From Public Transportation Director for the Dutch province of North Holland to Managing Director of Witte Kruis, Saskia Louwers is a good example of the opportunities within Transdev.
We sat down with Saskia to ask about the roles she has held in our organization and about her first months at the helm of the largest acute healthcare services organization in the Netherlands.
I get a lot of motivation from job satisfaction, but certainly also from continuing to develop myself. This move is a wonderful opportunity for me to grow.
Before Saskia started at Transdev’s subsidiary Connexxion in 2007, she had already gained exceptional public transportation experience.
After studying Technical Business Administration, I left for Ghana in 2005 to support ‘Metro Mass Transit’ in setting up and managing an HR department. This new public transport company was a joint project of the Ghanaian and Dutch governments to improve public transport in Ghana. A very special and educational time.
After two years, Saskia returned to the Netherlands and decided to put her gained experience to use at Connexxion.
I started in the Tender Team, where we are responsible for winning and retaining contracts. Eventually I worked as a Project Manager in that team for several years. I learned new things every day in each of the roles I fulfill, and I often feel the need for bigger development steps after a few years. From that perspective, I started looking for the next challenge.
Saskia found that new challenge in the role of transport planning manager for the Central Netherlands Region.
There, too, I learned a lot, but also found out relatively quickly that I wanted to work in a more multidisciplinary way. Transport planning was a fairly ‘narrow’ field, I wanted a position with a wider scope.
Through positions as Account Manager for the province of North Holland and Manager of Commercial Affairs, Saskia ended up in 2017 (halfway through an MBA course at Nyenrode) in her last public transportation role for the time being: Public Transportation Director for North Holland.
Here I found the essence of working ‘in the region’. A nice team, committed colleagues and beautiful work with all aspects of public transit. After just under three years in the position of concession director, I carefully started looking around again. Deliberately not within public transport, but to a different field of work. I still really enjoyed the work and the corona crisis, however unpleasant, also brought plenty of new, interesting issues with it. Still, I wanted to take a step further. That’s one point I’d like to pass on to my colleagues: express yourself if you have ambitions that you can’t achieve in your current role. Transdev provides a good environment for doing that; staying in a job that doesn’t stimulate you for too long is never a good thing.
That step further presented itself when General Manager of Witte Kruis, Robin Alma, left the healthcare services organization.
That’s when the ball started rolling! A process followed with many discussions with, among others, the Supervisory Board and the management of Witte Kruis. At first, understandably, people were somewhat skeptical. After all, I came from the public transport sector. I did have sufficient relevant experience, but not within this sector.
But trust quickly developed when Saskia explained in the interviews that she has a special, personal connection with healthcare.
At a young age, I had a serious accident and was taken care of very well by the care providers at the scene. That made an impression. I saw the inside of many hospitals during that time and what has stayed with me more than anything is the professional but above all human approach of the personnel. Years later, I was recognized on the street by the ambulance paramedic who was first on the scene during my accident. Thanks to him and his colleagues, I have always cherished the healthcare sector.
Saskia was appointed General Manager of Witte Kruis on February 1 this year and she quickly felt at home here as well.
It is very nice to see that it is a highly professional, innovative, but also ‘learning’ organization. That constant desire to improve suits me very well. I actually jumped into the deep end, in my opinion the best way to make a new situation your own. In different ways, I’m trying to discover this new world. Talking to colleagues a lot, listening to podcasts, reading laws and above all constantly keeping your eyes and ears open. I’m really looking forward to the moment when it’s responsible to go out into the field again, to accompany our personnel on shifts.
A completely new sector, a completely new role, and this at a time when the world is still reeling from a harrowing year. These are things that Saskia gets a noticeable amount of energy out of.
Many things still take some getting used to, of course, but I am thoroughly enjoying everything that comes my way. There are many new ideas and initiatives here and I consider it a privilege to be able to guide this drive, this enthusiasm, in the right direction. I feel completely at home here. I’m still very happy to be working at Transdev and then also in a new, challenging field. It’s ‘the best of both worlds’!