Robeco CEO Karin van Baardwijk is one of the important female leaders in the Dutch financial sector. How did she end up in that position? What, in her view, is the importance of gender equality in the business? And how does she deal with her mentor role? In an interview with Katherine Kucherenko during the APG Talks event, she provides the answers and shares her views on diversity and inclusion.
Karin van Baardwijk has been active for Robeco for over 17 years. She worked in various positions and rose to the position of CEO. “The fact that I am a woman is not the reason why I am now CEO of Robeco”, she says. “No, the energy you put in, the hard work and the qualities are relevant and have brought me to this position.” In the conversation with Katherine Kucherenko of APG, Karin refers to her career path. “Some have seen me come here in 2005 and grow through various roles to my current position. This is proof for them that our organization is capable of developing (female) talent.”
But this does require something from an organization, Karin knows. “You have to follow talent, remove obstacles, stay in conversation with them, develop them and offer them opportunities.” This also includes mentoring. “Support is needed throughout someone's career. I also continue to develop myself again and again, with the help of others. Very important, mentors keep you sharp and bring new insights.” She also emphatically takes on this mentor role and, as a top woman, she encourages development among colleagues. “But it sometimes feels hard to be a role model. Everyone looks at you and sees what is good and what is not.”
The common thread in the conversation between Karin and Katherine is also the promotion of diversity, equal opportunities and inclusivity. Robeco attaches great importance to this, says Karin. “Partly because the quality of our services is related to it. We are a global organization with a diverse customer base from different regions. We want to empathize with our customers as best as possible and therefore strive for an organization that is as diverse as our customers are. It is therefore not a theme about which we just have to have an opinion and that you just tick off, like; we've ticked the box. No, D&I is a core value of our strategy.”
Watch the entire interview here.