‘Do you blindly follow a sat nav, or do you go your own way?’ I heard this question at TEDx Rotterdam in 2011 and it made me stop and think. I suddenly realised that I am fully responsible for my own career path. There’s nobody who can tell me whether to go left or right.’
I am fully responsible for my own career path. There’s nobody who can tell me whether to go left or right.
Leonie Verwer Programme manager Sponsoring & Events and former trainee
I was working at YER, a recruitment agency, and, together with people from ABN AMRO, organised a side event for TEDx Rotterdam in 2011. That’s how I got to know the bank in a different way. What intrigued me was the progressive thinking of a bank in lean times.
An inspiring group of people
I looked into a traineeship with the bank and discovered that ABN AMRO gives you fifteen months to map out your own path. It all came together, and in June 2013 I started the programme along with nineteen other trainees. Two things struck me: first, the diversity of participants. This was very inspiring – all the different people. Plus we were supervised by coaches and mentors, and there was a buddy system, right from the outset. ABN AMRO takes its traineeships very seriously. That gives me a good feeling.
From SMEs to Art & Culture
I started out on the business side of the bank where SMEs are served. I visited clients and had interesting talks with colleagues about the credit process. I was then allowed to give input on the bank’s corporate identity and got a look at Facility Management. It was fascinating to experience how high on the agenda sustainability is at ABN AMRO. The bank gave me a lot of freedom to manage sustainable information flows, from analysis to implementation. I am currently posted at the Sponsoring & Events department, where I’m working on the Art & Culture portfolio.
The good thing about a traineeship is that you learn a great deal, much of which only comes to the surface later. Looking back, the theme of the last few months has been ‘connecting’. On the one hand, connecting with the client, doing your utmost and going the extra mile for the client. On the other, connecting with my colleagues. In addition to my own trainee group and direct colleagues, I also have access to many other current and former trainees. When I was a child, I learned the expression ‘It never hurts to ask’ – and this is doubly true for trainees at ABN AMRO!
This past year has presented me with challenge after challenge, both professionally and personally. Before I started the programme, I had resolved to show my vulnerable side during the traineeship. It’s not always been easy, but I’m so glad I did. Being open to learning from others has given me new insights, about myself and also about the world around me.