Grand Finale- Women for Women Program (Second edition)

Stijn Steenbakkers (Alderman) and Ed Heerschap (Living In Program)

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a progress, working together is a success! Stronger Together! Women for Women program

Talent drives the economy around us. Companies seek and move talent to fuel growth. Cities want companies that grow, and therefore want to attract and retain talent. However, the talent will leave if the spouse is not engaged. The case of ‘unhappy spouse’ is the number one reason for failed international assignments.

“Buzzing’, best describes the energy at Ilse Wouters academy last Wednesday, 13th March, as Expat Spouses Initiative, the LIVING IN program, and the city of Eindhoven announced the successful completion of the 2nd edition of Women for Women program. The event was hosted in cooperation with Brainport Development, Holland Expat Center South and Regio Brainport. Built on the theme Stronger Together, the evening was a call for a more International & Inclusive Brainport region.

The evening commenced with welcome drinks, advancing to insightful talks and sharing of success stories, preceded by round table networking dinner and concluded by a whole lot of cheers. It was a delight to have, Stijn Steenbakkers, Alderman for economics, Brainport, innovation, education and sport and to hear him support the program and share with us his vision on internationalization and inclusion of international talent.

“The City of Eindhoven finds it very important to welcome international talent. We are becoming more and more international and we understand that it is important to retain that international talent. Only by doing so we can reach our full potential and create important technically solutions for societal challenges. We focus on working together with that international talent and that is what we also do in this Women for Women project.  Through this program, our City of Eindhoven Ambassadors shows what inclusiveness is all about ”. – Stijn Steenbakkers.

Kavitha Varadhan (right)

Kavitha Varathan (Founder of ESI) and Ed Heerschap (Program Coordinator at Living In) took to the stage to talk about the international talent available in the region, recruitment and retention, the talent shortage in the region and career empowerment.  They not only shared the perspective of the International talent who moves along with their employed partners but also from the perspective of the other players: The employed partners and the companies and organizations in the region. As the evening progressed some of the talents and ambassadors enlightened the room with their heartwarming anecdotes, and success stories of the program. Melanie Rinehart (MC for the evening and one of the talents of WfW) was the storyteller of the evening, she seamlessly took us on a journey of a ‘stronger together’ region supported by overwhelming insights and statistics.

Many internationals leave a career when accompanying their partner to the Netherlands.  The majority are actively looking for opportunities in a paid job or is seeking to start or grow their business. The partners are highly educated, ambitious and agile. Dual career has become the standard and is an important issue. As a matter of fact, 89% of them were employed prior to relocation.” – Kavitha Varathan (Founder of ESI)

“Last year nearly 124 thousand vacancies were open in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the end of the fourth quarter. That is almost 57 per cent of all vacancies in the Netherlands. And I see this as an opportunity for  the SMEs and the local International talent to connect and to lower the threshold towards each other.” – Ed Heerschap (Program Coordinator at Living In)

ESI & LIVING IN are working on multiple levels with International talent and the triple helix (academia, industry, and governments) for a more stronger/international and Inclusive Brainport region.

The journey of WOMEN FOR WOMEN program has been a remarkable experience, it reinforces that, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. It is a brave talent who stepped out of their comfort zone and ventured out to find their place in a new country. And it’s about brave city ambassadors who stick out their neck to empower others. Through this program in the duration of three months, 90% of the talent has been professionally engaged.

It was a memorable and inspiring evening, a toast raised to Meaningful intention, connection, and accomplishment! It is not a wrap-up, Women for Women 3rd edition will be back soon in September, stay tuned!

Source: Expat Spouses Initiative

Written by: Saumya Paliwal (Expat Spouses Initiative)


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