Janneke Hoebink: “Ultimately you are your limiting factor: let them talk”

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

She proves that it helps to come from a family where at least one family member is driving your way into IT. She has shaped her career in such a way that she is mainly involved in IT. NL News of the Week Janneke Hoebink now supervises change processes, mainly in IT. “I am not very technical, I am mainly concerned with what and when, less with how.”

You don’t have to be very technical to work in tech, even though that’s what people often think. Janneke Hoebink is the textbook example of this. “Now I’m working with a customer who is going to change his current ERP package. There I will operate as a product owner. I used to do that because a service desk was going to be outsourced. As a product owner you have to deal with many stakeholders and that can involve resistance. I focus more on the human side of processes and am in between, that business and technology.”

Jane Hoebink

Janneke recently started her own company. That is now developing. All the steps in her career come together here. “I did three courses, including art and technology. I don’t know if the program is still offered, but I did interaction design. The Internet was booming in the late 1990s and the program focused on three specialisms: management and content, technology and programming or design.”

Janneke has benefited a lot from her father. He was in IT. “He was marketing director at ATOS (a major international player in the field of digital transformation, ed.) at that time and he had interaction designers in his team. I thought they did such nice things. There was also one tough woman in that team who had completed that training, Ingrid van Zummeren, and she inspired me to do that training as well.” Although it was a good idea in principle, in practice it turned out to be too much of a shock. “I think I was a little too young. I was a girl from Veldhoven and suddenly went to live in Utrecht and study in Hilversum. Many people had already done MBO and I got a bit lost there. I should have been firmer in my shoes, but I stopped. I started doing art & economics and I enjoyed exploring it more in depth.”

From Tele2 to T-Mobile

However, Janneke did not complete that training either. “Studying wasn’t for me, so I just started working. My friends worked at Versatel and I thought that would be fun too. I had already worked at KPN’s Magstream helpdesk at the time, so I could start working at Versatel. Versatel quickly became Tele2, I worked in the order management department and I learned more about the telecom world, fiber optics and networks. Very interesting. I enjoyed talking to customers and I was given plenty of room to grow. In the end I worked there for 14 years. My identity had completely merged with Tele2. But: it was time to do something new. You’ve seen everything at least once. The takeover of T-Mobile was a good time for me to pack my bags.”

Janneke Hoebink did nothing for a while. She wanted to hit the pause button and think about how she wanted to organize the second part of her career. “I rolled into everything, things were always happening to me. I had just moved, had a fresh relationship. We just enjoyed it for a while. Eventually, after some time, I started volunteering in the library in Hoorn. I gave digital skills training to mainly older ladies. It’s so much fun to translate back why we do things, so that they understand it too. It’s a great exercise of patience, especially since computers make a lot of sense to me. However, there is an entire population group where this is not the case: they are not native users.”

A own company

It felt very good for Janneke to empower those women. Women whose husbands have just died, who have just been divorced, or whose children tell them to take only one tablet, without being able to properly explain how it works. There were also men, but mainly 60+ women. At one point, when the library was looking for a project manager to run a pilot for the digital government information point, I registered with the Chamber of Commerce. I stopped volunteering and threw myself into it. When the project was completed, I took the time to think about what services I actually wanted to offer as a company. Finally, just before Christmas, I told the whole world that I was for hire. Very scary, putting that on LinkedIn, I find it difficult to sell myself.”

What do you have to lose?

“Rationally I know very well what I can do, but emotionally there is a kind of modesty involved. Also this interview: I also think it is very important to show the outside world that there are women in technology. But do I work? I don’t consider myself very technical. Can I do this? Fortunately, I have a great coach who says: “Okay, but what happens if you just do it? What do you have to lose?” and that helps. This is a threshold you have to overcome as a self-employed person. I can always go back to work for a boss. It’s growth and that just hurts a bit. And luckily it is ultimately a lot of fun.”

Your own stumbling block

The reason Janneke Hoebink is doing this interview is, among other things, because she believes that women in tech are not stimulated enough. “We are more than pink and Barbies, but at primary schools girls are not stimulated much towards technology. Fortunately, there are people like me who have been inspired to go into tech from home. I also look at what my role can be in this: how can I encourage others? In India or Italy it is much more normal for women to work in tech. It’s a good career. But apparently we in the Netherlands have created the image of a nerd and that is a man or boy. We really need to change that and that means women in tech have to push that extra bit. Let them talk once in a while, trust yourself and your own abilities. In the end, my biggest stumbling block in my career was: don’t be your limiting factor, no matter what the whole world says.”

About NL News of the Month:
Every month we interview women in tech. We do this because we think it is important that women are seen and heard. Only 16 percent of people in the Dutch tech business are women. If we want to use technology, we have to make sure that it is made by an inclusive group of people who look at the product or app from different angles. No bias, but a product or service for and by everyone. But also: a working area in which everyone feels welcome. This is one of the reasons why these interviews are so important. Show that it can be done differently. And perhaps: show that things have to be done differently.

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img