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Urban and Regional Planning

Dorrit Gruijters: 'My Pride and satisfaction'

Alumna testimonial

Dorrit Gruijters, graduated in Urban and Regional Planning, in 1989.

Dorrit Gruijter
Dorrit Gruijters

After obtaining my degree in Urban and Regional Planning, I took a job at Elsevier's Conferences division in 1990. In 1991 I left for New York, where I was offered a position promoting the Netherlands as an international conference location. It was a great adventure, with a wealth of experiences that included travelling all across the USA and living in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

This fantastic and instructive period got even better when I won a Green Card through the lottery system. This freed me to apply for other jobs in the United States. Through my network, I was offered a position as a PR manager for the J.F.K. International Air Terminal. The development of a new terminal aligned closely with my specialisation in Urban and Regional Planning, although my activities differed quite a bit.

After seven wonderful years in New York I wanted to go back to the Netherlands, so went in search of a job that would give me an international playing field in a sphere that appealed to me. I took a position at World Online International (now Tiscali), where I launched three subsidiaries over two years' time and worked with the new management board to prepare the merger with Tiscali.

Entrepreneurship

After all those years working for employers, I wanted to be the boss of my own company. Only, I had no idea what in! In 2004 I took part in a delegation visiting companies in China, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. That marked the inception of Coincide. The aim of my company, Coincide, is to accelerate the pace of health care innovation by developing study and policy trips for directors and managers working in the care sector. The Latin word co-in-cidere means a coming together of people, ideas or events. My company brings care sector directors and managers together in time, place and opinion. By exchanging knowledge and experiences with foreign colleagues, they gain new insights that can be used to improve the health care system and the provision of care in the Netherlands. Our service focuses primarily on the development of itineraries for visits and the organisation and coordination of inspiring speakers from the care sector.

It's a challenging and multi-dimensional job that requires me to travel a lot and in which I get to talk to interesting and noted directors of companies and care institutions, who I have to persuade of the interest of meeting with a Dutch delegation of people from the care sector.

A logical extension

Starting a business in the care sector doesn't really link up with my degree in Urban and Regional Planning, in terms of entrepreneurship and the sector itself. However, where I am now is a logical extension of utilising my qualities and core competences and making the most of opportunities that came my way. Being the owner and director of your own business entails a huge responsibility vis-à-vis both your staff and your clients, especially if you don't have a business partner to share it with. But there's also an exceptional sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with walking through the door of your own office in Amsterdam's historic South district and returning home after a successful mission abroad.