Candidate of the month (03/2022): Iris Lentjes, HR Expertin

seniors@work: Iris, you can look back on an impressive career as HR Manager and member of the Executive Board at a number of well-known companies such as Livit (Uto Albis), MSC, Bombardier and Weka Business Media. And long before you retired, you also worked independently as a leadership coach and HR consultant. Today, at 69, you are more active than ever. What is your secret?

Iris Lentjes: I love working with people, learning new things and am happy to help shape change. There is no "expiration date" for this. It's a great feeling when my clients achieve their goals with my help and I realize that I'm needed. Especially when coaching managers, it is an advantage to have extensive life experience.

seniors@work: What are the major differences between employment and self-employment?

Iris Lentjes: Being self-employed allows me to organize my time relatively freely, which is a big plus. And I feel more valued than I did as an employee. This direct, positive feedback from my customers is an important driving force. Apart from that, I am and will remain a service provider.

seniors@work: That sounds as if "serving" people is really a passion for you?

Iris Lentjes: You could say that! To date, only my first apprenticeship had little to do with people. I trained as a reinforced concrete draughtswoman and already realized in my first year of training that this wasn't for me. Because contact with people is incredibly important to me. After completing my apprenticeship, I immediately changed careers and focused on HR. After various further training courses and lots of personal development training, I then worked successfully in several service companies as HR manager. And for 20 years now I have been working independently as a sparring partner for managers and as HR manager in an SME (at mandate level) - always close to people!

seniors@work: How much do you work at the moment, and how long do you plan to remain professionally active?

Iris Lentjes: I currently work about 30 hours a week and enjoy both work and leisure. Because I don't have to work, I want to work! I will continue as long as I am healthy and able to learn - and of course as long as the customers want me!

seniors@work: You were already self-employed long before seniors@work existed. What prompted you to register with us?

Iris Lentjes: The platform is a great offer and Alexis, the founder, is very committed. I think it's very important that people have the opportunity to take on exciting professional tasks after retirement.

seniors@work: Today is International Women's Day. Based on your professional experience, do you have any advice you would give to younger women?

Iris Lentjes: For me, it's always about people first and foremost, not so much about gender roles. For me, it's all about working together - not against each other! I can recommend this to all younger women: If you want to lead, it has to come from the heart. Love people and don't bend yourself. And take yourself just as seriously as the others.

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