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International Women's Day 2022: Meet Marije, VP People Operations International

May 9, 2022

International Women's Day is a global holiday celebrated annually to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. Today, we hear from Marije, VP People Operations International. She shares how we can #BreakTheBias at work, how our male allies can show up, and how she feels supported as a working mother.

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Tell me about your career journey as VP People Operations International at KnowBe4.

I began my exciting career journey at KnowBe4's Netherlands office in October 2020. Since I've started, I feel like I have really grown personally and professionally. In my role, I've helped bridge the gap between our U.S. and international entities by streamlining processes, connectivity, and being more readily available due to the time differences. This has resulted in a lot of improvements, including filling more open positions than ever before.

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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, International Women’s Day is a day to speak out for equality and celebrate women. This day is a milestone that allows everyone to have a voice and be considered equal.

 

The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. As a woman in a heavily male-dominated industry, how do you break the bias by embracing your role as a leader and an executive?

It’s generally known that women apply to a role only if they feel they meet 100% of the requirements in the job description. Coming from an employment law background, I broke this bias by taking the leap and applying for my current position. In my role as an executive, I give our employees the opportunity to grow and learn, instead of expecting them to be flawless. As an executive, I find it important to treat everyone in the workplace as equal regardless of their job title, as this sets the tone from the top down. 

 

How can our male colleagues show up as allies at work? 

Our male colleagues can show up as allies by being mindful of their communications and actions. They can also be aware that they are dealing with different genders, cultures, and sensitivities on a day-to-day basis. Everyone should feel included and comfortable at work. 

 

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As a working mother, how do you feel supported at KnowBe4?

As a working mother, I feel highly supported at KnowBe4. KnowBe4 allows me to have the flexibility and a flourishing work-life balance. I appreciate the high level of understanding our company has on the importance of family life. Last week, my kids walked into my office during our company-wide video call. Instead of feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed, I felt so grateful when my colleagues messaged me with positive messages. I love how we acknowledge our working parents within the company. Our Knowster Parents employee resource group makes you feel valued and supported both as an employee and a parent.

 

Who inspires you and why?

Strong women, many of who were rebels throughout history that stood up for change, inspire me. Rosa Parks is an inspiration and hero for her courage and self-love. She stood up against injustice with an everlasting effect. Here in the Netherlands, Anja Meulenbelt, a Dutch activist, has always been a major inspiration for me. Anja has been the driving force behind equality for working women in the Netherlands. To this day, she is still committed. This is particularly important because only about 50% of the women in the Netherlands are currently able to support themselves with their own wages.

Additionally, I need to mention my amazing mentor Erika, our Chief Human Resources Officer. She is an incredible inspiration by teaching me how to be my best self both personally and professionally. She shares her knowledge, intelligence, and has a big sense of humor make that inspires me every day. 

 

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How can we continue to encourage young women to embrace their ambitions?

We can encourage young women to feel empowered and supported in their ambitions by having open conversations. My advice to all young people in this world is to follow your heart, use your head, do the best you can, and if you fall, stand up and move forward again.

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KnowBe4 proudly honors and recognizes the women of KnowBe4 today and every day. To honor International Women's Day, we are spotlighting women at KnowBe4 all week long on @KB4People. See employee testimonials and more on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

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