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Inspiring Women at WUR

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  • InspiringWomenat WUR

  • Inspiring Women at WUR

  • Cover: Sculpture Take My Knowledge by Petra de Vree. Photograph by Petra de Vree.

    This sculpture was commissioned by the Network for Wageningen University Women Alumni (Vrouwennetwerk Wageningse

    Ingenieurs, VWI) as a gift to Wageningen UR. It stands in Impulse, building number 115 on campus.

    Each layer of this strong talented woman's dress has a meaning. The deepest layer stands for earth and agriculture: it is the

    University's foundation. In the second layer, literacy is the theme. The initials of the first woman professor at Wageningen

    University are included here to represent the women who have followed, or will follow, in her footsteps. The spirals in

    different skin tones stand for the international character of the University and refer to growth, progress and development.

    The third layer is open: it is possible to see through the sculpture; an open attitude is needed in order to be able to make a

    change. The uppermost part of the dress is full of information and refers to this woman's science. In her hand she offers a

    piece of knowledge.

  • Introduction by Louise Fresco, President of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR

    Profiles:Horst, Judith van der

    Mommer, Liesje

    Bai, Yuling

    Soede, Nicoline

    Hermans, Tia

    Vet, Louise

    Hemming, Silke

    Blilou, Ikram

    Stoof, Cathelijne

    Barbosa, Maria

    Bruggeman, Hedwig

    Klaveren, Simone van

    Stuiver, Marian

    Pikkemaat, Maril

    Forlenza, Maria

    Molenaar, Esther

    Kamperman, Marleen

    Boois, Ingeborg de

    Broek, Eva van den

    Horsman, Karin

    Greeff, Astrid de

    Gupta, Aarti

    Why this book?






























  • Introduction

    Do we provide better education and management in

    departments with a mix of men and women? Does the

    quality of our research improve when we employ more

    minority and women professors? In short, does diversity

    significantly boost creativity and results? Many studies

    point to one answer: yes.

    Of course, diversity in sex and gender is not the only

    important factor: diversity in terms of age, education,

    culture, personality and experience also plays a big role.

    And yet this book focuses specifically on women at

    Wageningen University & Research Centre as women

    are, even to this day, under-represented in leadership


    The colleagues whose stories are included in this book

    are wonderful examples: women who have impressive

    achievements to their names and are a source of

    strength for many. Day after day their knowledge and

    effectiveness inspire and motivate the people around

    them. A number of them hold challenging management

    positions as well. This book gives them the platform that

    they deserve, but do not necessarily seek for


    Role models and inspiring examples are invaluable.

    These portraits highlight women who have made their

    own choices, found their own way with or without

    help and continued to push forward! One thing these

    women all have in common is the courage to continually

    raise the bar and get the very best out of themselves.

    Now it's your turn!

    Louise FrescoPresident of the Executive Board

    Room for talent and growth

    | 5

  • Judith van der Horst will soon be running her second marathon. She often cycles 60 kilometres to work, and she

    gave birth to her three children in the space of three years. At Wageningen University & Research Centre she is

    part of the FBR-MT, and as R&D manager she keeps more than 30 people busy. Both in and out of the office,

    Judith enjoys a challenge.

    Originally from Wageningen, Judith earned her PhD in Wageningen UR's Division of Human Nutrition. For the past 18 months,

    having held various positions in the food industry, she has been a member of the Management Team and head of the

    Consumer Science and Health Group within Food & Biobased Research a contract research organisation at Wageningen UR.

    Though content with her last job in the food industry, Judith would nevertheless look regularly at the Wageningen UR website.

    'Wageningen is dear to my heart. Although I wasn't looking to make a move, I saw this position and knew at once that it was

    made for me. It combines everything I have done so far: managing and staying abreast of developments in a field that links

    scientific research with industry.'

    In her present position, Judith holds overall responsibility in all areas: not only for the work content but also for strategy; not

    only for commercial performance but also for human resources. The scientific quality of her team is not a source of worry. She

    has some very senior scientists and it is precisely her team members' wealth of scientific expertise that frees Judith from

    being occupied with the day-to-day choices that arise in the course of their work. Where strategy is concerned, by contrast,

    she sees many possibilities for her team. 'For a while the team was without an R&D manager, so it was lacking guidance. I

    hear that people are now happy with the vision and direction we are pursuing. There's clarity about where we stand, for

    example in terms of work in the pipeline and expertise development. There is more management and, above all, more focus:

    acquisition pathways are now better managed by two newly hired employees dedicated to this. We are already noticing the

    first revenues from this in our group. This year we hope to have our future workload managed even better.'

    Judithvan der Horst

    Wageningen is dear to my heart

    6 |

  • | 7

  • Biography

    Judith M. van der Horst-Graat is R&D manager of the

    Consumer Science and Health Group within Food &

    Biobased Research, a contract research organisation of

    Wageningen UR.

    Dr van der Horst-Graat studied Biological Health

    Sciences at Maastricht University, specialising in

    Nutrition. Her MSc was followed by a PhD in Human

    Nutrition at Wageningen University; she won the 'NWO

    Young Investigators Award' for her PhD thesis. After

    earning her PhD, she worked for nearly 12 years in the

    food industry. Her first job was at the R&D department of

    a multinational chocolate confectionary company, first as

    senior nutritionist and later as a project leader. She

    continued her career at the R&D department of an infant

    nutrition company. In this multinational, Dr van der

    Horst led an international team of nutritionists, and later

    became leader of a multidisciplinary science programme.

    She has been a member of the Management Team of

    Food & Biobased Research for the past 18 months, and

    currently heads the Consumer Science and Health

    Group. Dr van der Horst was appointed Theme Director

    Food & Health for applied research by the TKI Top Sector

    Agri & Food.

    8 |

  • I really only grow when my team grows

    Van d




    Walk-in hours

    Why did Judith decide to earn a PhD when she always

    aspired to a management role? Rather than having a

    scientific motive, she realised that all higher-ranked

    managers within R&D organisations held a doctorate.

    That is why she wanted a PhD, and the reason she does

    not foresee any academic development for herself in the

    future. Then, as now, she sees herself fulfilling only

    management roles. That she is accessible and will use

    unconventional methods to maintain her own

    effectiveness goes without saying. 'A number of times a

    week I have walk-in hours. Members of my group know

    that at these times, instead of planning meetings, I am

    available in my office and they can drop by for whatever

    reason. It works superbly: sometimes only a few people

    come along, but often there's a constant stream of


    'As well as creating clarity about my availability, the

    walk-in hours also ensure that my team members take

    the initiative for cooperation and contact. In addition,

    these hours offer me the opportunity to complete my

    own work undisturbed during the rest of the day. Our

    Management Team and my Consumer Science and

    Health Group are great teams. As an MT member I

    experience the unconditional support of my MT

    colleagues. That is part of what makes my work as

    R&D manager so enjoyable!'

    Team player

    Like strategy, both financial and commercial performance

    are now in clear focus. Through 'learning by doing',

    Judith has learned to keep the business afloat financially

    too, relying on the people around her. For example, she

    has a financial expert who can tell her the cash flow

    situation, turnover, costs and margins to two decimal

    places so that she can intervene whenever necessary.

    This leads to perfect insight into the pipeline which,

    although well filled, remains a recurring concern. The

    team's sound financial health is due in part to this

    ongoing attention. 'And besides, as Food & Biobased

    Research MT mem

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