You seem to be a man with many hats, what inspires you to keep learning new things and be so involved within the community?
I came over from Holland with nothing. I set up my business and have been successful, I have always believed, perhaps it is innate in me, that I have a responsibility to give back. I want to set an example and be a role model to my family about contributing to the community. I enjoy meeting different kinds of people, I love sharing stories and listening to theirs about life experiences, I believe it keeps me connected to the world and broadens my understanding of people.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt in life?
To have a happy culture in my family and business. Optimism, helping others, being cautious in terms of finances – working on a shoestring. Stability is important – not too much change. I don’t seek adventure from unhealthy practices, I find it with my family, friends and travel. A sense of humour is paramount; I have learnt not to give away too much – to better select whom I share my emotions with. Perseverance or some may say stubbornness.
What motivates you to keep working after 60?
I couldn’t imagine sitting around all day watching tv – I need to be active. Having a work/life balance is imperative, I have found that being able to hand over the responsibilities and practical side of the business while still attending meetings, being a brand Ambassador is a great way to be involved. My body gets older but my brain hasn’t stopped. I am motivated to ensure the business still runs on family values, being around people keeps me engaged and challenged.
What do you like most about having your own business?
Watching the business grow, how systems change to allow it to keep moving forward. The relationships I have created with staff and their families. Communicating with the staff, checking in with them, being able to have a joke together.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
Live within your means, seek advice and follow that advice, listen to older generations, be stable, seek out mentoring, keep focused, have a sense of humour, be alert – keep informed, seek out training opportunities, be dynamic – don’t be scared to fail, follow your intuition.
If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?
I would love to go forward to 2050, see if the business is still running, is it successful, do the family values that underpin it now still exist, are my family still working together, is my family happy?