Interview: Undutchables' new owner and general manager talks about new role and future of the company

A new year brings new developments. After 22 years, the co- founder of Undutchables, Ilse Visser, is stepping down and handing over the reins to one of Undutchables’ own. This transition has been smooth, as owner Ilse Visser and ex-general manager Paula Verstappen selected Undutchables’ longtime commercial manager Nick van der Dussen as the new owner & general manager.

In the beginning of this week we sat down with Nick van der Dussen to discuss his new role at Undutchables. From a coincidental career start 18 years ago as a recruiter, to the new owner and General Manager of Undutchables today, Nick van der Dussen shows us that with hard work, perseverance, patience and of course a little fun in the mix, you can reap the fruits of your labor.

Ilse Visser: 22 years after Judith and I started Undutchables in an attic in Amstelveen, It became time for a new frontrunner. After the passing away of Judith in 2001, general manager Paula and I have been leading Undutchables through all the ups and downs. It has been a privilege and honour to lead this great company and wonderful team. We are (and will always be) allied to Undutchables. This step gives Undutchables the possibility to grow with a fresh leader and me the time to set up a new social enterprise.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of it all, I think our readers would like to know; who is Nick van der Dussen?
Well, I grew up in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, a small town close to Rotterdam. I have 4 older sisters which generally speaking immediately triggers the reaction; “oh, so you must be very spoiled!”. I would like to set this straight here; not spoiled at all, I had 5 mothers and tasks and duties waiting for me; “do this, do that, etc.”

In my spare time I like to spend time with my partner and friends and enjoy long walks with my dog in the woods or at the beach. Big fan of stand up comedy, Jerry Seinfeld being an all time hero here.

Sports wise I like to jog, play tennis (not at the level you see on TV unfortunately) and snowboard.

So, you've been with Undutchables for quite some time. You came to Undutchables as a recruitment consultant, before you became Undutchables' commercial manager and now the general manager and owner. Can you give us some background story on how your career at Undutchables started?
Kind of by coincidence; was attending a friend’s birthday and she was working at Undutchables already mentioning that the office in Rotterdam was looking for a Recruitment Consultant to hire. She was so enthusiastic about the company and role itself, it made me apply that same day.

Started in 2000 as a recruiter and the rest is history...

Throughout the years working in this industry, what would you say has been the most valuable lesson so far during your career at Undutchables?
There have been so many valuable lessons throughout the years but if I would have to pick one it would be to always stay true to yourself and the others around you. It definitely is one of those clichés though it helped me a lot with making the right decisions. “If it is not in your heart, don’t even start” I would say.

What intrigued you to take the leap and challenge to become Undutchables’ new General Manager and (new) owner?
Many things to be honest but the biggest motivation is the chance to make an even greater impact on the company I kind of “fell in love with” many years ago. I like the unique company culture we have at Undutchables and the international setting we operate in. It is an honor and a unique chance and challenge I feel.

Ilse Visser said in a statement: It is a true privilege that Nick will take over (my “baby”) Undutchables! Working with him has always been pleasant and prosperous. He is a true Undutchable and he has the capacity and drive to let Undutchables grow and flourish. I am very proud of him!

Do you have a vision for Undutchables? Specific matter that you want to focus on?
I am sticking to the vision we have had for so many years; investing in personal relationships with people, cultures and markets we offer solid recruitment solutions to our candidates and companies using our unique expertise.

What we do see at the moment is a rapid changing job market in terms of technology. It is my vision to embrace the technological development and not be afraid of it as technology will only free the way for more personable human contact in the end. We want to be unique and leading here.

What do you have planned for your first 100 days as the new General Manager?
Too much to write on this page alone! My first 100 days will very much be focused on learning the ropes of my new role, duty and responsibility wise, from our former General Manager; Paula Verstappen. She successfully managed the company for the last 17 years and it is my challenge to successfully continue in her footsteps.

Ilse Visser: Paula and I have full faith that Nick is the right man for this job and for Undutchables. Nick is people minded and also sales driven. He has the courage to jump into this new adventure and the positive mindset to motivate everyone within Undutchables.

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