Keynote: Truus Huisman, Vice President Sustainable Business and Communications, Unilever Europe

As a member of the European leadership team of Unilever, Truus Huisman is responsible for embedding sustainability in the business, pro-actively communicating Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan with all stakeholders, driving employee engagement, leading a business focused external affairs strategy in Brussels, and rolling out pro-active issues management in Europe.  

Ms. Huisman has gained broad and in-depth experience in communications, external affairs and issues management as well as sustainable development; in various roles in Europe and the USA. She formerly served Unilever as Vice President Issues, Media Relations and Government Affairs (1 year), as Director Global External Affairs, Issues, Crises and Stakeholders Management (2 years, 8 months) and as Director European External Affairs (9 years) progressively up to her current assignment. 

Truus studied Management of International Organisations and History at University of Groningen. She is well versed in stakeholder management, sustainable development, corporate communications, governance and issues/crisis management. She has worked in various industries, including tourism, consumer goods, and water management.

Moderator:  Muriel Arts, Co-Founder and Director of Flow Foundation

Muriel Arts is a specialist in sustainable strategy and innovation, impact measurement and leadership development. She has 24 years of international experience in various board roles at Unilever, Talpa Media, KPN and Achmea. She co-founded the social enterprise Talent to the Top, a Dutch initiative for gender diversity, and was President of the Board of the Dutch Marketing Institute (NIMA). Muriel is Co-Founder and Director of Flow Foundation and Flow Impact Fund. She is a Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University PhD candidate in a research assignment with the Partnership Resource Centre focusing on creating shared value and impact results measurement.   

Muriel has a Doctoral degree in dental medicine (DMD) from the University of Utrecht. She lives with her two teenage sons in Rozendaal, the Netherlands. She loves reading, travelling, meditation, yoga, music, socialising with friends and family, and being outside in nature on her mountain bike and skis.

Opening: Professor Steef van de Velde, Dean Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Steef van de Velde is a Professor of Operations Management and Technology and Dean of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). His research interests lie in the areas of operations excellence, service operations, and (behavioural) supply chain management. He has published in the leading academic journals including, among others, Management ScienceCalifornia Management Review, Operations Research, Mathematical Programming, INFORMS Journal on Computing, IIE Transactions, and Journal of Scheduling.

Professor van de Velde holds an MSc in econometrics from the Erasmus School of Economics and a PhD in mathematics and computer science from the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has served as Dean for RSM since September 2011.

Pub quiz: Siri Lijfering, Project Officer Partnerships Resource Centre

Siri Lijfering is a Researcher and Project Officer at the Partnerships Resource Centre at RSM. At the PRC she manages the NWO/WOTRO project “Inclusive business strategies for Sub-Saharan Africa”, a research consortium of more than 30 partners broadly based in academia, the private sector and NGOs both in the Netherlands and in Africa. In addition, she’s one of the researchers in the PPPLab, a four-year action research and joint learning initiative which started in 2014 to study the relevance, effectiveness and quality of Dutch-supported public-private partnerships (PPPs) for water safety, food security and private sector development.

Siri holds a masters degree in International Development with a regional focus on Africa from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a bachelor’s degree in social and cultural anthropology from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Siri has previously worked as an editor at Vice Versa, the Dutch journal on international development and is chair of IDleaks, a Dutch network organisation promoting an honest and open debate about international development.

Pub quiz: Shahrzad Nourozi, Junior Advisor Movisie

Shahrzad Nourozi is a Junior Advisor at Movisie, which is one of the largest Dutch centers for social development. Their mission is to promote the participation and independence of citizens by supporting and advising professional organizations, voluntary organizations and government institutions on social issues. In one of her projects, Shahrzad focusses on young refugees whom recently have obtained a Dutch residence permit. She helps and advises them on how they can better handle and deal with the Dutch educational system and the Dutch job market.

Shahrzad is also active at the E-motive program, which is a network of organizations across the globe that aims to share innovative solutions to global and local issues. E-motive is an Oxfam International initiative. Within E-motive, Shahrzad is part of the Deepening Democracy project. This project runs in seven countries and aims to empower women, youth and other marginalized citizens by enabling them to form networks and allowing them to form alliances. This helps such local initiatives to gain more participatory and deliberative democratic rights and therewith allows them to exercise more direct influence on the policy cycle.

Shahrzad holds a master degree in International Development Studies (2012) which she earned at the University of Amsterdam. For her master thesis she analyzed the socio-economic aspect of the emerging middle class in Ghana.