Can you introduce yourself, how long have you been working for Water Alliance?
My name is Juliette Douglas, 54 years young, 2 daughters and a husband by my side. Very much appreciated by family, friends and colleagues, most of the time…
At least twice a day I have new ideas that need to be shared with all my colleagues, whether they like it or not. However I have been working at Water Alliance for more than 10 years now, so they are used to it by now and luckily, accept it. I was there from the very beginning. At the start it was just Hein (Molenkamp, dir. ), an office manager, Nynke and me. Although it’s seems like a long time ago, from 3 people to now 17 colleagues, time really flew by!
What do you do at Water Alliance?
For almost 9 years I was responsible for marketing and communications (at Water Alliance). In 2019 my husband and I decided it was time for a new adventure, luckily we found a great opportunity: Portugal crossed our path! So we packed our stuff and moved to Portugal for a period of 4 years, we are now 2 years in. It was also time to move further in my personal development, since I was already 9 years in the same job.
Since living in Portugal I am in a new position at Water Alliance, part of team Business Development. Given this, I am still in the same organization but a totally new job. I consider myself very lucky, this was a unique chance, personally and professionally.
As liaison Southern Europe, I specialize in Italy, Spain and Portugal, doing business with these countries. A large part of my job is expanding our network in the water sector. Scouting business opportunities for our members, organizing events, matchmaking and round table discussions. People don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. My part in this is, to help our members in these countries by expanding their and our network, by increasing brand awareness of the Dutch watertech sector, searching for partners to work with and seeking business.
What drives/motivates you?
This sector, it is very diverse, never a dull moment, Also Southern Europe is special, Portugal is different to Spain and Spain to Italy. Working in this environment I also feel that I contribute to making the world a little better. The innovative technical solutions of our members really make an impact. There surely is some idealism within me, generally speaking everybody at the Water Alliance has a making-the-world-a-little-better mentality.
So Juliette, what makes Water Alliance distinctive?
Compared to other cluster organisations we are part of a unique ecosystem: the Water Campus. Together with Wetsus (science) and Centre of Expertise Water Technology (applied research) at Water Campus Leeuwarden we form the innovation chain, from knowledge to business. In this matter we can accelerate business by working together science- demosites-labs-students-start-ups-etc. all in one place. The Water Campus is the meeting point of the Dutch water technology sector and has the ambition to play a sector uniting role for the rest of Europe as well.
But not only that: we are also the founding father of the Global Water Tech Hub Alliance, so not only European but we also act on the international stage. Our managing director really supports personal growth and development. And stimulates you in taking initiatives and share your ideas; they are put into practice, and it encourages you to think out of the box.
What do you like most about your profession?
A large part of my job is talking, talking to people, listening and understanding them, reading between the lines and in the end connecting people. Building durable, long lasting (business) relationships. I really enjoy the contact with our members, the embassy’s, NGO’s , Spanish, Italian and Portuguese companies and all other partners to achieve something together. We are creating a ‘community’ for long-term relationships.
Where do you want Water Alliance to be in 5 years?
The ideal situation would be when someone has a water issue that they immediately have Water Campus top of mind. And when talking about myself, if they have a specific questions for the three South European countries that people know to contact me.
Can you tell us something about your current schedule, a meeting, what are you looking forward to and why?
Today we have a webinar for 5 of our members regarding Spain. It’s about doing business in Spain, the Dutch embassy and 2 other Spanish speakers are joining, what I like about such events is bringing parties together, that eventually result in some form of collaboration. That really gives me a sense of fulfillment.
Do you have any pro tips/inspirational insights?
Personally, what I’ve learned the last few years that there are always challenges and opportunities, that makes this job so diverse and fun. For me, my work life and personal life usually blend together, especially since I work parttime. I don’t really consider my job a ‘job’ in the classical sense, more in the lines of a hobby. If it wasn’t clear already, I really enjoy my job.
What is the latest book you read that impressed you and why?
The book is called Hersenschimmen, it is about someone who is suffering from onset dementia. Because my father has been very ill, you can really relate to the situations portraited in the book, I can truly say a must read.
After hours: what do you like to do in your spare time?
Recently I started playing golf, as a sport it’s really fun. For me it’s not just about the exercise, it’s also about the mental challenge. It’s a proper test of patience, as a person I am not very patient, quite direct, high paced and quickly frustrated. So this sometimes is a real inner battle, it challenges me to work on skills that don’t come naturally. Staying calm is key, the word calm hasn’t been in my dictionary for almost 54 years…
Also now that the world is opening up again, we are exploring Portugal, visiting all the beautiful places. And last but not least, I am still work on my Portuguese by following classes!