An interview with the chairman of the Synergy Conference Committee: Hadewych van Reeuwijk

February 6th, 2019

Chiel Tijdink

On the 26th of February the annual Synergy Conference will take place at Fort Lent. The committee is busy with the last preparations before their big day. A good moment for an interview with the chairman: Hadewych van Reeuwijk. I spoke with Hadewych one day after the opening of the subscriptions.

 Hi Hadewych, yesterday you and your committee opened the subscriptions with a kick-off stunt in the Synergy Office. What kind of reactions did you get last Monday?

 

The reactions were very good! Everyone was very enthusiastic about the companies and we had more subscriptions after the first day than we expected. People liked the variation of the workshops and most of the people I spoke want to come to the conference. We also got a lot of positive reactions about our decoration in the Synergy room. We organized a sort of mini-conference in the Synergy room and we gave everyone some free 'poffertjes’. Moreover, board-member Mark said several times that he liked our conference outfits!

About one year ago you decided to organize the Synergy Conference 2019. How do you look back on this decision and why should people become a part of the Conference Committee 2020?

I am very happy with my choice to become a member of the Conference Committee. I have learned a lot by joining this committee, especially things we do not learn in our study: Business Administration.
I learned how to motivate people and how to keep a process on track. Every member has its own learning opportunities. For example, the External members learned how to get in contact with companies and how to negotiate with these companies. Besides the development I experienced last year, organizing the Synergy Conference brings a lot of fun and satisfaction. For instance, when we contracted the location or a company, we were all very happy and kind of euphoric. This brings a good vibe into the committee and everyone is willing to put some extra effort into it. Unfortunately, not everything will go the easy way and sometimes it can be hectic, but then it is essential to stay positive. Another thing I really appreciate about the Conference Committee is that it is important to be a good and strong team, because you work intensively with each other for a whole year. The last year I became good friends with the rest of my committee, and we are often hanging out with each other in our spare time. So, you can say we are a strong team together!

I would certainly recommend people to become a member of the Conference Committee 2020. It is a great and challenging opportunity to develop yourself!

“We went on a committee weekend in November. Here, we worked on the conference, and we also had a lot of fun together!”

Can you tell us a little bit more about your committee?

The committee exists of 7 members. I am the chairman and one of my tasks is to make sure that everyone and everything keeps on track. Nick is the treasurer of the committee and he is also part of the external team that exists of 4 people (Nick, Maxime, Myrthe and Chiel). The external team is responsible for signing the companies. Kim is responsible for all the internal affairs, like the location. She also makes sure that everything runs smoothly at the day of the conference. Finally, we have Wouter and he is responsible for all the promotion of the conference.

When we started as a committee, we did not know each other very well, but now we are more like friends, so the ambiance is good. We spent a lot of time together, because it is important to become a good team. A good example is that we went on a committee weekend together in November. Here, we worked on the conference, and we also had a lot of fun together!

Can you give the reader a small glimpse of what is involved in the process of organizing the conference?

The process of organizing the conference starts with finding a theme that is interesting enough. About one month before the summer break we decided on our theme, so you can see it took some time to find a good theme. Immediately after the summer break, Kim and Wouter started looking for a location. It is important to find a location early in the process, that suits the theme. During the summer break the external team started with making a list of interesting companies for the conference, and right after the summer break they started to contact these companies. When a company promised to give a workshop at the conference, the externals went to the company to discuss the content of the workshop. After the company signed the contract, it is important for the externals to stay in touch with the company. During this process I was busy finding people to speak at the conference. Later in the process, Wouter launched the first promotional expressions, like the Facebook page and the announcement of the location. Now we are in the last weeks of preparation before the conference takes place. In these weeks Kim is very busy with developing schedules and making sure that all supplies are present for the conference.

“The overall goal of the conference is to combine theory with practice”

The theme of this year is ‘Keeping Up with The Changing Customer’ can you tell me what we can expect of this theme and why the committee made the choice for this theme?

Sure! The overall goal of the conference is to combine theory with practice. In this one-day event, various presentations and workshops are held by companies related to the theme ‘Keeping Up with The Changing Customer’.  During the event you will get answers on questions like: What does the economy of the future look like? How do companies anticipate to the changing customers’ demands?  The conference focusses on the companies who have been successfully responding to the changing economy for quite some time, or start-ups which provide new solutions for the changing needs and changing relations with customers.

We made the choice for this theme because we wanted to have a theme that is a hot topic for companies nowadays. Furthermore, the changing customer is a theme that has several aspects. You will experience this at the conference.

The day will start with two speakers, can you tell me something about the speakers?

The first speaker will be Bob Hutten, he is the director of Hutten Catering (a family business in the catering industry). Besides his catering company, he is busy with several initiatives which are mostly focused on sustainability. In his presentation of 40 minutes he will tell you everything about the change in customers that he experienced in the last years. You will get an answer on questions like: “How do you get in touch with your customer?” He will focus on innovations and his main question will be: “How can you use innovations to anticipate on fast changing customer needs?” After his presentation there will be enough time to ask all your questions.

The second speaker will be Duncan Buisman. He is a young entrepreneur and the co-founder and sales manager of MeerVerkopen. MeerVerkopen helps companies by realizing more sales. They use a smart approach, based on existing models like: The BMC model, the Customer Journey Model, and Bullseye method. Duncan is specialized in value proposition and the B2B market. He will focus his presentation on value proposition, and he will give an answer on questions like: “How is the value proposition changed in the last years?” He will also give some examples of using theoretical models in practice.

Also, 8 workshops from different companies will be held during the conference. Can you tell us more about the companies, and can you give a small description of their workshops?

The companies that will be present at the Synergy Conference 2019 are: Young Capital, One4marketing, Heldro, FLOOW2, YourSurprise.nl, Coop, Djeepo and Jumbo. I would love to give you descriptions of their workshops, but this will take a while. Therefore, I want to invite you to visit the Synergy website, to read the more extensive descriptions.

We also made some introducing videos in collaboration with the companies, which can be seen on the Facebook-event page of the Synergy Conference 2019.

“We have some very inspirational speakers, and during the workshops you will get challenged in many ways!”

What can people expect of the Synergy Conference 2019?

At the Synergy Conference 2019 you will learn a lot about the latest developments on how companies adapt and interact with their changing customer base. You will help the companies by developing your own view on which aspects of the changing customer are most important. The presentations and workshops will be very interactive, and your opinion will be heard. We have some very inspirational speakers and during the workshops, you will get challenged in many ways!

If this is not attractive enough, there will be a very good lunch at the conference and a free drink afterwards haha!

Finally, do you have some final words for the readers of this article?

Yes, of course! After one year of preparations we, as committee, are looking forward to the Synergy Conference 2019. We believe that it will be a beautiful and interesting day and we hope to see you all at the Synergy Conference 2019 on the 26th of February!

You can subscribe for the Synergy Conference 2019 at www.synergy.nu or at the Synergy Office. For members it will cost €5,00, and non-members pay €17,50.

The Synergy Office is closed till the 1st of September. For more information, go to www.synergy.nu/coronavirus