Irenka van den Hout is a passionate senior communications professional with marketing experience, at home in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). She is proven successful in building and leading a team of professionals and in challenging others to develop their thought leadership. She derives satisfaction from building a consistent corporate identity and enjoys the craft of the communication profession. Irenka’s promise: high-impact and transparent communication that generates connection, both offline and online. Irenka regularly speaks in front of groups, as lecturer or day’s chair.
Field of work
- Corporate communication
- Marketing communication (B2B, B2C)
- Internal communication
- Communication on CSR
- Public relations
- International product management
Until July 2014, Irenka van den Hout (1973) worked as a Corporate Communications Manager at the waste services provider and recycling firm Van Gansewinkel. Before this, she spent three years as the Head of Communication at MVO Nederland, the Dutch knowledge and network organisation in the area of sustainability. Prior to this, Irenka performed various marketing and communication roles in the business world at companies including Thieme GrafiMedia Groep and Royal Leerdam. Irenka has written various articles and blogs, about subjects including transparency, greenwashing, effective networking, the power of sensitivity and the New Way of Working.
The woman behind
I was raised with two cultures: Polish and Dutch. This taught me that there is no one truth and that diversity yields profit. I wanted to become an ambassador and build bridges, so I went to study at Leiden University. I intended to combine International Law with French, though I never did study law. I had great pleasure in studying French language and literature, graduating with a specialisation in medieval literature.
When I look back at my career, storytelling is a recurrent theme. During the Middle Ages, stories were told from person to person, each time embellished with a personal note, hope or connection, providing entertainment. In my marketing and communication jobs, I discovered that companies and organisations can use this same power. They can use this to give meaning and bring about changes in behaviour, provided that the stories are authentic and credible. I enjoy contributing to this.
The power of vulnerability
I believe that showing imperfections leads to real connections. These connections can exist between people and between people and brands. That is why I embraced the theme of Transparency when I worked as the Head of Communication for MVO Nederland. I continue to do this. What is my imperfection? My impatience. Things are often not quick enough for me and that sometimes gets in the way of effective listening. Please point this out to me! By the way, I also enjoy driving fast. Not only is this not very smart, but it is also not sustainable. Thank heavens for the invention of the electric car.
Dare to ask
I have lost my heart to traditional crafts and the manufacturing industry. Do you have or do you know about a communications assignment in these areas?
Sources of inspiration
- trendsetters in the sharing and networking economy, such as TOMS , Thuisafgehaald and Nudge
- trendsetters in the circular economy, such as Mud Jeans
- the children from Mappa Mondo
- teaching materials about changing behaviour from the lecture series Psychology for sustainability
- magazines such as P+ and The Optimist
- recipes from the many cookery books on my shelves
For more information about my business background, please take a look at my LinkedIn-profile. Life is more than just work. That is why I take time for long walks, a game of tennis, reading books in the sun, dancing and extensive meals with friends and family. Either in beautiful Brabant, where love has taken me, or la douce France bien sûr.