Interview with...

Sofie Cammers | Division Director at ERIKS NL

Sofie Cammers joined ERIKS in May 2020 as Division Director in the Netherlands, with responsibility for Sealing & Polymer, Industrial Hoses, Flange Gaskets and Industrial Plastics. Sofie explains why she joined ERIKS and gives her perspective on the importance of diversity. 

Why did you join ERIKS?  

Firstly, for our people and values. We’re part of SHV with strong values, giving us freedom and long-term perspective, as well as a culture where people make the difference. I come from a family company background, so I feel right at home.  

Secondly, I joined ERIKS because of the momentum. Everywhere, you feel that the train has left the station. There is an implicit sense of urgency: new plans, great people and high energy. It’s all happening now.  

Lastly, I joined because of the value proposition. We are wonderfully positioned in the value chain. I have never seen the depth of TCO’s, or the level of product knowledge. 

All the ingredients for success are there. ERIKS is a gem… that needs some polishing here and there, haha. We should aspire going from good to great. 

There are forces pulling us to greatness. Now its time to consolidate, to accelerate. 

 

How were your first 90 days? 

I love it here. Believe it or not, I pinch myself every day that I can work here – because of the passion, knowledge and the people. There is so much energy and momentum.   

Do you feel that ERIKS – in the context of industrial B2B – is a diverse company? Did this play a role in your decision to join?  

It did not play a part in my decision. But I have to say I was a bit surprised to find so few women in ERIKS. So, the first thing I did is reach out to them to create a network. We need women at ERIKS, but we particularly need female leadership attributes, which men can also have. Attributes such as connecting, compassion, listening, experimenting, empathy, caring, dealing with ambiguity, vulnerability, learning to adapt. 

Diversity is not only about men/women, but more about ‘female’ leadership traits. By the way – it’s also about young and old, different perspectives, cultures, nationalities, inclusion. All so important to create a winning team.  

 

It is said to be harder for industrial companies to recruit women. Do you believe this is true?  

Qualified women in B2B exist, no doubt. However, it’s harder to recruit them because they are not in the networks we already have. We have to put in more effort, reach further and find new networks. 

 

How do we quantify diversity? What should be our goal? Do you believe in quota?              

Previously, I was against quota. I’ve I changed my opinion because we need to break our habits. We’ve tried the soft, implicit way and it hasn’t worked. I am glad that at ERIKS/SHV we have now formulated hard targets, otherwise it is not going to happen.  

 

Why is diversity (and inclusion) an important topic for you personally?  

It is a prerequisite. The challenges we face require innovative ways of doing. We need the best perspectives, freshest ideas and high performance teams. Only diverse teams can bring us the capacity to leapfrog, to create the shift that industry leaders make.  

 

Why should ERIKS become more diverse? How could we benefit?  

Exactly because of my previous answer. We have momentum, let’s now make it happen.  

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