The Netherlands Romanian Chamber of Commerce represents the business interests of its members and Dutch companies in Romania. With so much going on in the forefront, it is sometimes easy to forget what goes on behind the scenes. So, let’s have a look at the beating heart of the NRCC, responsible for executing all those events and more: the Executive Team. We meet the team in their HQ, which is at Athénée Palace Hilton Bucharest.
Upon entering the terrace, one can’t help noticing the familiar and friendly way the team members are conversing with each other. This is a very charming and relaxed team. All three of them present: Maurits Dohmen (Executive Director), Ana Popa (Operations), and Costinel Radu (Coordinator Task Forces NRCC and CDR).
You are only three. Hard to believe that only three people are responsible for the operations of the NRCC, which in a normal year (pre-pandemic) produce on average 50 events per year.
Ana Popa: “We have a lot to do, yes. And the events are just half of the things we work on, yet they are the most visible things. But we are good at what we do, and we do it as efficiently as we can do.
Costinel Radu: “We tend to divide work from the point of view to be as effective as possible in reaching the end goal. This is the Dutch way.
Your dedicated events stand out: Orange Night, CEO DINNER, Night of the SMEs. I believe the CEO DINNER with its 7th edition coming up is one of the longest-standing dinners in town. What is it that makes your events so different?
Maurits Dohmen: “Those three events are not only NRCC Flagship Events, but they are also the team favorites. We have a strategy for our dedicated events. They are premium events, which require a strong eye for detail. In every aspect. We try to make sure every attendant remembers our event, having experienced a special night out. Therefore, we try to up-scale the experience by going beyond the traditional seated dinner. We offer a mixture of experiences in an event: going to a dinner, which has a bit of concert in it, and a bit of going to the movie. One could almost say: a night out. Added to that is the networking aspect. After all, we are a business community.
What eye for detail are we talking about?
Ana Popa: “There is a meticulous game plan for each event which has things in play such as: who sits with who, what are we showing to the people attending, what food will be served (we desire to serve that is not traditional event food, that people not normally eat), the dressing of the hall bearing the NRCC Signature and so on. Our director (Maurits Dohmen), is very busy with that: what music to perform, what videos to show, light, sound, things flying around etc.”
Costinel Radu: ”And let’s not forget the attention towards the participants. Making them feel welcome, making sure no one is alone, or getting bored, actively connecting people. The focus is much on the participants. Know who is coming and why he is coming, and help that person achieve his goal for that evening.
The NRCC lately became more vocal in advocacy. Is this a deliberate action from the NRCC side?
Maurits Dohmen: “Yes, it is. In previous years the NRCC Board opted to focus on the business interest for our members, in a not too vocal manner. Times change, Boards change and now we have a Board (and new President) that desires a more active and louder approach. So, we have released for example a White Paper aimed at the development of the Romanian economy. We have become more active within the CDR, and have aligned our internal industry-related Task Forces to those of the same standing in CDR.”
Costinel Radu: “Within the NRCC we have Task Forces that are member-driven, and work on the same strategic agenda as the CDR Task Forces do. These Task Forces are active and have monthly meetings. Usually, it is a melee of companies operating in that sector/industry. However, they have these common goals they closely work on. Every member can join in essence join a task force, or request access to NRCC in CDR.”
Did the pandemic affect the NRCC Operations?
Ana Popa: “For us, the personal contact with our members is very important. In order for us to keep the community alive, we need to gather the people and to see them. That element was missing, as even visiting members at their office was in most cases prohibited. This makes it harder to mobilize people, get them interested in what you do.”
Maurits Dohmen: ”It certainly made things different. Like everyone else we were suddenly faced with an online world only, forcing us to re-assess what we as a chamber can and should offer. But I believe we adjusted very fast and well and thus were able in a structured manner to cope with this and produce solutions. And with the support of our members, we were able to produce over 50 relevant webinars, introduced the NRCC industry-related newsletters, all aimed to keep offer valuable content to our members. And we added the online quizzes to our pallet of offerings to keep the community feeling intact. But you can imagine we are looking forward in things moving back to the offline world.”