Veronica van der Hoeven,
Managing Director for People Strategy, Principal Connections’ HR Leader of the Month for August 2020
Q. THE CAREER & THE PERSON Describe your career journey and tell us about Veronica van der Hoeven the person?
As Managing Director for People Strategy at MUFG Investor Services I’m responsible for culture and engagement, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, internal communication and strategic people projects.
Known for my independence and keen to strike out on my own, at the age of 17, with the ink barely dry on my leaving cert., I relocated to London and began my short lived career in publishing working for the UK publication ‘Best’ magazine before moving on to work for an aviation publication. That time abroad proved invaluable to me as I learnt to fend for myself and push myself out of my comfort zone. Upon my return to Dublin 3 years later I fell into the world of financial services by chance and through time progressed up the ranks within investor operations. Over the years my natural gravitation to all things people related saw me transition to human resources (“HR”), and the rest as they say, is history. My time in HR has brought with it many wonderful experiences, from travelling the globe to meeting new people, taking on new challenges, studying, learning and constantly evolving and growing.
Born in Dublin and raised and living in County Wicklow, I have also lived and worked in both London and Holland. I enjoy the access I have to country living, the mountains, the sea, and the vibrant city life of Dublin.
A passionate and positive person by nature, I am very drawn to the psychology of people and how we all behave and interact together. I also have a keen interest in nutrition and exercise and in a previous life I qualified as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, although I quickly discovered I preferred to study it than teach it! I’ll try almost anything once and I’m not afraid of change (well, most of the time).
I love getting together with family and friends for some fun and laughter, nice wine and music.
Q. THE COMPANY Describe your current company?
MUFG Investor Services, a core business of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, is an industry leader in fund administration, asset servicing, banking, fund financing, custody and depositary solutions with 16 locations worldwide. Our diverse client base of alternative investment and asset managers includes hedge funds, fund of hedge funds, private debt funds, registered funds, private equity and real estate funds with credit and debt services.
As of Q4 2019, our group administers over US $635B in assets across 2,218 funds and 576 clients. We are continuously investing in technology and enhancing processes to ensure flexible reporting and marketing-leading data solutions. With a strong global presence, MUFG Investor Services has the ability to adapt to ever-evolving regulatory requirements and shifting investor needs.
Q. THE CHALLENGES What do you see as the most important challenges facing HR Leaders today?
The role of HR has evolved tremendously over the years from being mostly administrative to today’s role as strategic business partners and people and talent leaders. HR is now integral to the business and smart CEO’s ensure HR not only has a seat at the table but is actively involved in all aspects of the business and empowered to affect change.
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce, nurturing employees’ wellbeing and building a culture of engaged and productive employees has been a major focus of both business and HR leaders in recent years. Now more than ever HRs role is pivotal as companies strive to develop a more resilient workforce adapting to the new normal that the Coronavirus pandemic has and continues to bring about.
While the working world continues to shift to a more flexible, remote and virtual way of working, the challenge for HR and business leaders will be to ensure employees maintain a sense of belonging and connection while working physically apart. Maintaining a strong company culture is imperative and investing in continuous learning and development for employees and that all-important middle line of management, the key influencers of organisations, will be essential to ensuring employees stay motivated and engaged as we transition to our new working model.
Communication and the development of a strong coaching culture, now more than ever is crucial as we navigate this new territory, with both multi-generational and multi-cultural workforces, all with their own strengths, values and preferred communication styles.
Q. THE ADVICE What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Feel the fear and do it anyway is the motto I try to live by. Fear so often inhibits our growth, our progression and stops us realising our full potential. Some of my proudest moments are when I overcame my fears to achieve both my career and personal goals.
Ask yourself, what would I do if I wasn’t afraid? Then do it!!
Q. THE MOTIVATION What keeps you motivated day to day?
I am an enthusiastic and passionate person by nature and get energy and motivation from my career and from being around my colleagues, my children, family and friends. I’m an early riser and like getting up early when the sun is out, having that gorgeous first cup of coffee in peace and quiet and planning for my day. Be it a week day or the weekend I thrive in having things to do. I also love learning new things and that wonderful sense of achievement you get when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and it all comes together!
Q. THE ACHIEVEMENT What has been your proudest career achievement to date?
Bearing witness to how our culture has evolved over the past couple of years is something I am particularly proud of. I truly believe that when people are happy, engaged and feel a sense of belonging they are more productive, loyal and will go the extra mile for the team and organisation. Open, honest and frequent communication cannot be underestimated and listening to our employees, understanding their needs and delivering on these gives me a great sense of achievement. Of course culture is never done and there will always be much more to do, but it’s important to celebrate our successes.
From a more personal point of view, I recently qualified with a post graduate professional diploma with the Institute of Bankers, in Leading Cultural Change and Ethical Behaviours in Financial Services (the longest course title ever!) and I am now a Certified Ethics Practitioner. Throughout my adult career I had wanted to return to academia but nothing ever grabbed my attention. This course’s direct link to culture, behaviour, leadership of today and psychology immediately drew me in and although there were many times I wondered what possessed me to take on such a commitment, it’s certainly an achievement I’m proud of.
Q. THE INSPIRATION Who inspires you professionally?
There are many people who have inspired me over the years but one who immediately comes to mind is Michelle Obama, a lady with a pretty impressive CV of her own. She has been First Lady, a lawyer, bestselling author of her memoirs “Becoming”, style icon and a mother.
Coming from humble beginnings on the South side of Chicago, she has spent much of her career engaging young people, working to empower women, encouraging better education for girls, equal rights, healthy living and help for families living in poverty.
Princess Diana also inspired me and continues to do so as her legacy lives on. I loved her resilience, empathy, her affinity for children and in her later years her sense of style. But she was so much more than a style icon as she worked tirelessly on behalf of charities around the world, using her fame to raise awareness of a number of important humanitarian issues, such as AIDS, Leprosy, homelessness, landmines and sick children.
And finally, but most importantly, my mum, a wonderful strong woman who at times worked 3 jobs to keep her family afloat, what more inspiration could you ask for!
Q. THE STAYING CURRENT How do you stay up to date?
Between my busy career, taking care of my 3 children and ferrying them here, there and everywhere, keeping fit and socialising with family and friends I try to keep abreast of current affairs on the fly. I do this by reading the news online with my morning coffee, listening to the radio in the car and listening to playback podcasts while out running. Multi-tasking in all its glory!
Q. THE DOWNTIMETell us about your interests and how you relax?
My weekends are filled with family activities and some fun too. Dropping my girls to horse riding or to hang out with friends and watching my son play rugby are regular weekend events. Hitting the shops is another, and one my girls and myself will definitely look forward to returning to!
For me, my personal time is usually spent exercising, reading, listening to my music, dining out, enjoying nice wine and food, getting together with family and friends, enjoying big fires in winter and BBQs in summer and I very much love a sun holiday abroad, another thing I hope we can all look forward to very soon again.
Congratulations to Veronica van der Hoeven being named the Principal Connections HR Leader of the Month for August 2020.
ABOUT MUFG INVESTOR SERVICES
MUFG Investor Services provides asset servicing solutions to the global investment industry. Leveraging the financial and intellectual capital of MUFG – one of the largest banks in the world with $2.7 trillion in assets – we provide clients access to a range of leading solutions from fund administration, middle-office outsourcing, custody, foreign exchange, trustee services, financing and depositary to securities lending and other banking services.
MUFG Investor Services leverages its deep market expertise and industry leading technology to partner with clients throughout the investment life-cycle. Our solutions are developed with our clients’ needs firmly at the heart of the partnership.
MUFG has 350 years of banking history, over 90 years of custody experience and has run a global securities lending program for 20 years. MUFG Investor Services provides administration services for 2,075 funds with over $579 billion in assets under administration across all investment strategies, asset types and fund structures.
ABOUT PRINCIPAL CONNECTIONS
Principal Connections is Ireland’s leading retained executive headhunting and senior recruitment firm. We specialise in recruiting for Senior Management, Executive, Board, Interim and Specialist Leadership appointments across most major industries. Principal Connections is the Irish Office of Agilium Worldwide Executive Search Group, ranked among the top global retained executive search groups in the world.