Henk van der Molen joined Students on Ice as Director of Development in 2014. Only one year in, Henk has already led many exciting initiatives at SOI including strengthening our support in the North through the creation of a new Arctic Youth and Partnerships program, the launch of SOI’s Endowment Fund and most recently, the development of SOI’s new website. Learn more about Henk’s story from his childhood in Rotterdam to his upcoming journey on SOI’s 15th Anniversary Arctic Expedition!
Tell us about your history before Students on Ice.
My history before SOI? Well, where shall I start… Ever since my years as a Business student in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I had an interest in environmental and social justice issues. After a first job as an Management and Organisational Development consultant, I joined the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their Environment department, during which I focused on European Environmental Issues and Climate Change. During the international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) I met a wonderful Canadian girl, who I married and now have three children with. After moving to Canada I joined Camino, Canada’s leading brand of Fair Trade and Organic chocolate and baking products in the role of Operations Director and later Chief Operating Officer. All this made the step to join Students on Ice in the role of Director of Development a great one!
You recently celebrated one year with SOI. What are some of the exciting initiatives you have led?
Some of the exciting initiatives I have led since I joined in June 2014 are:
1. The development of SOI’s new website. Please take a look at it: www.studentsonice.com and let us know what you think!
2. The development of SOI’s new Arctic Youth and Partnerships Program which has the following key objectives:
a. Ensure that Students on Ice’s programs, activities and outreach materials are tuned to maximize benefits for participating Arctic youth.
b. Support SOI’s Arctic alumni in their further personal, educational and professional development following their participation in SOI’s programs.
c. Identify and develop new opportunities to address Arctic issues through leveraging SOI’s reputation, networks and knowledge and mobilizing resources from Arctic stakeholders, government and corporate partners.
3. The creation of the SOI Foundation’s Endowment Fund, which allows donors to invest in the long term future of the SOI Foundation. Donations to the Foundation’s Endowment Fund will be invested and the Foundation will annually receive the returns on this investment to further its objectives and run its programs. The purpose of the SOI Foundation’s Endowment Fund is to provide the Foundation with stable annual revenue that guarantees longevity for its programs and that allows for development and execution of activities that maximise the Foundation’s long-term impacts and outcomes. The SOI Foundation’s Endowment Fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Ottawa.
A less exciting, but very important initiative has been the development and implementation of our new CRM software, Salesforce, which allows us to keep much better track of our participants, alumni, educators and other contacts.
What is something interesting or quirky about yourself?
I LOVE mountain biking, snow shoeing and skiing after dark. I have a miniature Dachshund and I share my 4-year old’s passion for critters and animals.
What are your interests and hobbies?
Outside of work I spend most of my time with my family, preferably playing outside. Any left-over time I spend mountain biking, snow-shoeing and cross country skiing, depending on the season.
The Arctic 2015 expedition is your first expedition with Students on Ice. What are you looking forward to?
I am thrilled to finally experience what I have been hearing and talking about so much for the past year! I am so curious to learn more about the Arctic, visit the communities and get immersed in the vast and beautiful landscapes. I can’t wait to get there!