Developing young leaders Behind the screens with Tessa & Sophie

4 min.
10 February 2021

In this blog series, we dive into the world of work at bol.com. Who are the people behind the platform? What are our roles? How do we work together? And why do we love it here? Whether it’s IT, Logistics, Platform or Commerce, we each have something unique to contribute and it all adds up to make us who we are. That’s how we make bol.com ‘de winkel van ons allemaal’ (the shop for everyone).

We take pride in our talent at bol.com. They let us keep pace with rapid growth and keep us moving in the right direction as a retail tech platform. Talented people like Tessa Swanenberg & Sophie Nijhout. Sophie is Head of API Support and Partner Ecosystem Development and Tessa is Head of Commercial Development. Each was quickly given the opportunity to lead a team — and they didn’t hesitate to grab it.

A look at their roles

Both Sophie and Tessa worked in consulting before making the move to bol.com. As consultants, they also worked in a dynamic environment with a lot of variety. But here, they can stick with a project longer and add more value.

Sophie

“I started at bol.com in February 2019. My current role concerns the technology behind bol.com’s retailer API and setting up strategic partnerships with third parties in our ecosystem. The retailer API is the technical interface between sellers and bol.com to automate the seller’s retail process. In other words, a ‘plug connection’ for sellers to connect to bol.com’s platform. It’s our job to make it easy to use and we provide technical support, when necessary. This ‘plug connection’ is also used by many third parties in our ecosystem partnership programs. These parties offer tools and services to sellers that help them with easy and successful retailing via bol.com”

Tessa

“Bol.com is growing fast. It means we have to be agile and continuously adapt to remain successful — just like in my role, which I have been able to shape myself. That means I really do get to work on things I like and I’m good at. My team and I are working on implementing commercial strategy. We do that by defining programmes that let us reach our commercial goals. These include projects like a new way of forecasting, adding sustainable products to the range, and updating our commercial goals and the strategies to get there. We are also working on a change programme to make our teams smarter, better and more fun to work in. It’s a project that’s always evolving and keeps us on our toes.”

View on leadership

Sophie: “In my view, managing a team isn’t about the leader. It’s about enabling the team to be successful. Working together, in teams that are as diverse as possible, to pool our strengths and achieve success. The complexity of the issues we’re dealing with requires innovative thinking. We’re inventing the wheel, so to speak, working with technology and strategy at the same time. It’s a combination that makes our work varied and diverse. So there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for teams. Each team and each individual has their own needs. That’s what I like about managing people. Sparring with the team and pursuing our vision.

 

Tessa: “In our team, the important thing is to stay one step ahead, so we’re prepared for change. It takes analytical thinking and a solution-driven approach. To do this, I like to give my team members the freedom to do what they do best and take responsibility themselves. I’m there to make sure we’re all on the same page. If you need support, I’m there for you. But often, that’s not even necessary, the team works it out together.”

Initiative, ideas and development

“At bol.com, we feel appreciated, especially by all the support we get for personal development. We both got these new opportunities six months ago. They’re our first leadership roles. Of course, there’s still a lot we can learn, but it’s really motivating to see that bol.com has confidence in us.”

 

“It really shows that bol.com sees and acknowledges the person and the hard work behind the job titles. It doesn’t matter who you are. Initiative, ideas, accomplishments, and personal growth are truly appreciated.”