Simone Halink joins the Summiteers

Summiteers has gained another consultant. In June, Simone Halink joined the Utrecht consultancy, where she can combine her “love of digital issues” with strategy execution. We spoke to Simone about her background, transition and first months.

With fifteen years of professional experience under her belt, Simone Halink can look back on a varied career. She started at the law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, which she joined in 2007 after earning her Master of Laws from New York University School of Law.

In 2012, she switched to Bits of Freedom, a digital civil rights campaign. Two years later, she chose a new challenge by working as a cyber policy advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2017, she started as a consultant at De Argumentenfabriek, where she grew to Chef Digitaal. After four and a half years, this summer she said goodbye to the agency to start at Summiteers.

Hi Simone! The Argument Factory, what a great name. Can you explain what you were doing there?

“Argumentenfabriek preaches clear thinking as a philosophy of life. As Chief Digital, I was responsible for acquiring and guiding thought processes within digitization.”

“This type of project involved strategic policy issues with a large social impact. This includes developing a business history for one of the largest digital service providers in the Netherlands and helping to shape the national cyber security strategy.”

“I learned the power of structure and concrete language when I thought through complex issues. Although these are basic principles for consultants, at De Argumentenfabriken we have applied them in thought processes with large groups of people. In this way, we achieved rich results in a relatively short time with broad support.”

“What really surprised me is the way colleagues constantly reflect on the situation, themselves and the other in conversations.”

“I also gained a lot of experience in supervising thought processes with large groups of people. What steps do you go through, what questions do you ask, what is the starting point for a good conversation, how do you keep the group’s energy up? Thinking through complex matters together with other people gives me a lot of energy.”

“I will take the experience I have gained in this at De Argumentenfabriek, and especially the pleasure I have found in it, for the rest of my life.”

Sounds interesting. So why did you decide to switch?

“I want to do more for my clients than just give sharp, concrete advice. I also want to increase their personal effectiveness and ensure they have all the tools they need to turn words into action. Summiteers offers clients this total package, partly because of their particular expertise in strategy execution. We ensure that our customers can immediately start using our advice – before the end of the job.”

“I was also attracted by the way Summiteers interacts with clients. We don’t fly in and out of a client to give advice. Together with the client, we build a strong and close-knit team where we gather knowledge and experience and implement plans. It creates a flywheel effect on the content, the process and the relationship.”

“Furthermore, Summiteers has a vibrant team of enterprising people who want to grow and have an unprecedented energy to try to achieve new fun things. I felt at home from day one.”

You have now been on the road for two months. How do you like it?

“What really surprised me is the way in which colleagues constantly reflect on the situation, themselves and the other person in conversations. From personal conversations to reflection on learning goals and continuous evaluation of tasks. These conversations quickly lead to trusted relationships that are fertile ground for knowledge building, personal development and the delivery of top quality.”

“Summiters take their time on onboarding. There is a good training program to help you find your way around, but the focus in the first period is on conversations with colleagues about each other and about the work.”

“I also immediately had a challenging project ready for me in terms of content, although the basic principle is that you shouldn’t run after it right away, and you can first focus on a good intake and laying the foundations for the project. The base is now solid so I can go full steam ahead. I’m excited!”

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