Now I’ve started my communications work in Portugal, my friends, business partners and colleagues start asking me the reasons for my move. This is, of course, a very legitimate thing to ask. Let me share some of my thoughts on this.
If you check out my bio, you’ll discover that I’ve quite a record when it comes to communication. Coming from a Dutch entrepreneurial family with international ties, it is natural for me to look across borders. However, this is the first time I took the step of really moving out of my native country for work. Why oh why?
First reason: this is a challenge. Look at my CV or bio, and you’ll see that within my profession I always took on major challenges. Like starting up the PR for the then new car brand Daewoo. Or, some years later, setting up the corporate communications department of the listed B2B multinational Vopak. More recently I was involved in developing a social media and privacy strategy for a leading major healthcare organisation. I love complex project. I love building. Coming to Portugal poses a new challenge. Focusing on international communication, I am thoroughly challenged.
A challenge alone is not enough to make a move. Having been a regular visitor to Portugal, I have seen not only those challenges, but also increasing possibilities and opportunities. I believe in the products and services coming from this country, which combine innovation and tradition with craftsmanship and sustainability. However, I also believe that the communication deserves a boost. I’m convinced that my multinational background will add to what is already here. It is not just about marketing, it is about bridging invisible barriers and connecting in new ways.
‘The grass is always greener…’, I’m sure you know the saying. Portugal is, in many ways, a unique part of Europe and definitely different from my country of origin. So far, I’ve learnt a lot about the societal, social and cultural climate here. I had to step way out of my comfort zone when moving here. In return I gained new perspectives and reflections. I don’t believe the different climate is or should be a deciding factor, though I’m not going to complain about the weather here. Let’s be realistic: it should never mask the other qualities Portugal has to offer. In short: I’m finding new perspectives.
‘Cross the bridge when you get there’. Well, I’ve arrived.’
Portugal is a fascinating place to be. Interestingly, it shares a common world-conquering history with my native country. However, the way its colonial past has been absorbed into daily life is quite different. Having been active in various areas of diversity, I have become inspired by the Portuguese approach towards diversity and inclusion. I realise how sensitive this matter is, and I’m sure there are lessons to be learnt for me in this area. Yes, I’ve come here to learn.
So, you see there are many reasons for me to be here. Last and definitely not least I want to mention the most personal one: love and friendship(s). These have been the ultimate triggers to not only continue my professional life here in Portugal, but also rebuild my personal life. To me, there is no difference in personal and professional.
This is all about passion and the pursuit of dreams. It’s real life. As one of my friends taught me: ‘Cross the bridge when you get there’. Well, I’ve arrived. And I’m now crossing the proverbial bridge…