Diena Leads Diabetes Fund: ‘Know I Don’t Have All Wisdom’ | Now

Whether it’s a farm or a company with hundreds of employees: taking over a company is nothing. In this series we ask how the (new) successors are handling their new role. This time: Diena Halbertsma (58) has been director of the Diabetes Fund since March.

How did you become a director?

“I’ve come a long way. In 2005 I ended up at Longfonds, where I’ve been a board member for the past few years. I’m a sports scientist first.”

“Healthy behavior has always been a common thread in my life. I never dreamed of being a director. What I wanted was to make a real difference in my work and be relevant in life. So when the opportunity came to be the director of the Diabetes Fund, I grabbed it with both hands.”

“I think if you are a director of something, you have to do it from your heart. The cause of the Diabetes Fund touched me personally. I have a relative who has type 1 diabetes. It is a big disease, but I see diabetes. It is often greatly underestimated by outsiders.”

Can you prepare for a role like this? How do you handle it?

“The task is so big that you can handle it only together. During the preparation I read a lot and talked to many people. I had a cup of tea with all the employees and asked what they met, what happened, what can be done. . I can do better, but I am volunteers. , I also talked to researchers and companies and partners we work with.”

Do you want to sink into something?

“Yes, of course. I have to say: the matter is very complicated. The number of diabetes patients is increasing. In the Netherlands 1.2 million people are affected by this disease, 1,000 people every week. A huge amount must be done to prevent. If you bring people together and use a lot of knowledge from research on that trend Let’s do it.”

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“This way you learn exactly what change is needed to achieve the goals. People are constantly tempted to make unhealthy choices. That’s why we, for example, are working on a sugar tax and want to ban marketing to children.”

“If we don’t know if something works, we try it.”

What kind of director are you?

“You really have to ask the staff that. But I think I’m very open and approachable. I’m not in a separate office. I’m not a director: ‘This is how we’re going to do it.’ I know I don’t have all the wisdom, so I’ll ask other people how they see it and how they think we should go. If we don’t know if something will work, we’ll try it.”

Job stress is a big problem for many companies. How is that for you?

“The work always has to fit into the available time. We work very hard. I have to slow people down rather than encourage them to go further. I always say: ‘If it gets too much, knock on my door.’ I think you always have to stay ahead of stress.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I like to spend time with my family and friends. In addition, I regularly walk and exercise. One of my other hobbies is making sudokus. When you solve a complex puzzle, your brain doesn’t have time to worry. Think every now and then. I often go to sleep. I do sudoku first, then I sleep like a log.”

“I also like to read motivational books. They don’t have to be management books. I recently read a beautiful literary book that I could completely lose myself in.”

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