Marijke Kasius
Marijke, let’s start with you being named as CxO of the Year in 2022. What did that mean to you?

It was an amazing feeling and a proud moment to know so many people had voted for me. Being nominated was an honour, but winning was incredible. We celebrated as a team as I’m a firm believer that a prize like that is not all about one person, but is testament to every single person playing their part. 

How did you get started in IT?

I’ve had an interest in IT for as long as I can remember, starting out in younger days as a gamer, but gradually becoming more deep rooted. The 1s and 0s were just fascinating. Either something worked or it didn’t, which is so beautiful in its simplicity. I was also drawn by the fast pace of the industry, the dynamism, innovation and what it means for our existence.

You’ve held a leadership position for over 10 years. What is the most important aspect of your leadership style?

I’m always very open and honest. My team should always know I’m there for them and appreciate what they do. After all, I can only do my job well, when everyone else does their well, too. Every single one is an important cog in the machine. I’m able to create structures and develop processes, but sales and purchasing aren’t really my bag. Thankfully, I have fantastic colleagues in those departments who deliver every day.

You are CEO of PQR, your husband runs his own software company and you have four children. How do you manage it all?

You have to have a lot of energy, even more passion and a very good work/life balance. When am I at home? When is family time? When am I working? When do I absolutely have to be available? I ask myself these questions every day. I’m also very driven by having a positive impact on my environment and doing my bit for society, which is why I’m a consultant for the Bodegraven-Reeuwijk city council, offering my expertise in digital education to The Learning Network. Th reality is my children and future generations will use digital devices more often than they do books and paper and we have to face up to that and find meaningful solutions. Contributing in this way gives me the positivity and energy to reconcile my work and my family.

Creativity and innovation come from diversity and inclusion.

Marijke Kasius

Are flexible working hours and workplaces also important for your PQR colleagues when it comes to the work/life balance?

All colleagues benefit from our flexible concepts, one of which we’ve called the “Don’t Get Stuck in Traffic” policy. Why waste time being stuck in a traffic jam if you can start a little bit earlier or a little bit later or even hold your first meeting of the day from home. Traffic jams eat up time, suck up a lot of energy and cause unnecessary stress. I want my employees to make good use of their time in the office, sharing ideas, creating and innovating. If they are in Teams meetings all day, they can do that from home where they can work efficiently and without distractions. We have to leverage the benefits of both worlds and forget about sitting in traffic just to make it to the office for 9 am.

Does that also apply to you?

Yes, of course. I spend about 50 per cent of my time in the office.

You mentioned creativity and innovation. How are these fostered at PQR?

Diversity and inclusion are so important. People are often far too quick to judge others, how they act and their life circumstances instead of getting to know them. Different attitudes, backgrounds and life experiences are incredibly valuable for our company because they help us see other perspectives and work together as a team to find the best solutions. It’s not helpful in the long-run if everyone has the same ideas. Becoming a signatory to the Charta der Vielfalt was an important step. You can talk until you are blue in the face, but signing something like that is a clear sign that you mean business.

The IT industry is still very much a boys club. What would you say to young women interested in getting started in the sector?

I spoke to a friend recently, who had just had her first child and received a promotion at the same time. She wanted to know what she should do and this is a challenge facing many women. My message? Women don’t have to decide. If it feels right and you are passionate enough, you can have your cake and eat it. I've never been more convinced of anything. You just need a stable network and clear communication. Women must be open about their aims, be courageous and understand that they have the right to succeed at work and raise a family.

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