Leon Noorlander, the Treasurer, is Deputy Director at Pharos. Prior to that, Leon worked for the FNV trade union and as a political and policy advisor to the national government. There he was responsible, among other things, for setting up the Social Domain Programme.
What motivated you to join the NewBees board?
Leon: “In 2015-16, when a large number of Syrians came to the Netherlands, I worked as a Senior Program Manager for the Dutch government. At that time I instructed civil society organizations to get to work and use the power of society to find solutions for a situation for which The Hague was not prepared. At that time I met Annemiek, who had just founded NewBees. We always kept in touch. In my current position at Pharos I am not directly involved in the integration of newcomers. That’s why I’m happy to play a role in this as a member of the NewBees board. My parents taught me that you have to work hard to get ahead, but that not everyone gets equal opportunities. I was lucky to grow up in the Netherlands and to be able to study. I am happy to use my knowledge and expertise for good causes.”
“The board is a soundboard for the management, the critical friend. That is the best part of our job.”
What is your role and responsibility?
Leon: “I have a lot of administrative experience, I know the government, civil societies and the challenges of civic integration. NewBees is doing very good things. I’m happy to support that. Strictly formal, our role as supervisory board is to check whether the organization is doing what it should: Does the board take decisions in line with the social objectives? Are the finances in order? That is actually going very well, which is why these tasks only cost us twenty percent of our time. We use the rest to spar with each other. The board is a soundboard for the management, the critical friend. That is the best part of our job.”
From growth phase to next level: How do you view NewBees’ future?
Leon: “The new Civic Integration Act offers many opportunities for NewBees. In the short term, I hope that the housing issues for newcomers will be solved by the various municipalities so that the NewBees teams can get to work with the implementation of participation processes. NewBees does it for and with the people concerned. In the longer term, I expect that more and more municipalities will recognize that NewBees’ proposition, programs and working methods deliver the best participation results. NewBees INC. also opens up new possibilities because many organisations, including municipalities, are looking for practical solutions for a safe and inclusive workplace. Many opportunities for growth.”
Oversee and monitor NewBees’ mission
NewBees is a social enterprise. This means that while remaining a healthy and sustainable company, making an impact is always our top priority. To guarantee this, there is an independent advisory body that monitors NewBees’ management on the social mission and its implementation: the board of the ‘NewBees Foundation’, priority shareholder of ‘NewBees Inclusion Solutions B.V.’ that carries out all activities of NewBees.