Inspiring inclusion: Celebrating the women of SparkOptimus on International Women's Day

Inspiring inclusion: Celebrating the women of SparkOptimus on International Women's Day
SparkOptimus TeamKatja Knox
Written by
Katja Knox
The SparkOptimus Blog Team
March 8, 2024

On International Women's Day, we celebrate the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women worldwide. This year's theme, "Inspire Inclusion," calls for fostering diverse perspectives and creating environments where all women are valued and respected.

At SparkOptimus, we believe that embracing a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is not just the right thing to do, but also fuels our creativity, innovation, and ultimately, our success. We are proud to see this reflected in our employees, where 48% are women, and women make up half of our Management Team. This commitment to inclusion extends to our talent acquisition, with 52% of new hires in the last year being women.

In this article, we want to celebrate the awesome women who work at SparkOptimus, highlighting their different experiences that shape our company culture and enable us to serve our clients better, faster and more sustainable. These diverse perspectives fuel our entrepreneurial spirit and change leadership, allowing us to develop innovative solutions that empower our clients and remove barriers.

"It was actually quite by accident that I found Spark. My partner got a job in Amsterdam, so we moved here, and I stumbled upon Spark during my job search. I haven't regretted it for a second!

My background has definitely been helpful in my role at Spark. Coming from a different market and another consulting firm gave me a diverse perspective. And my experience working in a data-driven startup was also useful for the kind of projects we tackle at Spark.

And I've grown a lot professionally here! I've loved working with such smart people on interesting and varied projects with different clients. One project that stands out is working on a B2B portal for an industrial packaging client. Seeing the actual activation numbers, the tangible results of our efforts, was really rewarding. Another memorable moment was working side-by-side with the pricing coordinator for a large pharmaceutical company. We had envisioned this role together during the strategy phase, and seeing it come to life was special.

How do I see my role contributing to our mission of accelerating growth and making a positive impact on the world? At Spark, I'm focused on constant innovation and leadership to drive real results for our clients."

"It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since I joined SparkOptimus! I remember coming to my interview, and the moment I walked into the office, I just knew this was the place for me. The atmosphere was so positive and welcoming.

In my previous role, I set up the HR foundation, which was actually one of my first tasks here at Spark. I also helped establish different parts of the employee journey. For the first four years, I worked as a staffing coordinator. In such a fast-paced environment, it's important to stay grounded and maintain a positive 'can-do' attitude, which has always helped me – and still does today.

Looking back at my career here, it feels like the next step always came at the perfect time. Whenever things started to feel stagnant, there was a new challenge or opportunity waiting for me. And during personal times when things slowed down, like having two kids, it was perfectly fine to not focus on growth as much. Joining the Management Team recently has been a real highlight for me. One thing I'm incredibly proud of is that we've managed to maintain our unique culture over the years. People often say they wouldn't find this kind of environment anywhere else. Seeing everyone grow both personally and professionally over the years has been truly rewarding.

My role is all about the people side of the business. We work together towards a common goal, project, or cause, whatever it may be. It's the combination of being human, having fun, and being kind, all while being consultants, that makes Spark unique and allows us to truly make a difference for our clients."

"My SparkOptimus journey began in 2013 as an interior designer, designing and renovating the then new offices in Amsterdam. Over the next few years, I worked on the extension of our head office. Then, I was given the exciting opportunity to become the part-time head of facilities, which was my first 'real' non-design role here.

My experience in interior design definitely helps me in my current role. It requires a lot of organization and planning, which comes naturally to me. It's also important to be able to see the bigger picture and think ahead, which I learned through design work. Additionally, my creative side and ability to think outside the box come in handy when problem-solving.

Working at SparkOptimus has absolutely helped me grow personally. I've become more social and comfortable communicating with others, and I trust that my work makes a positive impact on the company and all my colleagues here."

"My journey at SparkOptimus started right after graduating from my last master's degree. I stumbled upon the opportunity to join our Inhouse Day, and let's just say it was love at first sight! The masterclasses, mock case studies, and most importantly, meeting all the amazing colleagues, totally won me over.

Coming from a different cultural background (Italian) and having studied in five different countries during my university years, I feel I can easily connect with clients from diverse backgrounds and offer unique perspectives, often complementing my Dutch colleagues' viewpoints. Additionally, I've always been incredibly curious and love to connect everything I learn to my work.

Looking back on the past two years, I've seen immense growth, evolving from a quiet slide-maker to a well-rounded professional who can lead my own workstream within larger projects. This wouldn't have been possible without the incredible variety of projects, clients, and countries I've been exposed to here. From digitizing HR processes at Colgate to developing a digital strategy for Van Oord's dredging unit, and even crafting a global B2B route-to-market strategy for Carlsberg, it's been an amazing journey!

If I had to choose just one of the incredible projects I have worked on, it would be organizing our very first Day of Giving last year. Seeing the whole company come together for a full day of painting, cooking, and planting trees to give back to our community was truly inspiring. Especially hearing how the day had a tangible impact on the people we were helping made it all the more meaningful."

"Stumbling upon the Finance Director opening at SparkOptimus through my sister was pure chance! I was looking for a change from my corporate role in Lisse, and the vibrant atmosphere of a young and dynamic consultancy firm in the city really appealed to me. My previous experience working as a consultant at EY for nearly 13 years definitely helped me adapt to SparkOptimus' business model. The fast-paced environment there prepared me well, and my knowledge and experience were a good fit from day one.

Coming from a formal corporate environment, I initially struggled to find the right balance between professionalism and the more relaxed approach at SparkOptimus. It was emphasized that professionalism was important to maintain high standards, but I quickly learned that overly formal communication wasn't always the best fit. I believe my realistic perspective and willingness to ask challenging questions help strengthen our credibility and transparency. I'm comfortable working behind the scenes, letting others take the spotlight, while ensuring things run smoothly."

"I came to SparkOptimus through an agency and right away I felt good vibes everywhere. The office has a relaxed atmosphere, and people were friendly and helpful, straight away connecting me with the right person. That's what I really like here - everyone is open-minded and you can truly be yourself. My colleagues are social and curious, and that makes us unique.

My studies in hotel and event management, and my experience in hospitality, definitely come in handy in my role. I support the partners, help people out, solve unexpected things, and aim to be the friendly face of the office. I'm also excited to be developing the events part of my role. It allows me to grow professionally by organizing events from start to finish, which is exactly what I studied for.

I was given a lot of trust and responsibility from the beginning, not just to support the partners but also to create a good space for everyone in the office. I want to be someone my colleagues can always count on for help. I'm especially enthusiastic about developing the events side of things, and I love the 'learning by doing' approach. It can be scary at first, but it's the fastest way to learn. There's also space to develop my own routines and share my ideas.

One of the most memorable moments for me was organizing the dinner for Supervisory Board members at the office. It was a great team effort, everyone had a role and we worked hard to make it a success. Seeing it come together as a well-executed event made me really proud and happy.

I see my role contributing to our mission by supporting the partners, allowing them to focus on what they do best. I also focus on events, aiming to raise brand awareness for SparkOptimus so that more clients can benefit from our services and contribute to positive change."

On this International Women's Day, we renew our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and empowerment, celebrating the women of SparkOptimus who inspire us daily. Together, we continue to break barriers, create sustainable solutions, and change the world for the better.

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