Promoting more female leadership throughout the Netherlands. With that goal in mind, Francine van Dierendonck has signed a sponsorship contract with Topvrouwen Limburg on behalf of APG. "APG has a special bond with the Limburg region, and therefore it wants to draw extra attention to diversity here too."
Stichting Topvrouwen Limburg is a foundation that aims to promote and develop female entrepreneurship and leadership in the southern province. And that is a mission APG is happy to join. Francine van Dierendonck, member of the board of directors and responsible for Fund Operations and Participant and Employer Services, explains why: "As a major employer, APG wants to promote female leadership throughout the Netherlands. APG has a special bond with the Limburg region, and therefore it wants to draw extra attention to diversity here too. Wouldn't it be great if the Limburg Top Woman 2022 can soon be seen as a role model by all colleagues within APG, men and women? To be inspired and motivated by her in their further careers."
As a sponsor, APG makes every effort to promote 'female entrepreneurship, female management, female energy and female business emotion' to stimulate and develop within their own organization'. According to Francine, practice is as follows: "In terms of promotions and appointments, we are alert to diversity and in recent years, APG has put a lot of effort into closing the pay gap. We also recently started an executive leadership program to develop talent in the organization. Because we don't yet have the male-female ratio in order in all layers of the organization, we offer this program as a priority to a group of talented women."
Making a difference
The annual election for the honorary title of Limburg Top Woman is one of the ways in which the foundation promotes female leadership. The election puts inspiring top women in the spotlight. The title is bestowed on 'a personality that radiates and gives confidence, and a top woman with an established reputation, who is passionate about doing the right thing for people and society'.
Hannie Bovens, Group Finance Project Manager at APG and also an unpaid board member at Stichting Topvrouwen Limburg, adds: "Together with the jury, we're now translating this into specific assessment criteria. These will be dynamic; each jury can put its own stamp on it and the zeitgeist also plays a role. The common theme is 'where, as a woman, you make the difference'. And how that makes you a role model for others."
Not automatically at the top
Hannie has been involved in promoting female leadership for a long time now. In the past, as a member of the top women's network within APG and from her role as a supervisory director at a housing corporation, the intention came about to set up a female supervisory director network in Limburg. That is how she came into contact with Topvrouwen Limburg. "Years ago, I thought that the promotion of women would all come automatically. However, when I look back on it, I notice something completely different. All women of my generation have also continued their education and have continued to work (many of them full-time) but unfortunately, that's not reflected in the figures of female managers."
Topvrouwen Limburg is for that matter not the same as or a split-off from Stichting Topvrouw van het Jaar, a foundation that focuses on women throughout the Netherlands. They do, however, pursue the same goal.