When Jan Kramer and Philip Dries met each other long ago at Loodswezen, it was the start of a special friendship. Jan Kramer found out in 2014 that he has ALS. Since then, he combined his personal health battle with a quest to raise attention and money for research into this destructive disease. In 2017 for the second consecutive year Philip Dries, Xander Vlasblom and other colleagues from Schuberg Philis participated in the Tour d’ALS on Mont Ventoux. Jan Kramer was on the front seat of a tandem, fastened with a belt, and thus able to climb 21 kilometers to 1,900 meters with the help of a ‘push team’ of eight men and women rotating after each 300 meters. Everywhere people on the mountain were shaking hands and singing the song 'This is what it feels like'. The team could never have imagined that a song can mean so much. The last six kilometers were above the tree line, a bare landscape with only rocks. With four ladies in the lead, Jan Kramer was pushed over the finish line, followed by an explosion of emotion by everyone.
When the Dutch Harvard alumni approached us to set up a meeting together, we reacted enthusiastically for two reasons: first, the Schuberg Philis story is a Harvard Business case, but mainly because Marinka van der Meer, CEO of Argenta, is a Harvard alumna.
Together with the Dutch Harvard Alumni association and Argenta we co-created an interesting event and social get-together. Arjan Eriks and Jeroen Borst challenged the participants by discussing a different kind of leadership, as described in the Harvard case. What does an organization need to do to achieve 100%, unconditional customer commitment and continuous growth?
Together with Bizzomate we organized an afternoon for a group of 15 refugee kids. The purpose of Bizzomate kids is to help these children find their way in life in the Netherlands, by introducing them to people working in all sorts of professions and organizations. And perhaps as a result, we can inspire them to study something technical and achieve their potential. Since one of our colleagues has a lot of experience of working with refugee children, we wrote down some positive engagement rules to help them be successful in a Dutch company. The group was split into two subgroups for a tour through our data center and a soldering workshop. It was a very joyful afternoon for everyone.
Our customer team working for the Hartwig Medical Foundation asked colleagues to join them in cycling, running, or walking in the Stelvio for Life challenge (www.stelvioforlife.nl). A group of eight colleagues did so, joining more than 300 other participants on September 2. The course had to be modified due to heavy snow and cold. For safety reasons, the turning point was installed after 13 km (at an altitude of 2,147 meters), instead of the usual finish after 21.1 kilometers (at 2,758 meters). Instead, the distance was extended to 26 kilometers and both the start and the finish were on the village square in Bormio. The participants collected almost €600,000 for personalized cancer research, 100% of which is actually used for research. As promised, the Stelvio challenge was indeed a life-changing event for our colleagues.