The social relevance of Kazerne Dossin is important to me. Moreover, many aspects of my career came together in this position. Combining the two, I was interested in the Director vacancy at Kazerne Dossin. The past contestation in the media did make me cautious. During the procedure, I considered vacancy as an option for a long time. Intuitively, though, it felt right: like the right move.

I thought the application process at M18 was good and quite informal: I like that. The approach was open and everything was negotiable. The procedure revolved around interviews; there were no separate trials, nor was there any need. I did regret that everything had to go on online because of Corona. This gave a strange feeling. M18 is good in follow-up, the interviews were interesting, the aftercare is good. It was a people-centered process that did not stop after hiring.

The decision to say yes was mostly based on my intuition, because I did not have all the relevant information. I did receive the policy plan for the coming years at the end. Then the question was: either I’m going to try to live up to this, or I’m going to step away from it. A decision creates a new reality.

In talking with Kazerne Dossin, I noticed that there had been a crisis. One almost seemed to have reservations about committing. By the way, we still need to work on a climate of trust. Kazerne Dossin is a delicate place: it requires care and sufficient openness. I hope to be the right person to work on the mission.

My first day was expectant. It was also the first day (June 1) that the museum was allowed to reopen after the first lockdown, a new beginning for the organization as well. Actually, I started working as early as May, after the official announcement. From a deliberate press strategy, we needed to communicate quickly and strategically.

Two key people in the organization who had found other jobs announced their departure during the first week of work: the communications manager and the head of pedagogical operations. Because of their departure, I had to readjust the plans and get very involved with the internal organization. That worked out well. Now we have appointed a completely new middle management team with strong people. In the meantime, I took up various positions myself (educational service, communications, HR duties,…). A little too much energy went into that, but it couldn’t be helped.

My first six months otherwise went largely as expected. We can now confidently take up various issues because we know the team can follow up on that in a good way. The ICT facilities were outdated; we are now implementing software that allows people to work together better. Meanwhile, I did talk to some people in the broad field and wrote an article about the museum’s approach. Hopefully there will be more time and space for this type of activity in the future.

Now that I’ve been at it a little longer, the challenges of my job still prove considerable. The biggest challenge remains a political one: I would like to see a “good governance” agenda rolled out.

Finally, some feedback for M18, your recruitment process was pleasant, informal, fine, open, people-oriented and transparent.

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