Bianca is generous, humble, and is driven by helping others. She joined RSM in 2015 and is an active volunteer. In addition to her role as an Executive Assistant, she now leads the Community Service Programme in and around Rotterdam – it supports RSM’s community partners and helps them to increase their local impact.
What do you like the most about your role?
“I really enjoy the contact with colleagues, the variety of the role and the fact that I learn something about the organisation every day. My job really spans the entire Erasmus University, so I also learn from other faculties.”
How did you start doing community service?
“I practically grew up on a playground in the centre of Rotterdam, at the Weena [a street of high-rise apartment blocks in the centre of Rotterdam]. There were a lot of activities there for children, like kids bingo, arts and crafts afternoons, and school holiday camps. Even as a kid I helped organise these activities, and then I joined the board. A big reason why I did this was because there are a lot of young people that hang around the city centre that don’t have much or come from broken homes. When I moved to Capelle aan den IJssel as an adult, I had a son who joined the football club. At one point I was helping out as a volunteer there every weekend. It ranged from helping with shifts in the kitchen and the bar to joining committees for uniforms and holiday feasts for the kids.”
What motivated you to do community service?
“It’s a part of my character I think. I’m not someone who likes to sit still and do nothing, I like to be active. It also happened organically at the football club. It started with a helping hand here and there when there weren’t enough people. Then I started making schedules for the volunteer shifts and it just grew from there. And what is most rewarding is of course seeing the kids happy.
“This year with COVID-19, the kids weren’t allowed big gatherings like the end-of-year party. I thought it was a good time to stop volunteering. It was good timing because I was asked by Eva Rood, Director of Positive Change at RSM, to lead our Community Service Programme. I’m excited for the possibilities when we’re allowed more mobility and contact again and there are less restrictions due to COVID.”
Launched in April 2019, the Community Service Programme facilitates volunteer activities for RSM employees. The programme has partnerships with ‘local heroes’ in and around Rotterdam, such as Stichting Humanitas, Stichting Jarige Job, and Excelsior4ALL. Volunteers help the community partners to increase their local impact.
How has COVID-19 affected your job? How have you dealt with it?
“It’s been tough to be honest. It was really something everyone had to adapt to, especially at the beginning. The biggest change of course is not seeing colleagues face to face to have a spontaneous chat or to bounce ideas off of or have a laugh with. That is something that I used to find relaxing, and all of that just disappeared. In your home office, you don’t have those spontaneous moments so you just keep working. Another aspect is that we no longer have physical events, so planning has changed to virtual events and meetings only. My working hours changed too because during the stricter lockdown at the start, parents would have to help their kids first during the day with home schooling and so their work schedules also got moved around. I was flexible with this but at some point also had to make boundaries or I’d be working far too late into the evening. What helped me through it a lot was taking walks, going outside and keeping active. It’s not good to only stay inside your house.”