In 2005 I got the opportunity to undertake an internship - I was passionate about working for the best retailer with strong values and a 'customer first' approach. That company turned out to be de Bijenkorf. By 2011 I'd made it to Customer Service Manager. I was then offered the position of Assistant Category Specialist, then two years later the role of Category Manager: a new challenge which required me to head the category, merchandise and photo studio teams. In 2015 an opportunity arose to contribute to the de Bijenkorf talent program, which really helped me develop my leadership skills.
I loved that job but after almost three years I noticed I'd landed in my comfort zone - so I decided it was time to broaden my horizons. De Bijenkorf asked me where I wanted to be, where I wanted to take my career... so in 2016 I took a big step and left everything I knew behind; for a new adventure in Dublin, where I currently fulfil the role as head of online trading at Brown Thomas.
What have been your career highlights?
My promotion to Online Category Manager at de Bijenkorf was a real turning point in my career. And participating in the de Bijenkorf Talent Program was also an amazing experience; I worked on a 'Dragons Den-type' assignment with three other colleagues and we pitched the idea of the innovation pyramid to the executive board - which is now being put in to practice.
What do you love about working for the Selfridges group?
What I enjoy most is the constant drive and inspiration to do better. Working for the Group gives me the opportunity to work very hard for something I love and I'm powered by the opportunity to create a career that plays to my strengths.
What was it like living in Dublin and working in Brown Thomas?
To be honest, this was a big step for me. Although I didn't move to the other side of the world, everything was new: a new city, a new house, different language, new responsibilities, colleagues and business processes. It took a couple of months to get settled, but when I did it felt amazing! The experience has given me a deeper understanding of the Group, how the businesses work and at the same time it helped me getting to know myself better.
What has helped you achieve your goals?
I think it comes down to three things: firstly, stay curious – you have to keep up: keep reading and listening; secondly, be visible - have a voice, stay in touch; and finally - be reliable. Part of getting a promotion is about delivering what you say you're going to deliver, giving it 150% and always having a plan.
After a successful secondment with Brown Thomas, Marieke has now returned to de Bijenkorf.