Distinguished Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumni Awards

A break in the presentation schedule saw the announcement of the winners of the RSM Distinguished Alumni Awards 2013 by City of Rotterdam Alderman Korrie Louwes. For the first time, the RSM community was invited to choose from the list of nominees. The community vote was combined with the decision of an external jury of RSM Advisory Board members.

The award for Distinguished Young Leader 2013 was presented jointly to Jente de Vries (MScBA2012) and Lisanne van Zwol (MScBA2012), joint founders of Kromkommer, a social enterprise targeting the reduction of food waste. They were nominated by Joey Johannsen, RSM’s Sustainability Co-ordinator.  “With their ‘think global, act local’ attitude, these two are committed to making the world a better place,” said Alderman Louwes, and described them as the embodiment of RSM’s four core themes of critical thinking, sustainability ‘with innovation and a heavy dose of true RSM spirit’.

After accepting her Erasmus statuette, Kromkommer’s Jente de Vries told the 700-strong Summit audience: “It’s only a year since we graduated and started to dive into the bins of Rotterdam after our courses at RSM made it clear to us how much we need to change the world. We managed to get wonky vegetables and our jams and chutneys on the shelves, and we built a community of thousands of likeminded people. And today… we won this award.” She emphasised that she and Lisanne van Zwolle were just two recent graduates with ‘not a lot of contacts, just starting a business without a lot of money to invest, but we followed our hearts’.

“And now we’re standing here in front of an impressive audience”, she said, and asked the audience members to use all of their experience and abilities to ‘take a minute to think about what you could do’.

Winner of the Senior Leaders’ Distinguished Alumni Award 2013 was Martin Kersbergen (Executive MScCC2009), who is Manager of Corporate Communication and Marketing Strategy at Eindhoven-based funeral insurance co-operative DELA. He was nominated by Cees van Riel, Professor of Corporate Communication at RSM.

The jury decided Kersbergen’s ‘excellent communication and visionary strategy’ had earned the company global attention for its moving ‘Why wait until it’s too late?’ advertising campaign. “Martin’s innovative approach and business-like mind has used the art of storytelling in an uncomfortable industry,” said Korrie Louwes.

“Of course it’s an incredible honour to be chosen to win the award,” Kersbergen told the Summit audience, and explained that the motto ‘doing good is connected to doing well in business’ and having sound values had inspired and developed his talents when the going got tough. His inspiration, he said, was one of the last conversations he had had with his father, who died young and unexpectedly at the age of 42. “He expressed disappointment in me, and we never had the chance to get it right,” he said. The ‘Why wait?’ initiative gave Martin the chance to raise awareness of confronting the issue, and avoiding unspoken regret. It uses the values of honesty and authenticity. “Companies can make a difference, adding true meaning to society through products and services,” he said, and publicly thanked his wife and children for their love and support.