TUI has many successful female leaders in a wide range of areas. In our series “Female Leaders@TUI” we feature these colleagues and their inspiring thoughts on the subject of equality in interview form. This time we talked to Roosmarijn Quartier, Head of Marketing Communications at TUI BeNe.
Roosmarijn, what is your current role at TUI?
I’m based in Ostend but also frequently visit my team in Rijswijk. I am responsible for the TUI brand strategy in Belgium and the Netherlands, which includes initiating brand and sales campaigns to support our brand strategy, as well as our commercial activities in both markets, for both the tour operator and the airline activities (TUI fly BeNe and TUI fly Morocco).
Who is your role model as a female leader?
To be honest, I’m not the type of person who looks up to celebrities or people who have made it big time in the world. Sometimes, I think these people are rather intimidating than inspiring. So I rather get inspired and motivated by women who have achieved something that is closer to my personal or professional life. One step at the time, because I believe that ambition and leadership is an ongoing process – not something you need to have covered in a plan somewhere during your career. So any woman who has made a substantial change, stood up for herself or for the better good, or who had to fight for her position is a potential heroine.
When I started my career, any manager who was able to climb the ladder while building a family was a role model for me. Now I am passed that, I’m rather inspired by woman who continue to grow for their “second” half of their career. Sometimes by making audacious choices, sometimes by perseverance.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias – what can we all do to excel at this and become less biased?
To find the solution, you need to go back to the cause. Biases are fed during your personal development, home or school context, education, religion, … So when you want to challenge yourself to break the bias, change your context. Explore the unknown. Emphasize that there are differences, in your close circle but also in the rest of the world. Discover other cultures. Find out how other people live and think. People with other context, education or religion. Travelling is the easiest way to break the bias in a fun way. So by showing the world to your children, giving them a broader context, I’m sure they will be less biased at a younger age.
Each year we ask ourselves the same, important question: Where does our society stand in terms of female leadership? And what about TUI?
I think we cannot deny that a lot has changed the past 10 years, but still, female leadership does not feel fully embedded yet. Talking about female leadership often comes with numbers. Numbers as proof. Company Y has x% women in its management or board. Or when we mention the fact of being a woman is a plus, when summarizing one’s capabilities. But to be honest, luckily I never felt that within my 15 year career at TUI. I feel that I had the same opportunities then male colleagues during my career and I grabbed those opportunities with both hands. At TUI I feel recognized for my hard work and effort.
There is a lot of talk about the specifics and qualities of female leadership. How are you leading?
I don’t think there is one set of specifics and qualities of female leadership. Just like personality, it is a mix of DNA and thinks you adopt along the way. The feedback I get, is that I have a collaborative leadership style in which transparency and accessibility are very important. I strongly believe that you can achieve a lot if you have the buy in of the people. The people of your team, but also colleagues from other departments. At TUI, business can change every week. Therefore you need to understand the business and match the business flow with marketing efforts. That’s why it’s so important to participate in commercial meetings, operational meetings etc. To keep track of what’s going on and what could influence our plans. Or to challenge certain initiatives if they don’t meet up with or brand or customer first strategy. As a person, I’m very open, straight forward and transparent to colleagues. That’s why I can easily link with people in the field, as well as with our senior management. I also build international relationships easily.
What is your advice for young female professionals regarding growth in their careers?
Trust in yourself, but be honest to yourself. You will be recognised as a strong female leader when you put enough effort in your personal growth and when you stay true to yourself. But it will not happen, just because you’re a woman. At least, that should not be your aim. Ask for support whenever you need it. It is sign of strength. Learn from others. Invest time and effort in a high performing team, because you can only be as good as the weakest link in your team. And me most importantly: find a good work life balance. You only live once, so make sure you get the most out of it, both professionally and personally.