What makes a great conference to you?


Lonneke Roza


Last week, at a dinner the night before the EVPA (European Venture Philanthropy Association) conference, my team and I met with a few of our partners in an informal setting. No better moment to have good conversations than while sharing a nice meal. My colleague asked all of us to reflect on the question: ‘what makes a great conference to you?’ And so, we did. For me, a conference adds value if, weeks afterwards, I still think about the learnings and innovative ideas through the people that I met. It should really put my mind full of new ideas to further explore.

I am the Head of Community Investment at NN Group. We set the ambition to invest one per cent of our operating result before tax by 2023. With these resources, we aim to support the financial, physical and/or mental well-being of one million people by 2025. As we feel it’s important to continue to learn and exchange experiences and knowledge, we attend the EVPA conference annually.

This year, during the conference, I heard many inspirational stories from NGOs and social entrepreneurs about their ambition to make a difference for people and the planet. What struck me was that they often struggle with their own personal well-being in their pursuit of making a positive impact. Repeatedly, I see the struggle of maintaining a healthy balance. As investors for impact, we have a responsibility here. We need to empower them in their personal leadership, and help them create (head) space for them to be the social entrepreneur or leader that they need to be in their quest for social impact. For example, we need to further support in capacity building of NGOs and social enterprises, so they can build and maintain a strong and resilient organisation. Second, we need to invest in personal leadership and coaching of leaders and the mental health of teams within these organisations. It is without any doubt that these organisations can only create impact if they are led by leaders and teams that find a good balance in pursuing social impact whilst looking after themselves in the long term. So, looking back at the conference, it was a great conference as it certainly provided some food for thought to me. Looking forward to further conversations around this topic in 2023.

Lonneke Roza, Head of Community Investment NN Group

Tagged in: EVPA Impact Week 2022

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