Dad was beaming. He was standing in front of the Priva office. I was going to work for Priva! Back then it still consisted of a financial holding company and four divisions: Multin Technology Group, Sentron, Priva Agro and Priva Building Intelligence. I was given a nice position: Director of Strategy & New Business!
Buying a coffee machine
One of my first actions as a director was to purchase a coffee machine. I obviously came from the world of graphic design, and coffee was a necessity of life there. First coffee, then thinking. And then I came to Priva, which still had a fairly traditional corporate culture. My father had already taken a bit of a step back from the operational management of the company. But what a difference from my designers’ world. Real directors with big executive cars and parking spaces at the door. And a coffee lady. At least, that’s what the executive secretary was used for. At ten o’clock on the dot, coffee was served in cups and saucers.
As the owner’s daughter, I took the plunge and just ordered a coffee machine, even though I was not formally authorized to do so. This meant that Wilma, the management assistant, could at least do what she was trained for. And I could define my own coffee pace. I will not dwell on what the former general manager thought of this.
It was very special thing, as the daughter of the founder/owner, to become part of the management of Priva. As the Director of Strategy & New Business, I had a lot of work to do straightaway. Transforming Priva from a closed technology company into an open, more market-oriented company. It was a tough job, but a very interesting one. It opened up fantastic, unprecedented possibilities for me. This is the sort of opportunity you can be given by your father!
The general manager I was talking about is no longer the general manager, because that’s me. And Wilma? Wilma is still my management assistant.