about the obstacles she overcame during her impressive career and the challenges she faced. ‘If you want to grow, you really have to go all in yourself.'

A quarter of a century working for the same bank: doesn't that get monotonous? ‘Not at all', Choy laughs. ‘I may have been working under the same flag since 1996, but I have done so many different things. Before I moved to Wealth Management, I spent many years in all kinds of roles on the corporate side, so the business side. I have been a relationship manager, but also a specialist in payments, credit and treasury. And that's what I like about ABN AMRO: it's a big organisation, so you have lots of opportunities. But if you want to grow, you really have to go all in yourself and sometimes dare to take an unexpected step. So my advice to young people is: don't think in limitations, but seize your chance.’

From Rotterdam to Maastricht

‘I was really given the room to develop myself, also on a personal level. That started as soon as I completed my traineeship. I was assigned a position in Maastricht, while I lived in Rotterdam. It was not done to argue with this, but I really didn't want to move to the other side of the country. On the advice of my supervisor, I followed my heart and talked to the then managing director. It wasn't fun, but I managed to get another spot.’

Extra incentive

‘It is now pretty normal to discuss your first assignment: shaping your career has become a dialogue. We look at what you are good at, and what else you want to do. We also help colleagues with a different cultural background to develop further. In Dutch culture, children learn at an early age to stand up for themselves and form their own opinions. Colleagues who have grown up with the idea that respect and hierarchy take centre stage are often more reserved. I think as a bank we have a responsibility to make sure they get and use equal opportunities.'

Diversity as a theme

‘In recent times, great strides have been made in the area of diversity. A Diversity & Inclusion department, for example, did not exist 25 years ago. When I first started, the topics of cultural background, male-female relations and sexual preference were hardly discussed. Now we are consciously working on balancing all these issues and making them self-evident. I see around me more and more women in executive positions. This has had a positive effect on the culture within the bank: the style of leadership has softened and people pay more attention to each other.’

Make a difference #startwithus

Author: Choy van der Hooft - Chief Commercial Officer Wealth Management

Back to overview

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