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Mentor: Elise Bijkerk

StartLife Mentor

Elise is an international, strategic, and creative marketing executive and senior leader with 25 years of experience in the (healthy) food business with global companies such as Danone, Nutricia, and Arla Foods.

She is driven by a passion for creating relevant consumer-centric innovations, meaningful brands, and communication that triggers. When Startups have technical solutions but they do not know how to address this idea with consumers or how to position it in general to other companies, she can help. Through her work at Arla, she has also worked with agricultural needs and challenges and how to address them.

With many years of experience working in an international environment and across functional teams, so she knows how big corporates work and this might be relevant for Startups pitching toward corporates. She has proven leadership and people management skills so can also help with team questions and expanding teams in times of growth. Elise brings high energy and speed and values clarity, honesty, and doing good for people and the planet. It is also important for her to have fun while working hard on achieving goals.

Elise has an MSc degree in Economics and Business from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is currently doing an Executive Leadership program at THNK, school for creative leadership in Amsterdam. She wants to use her broad international food experience to help drive change and transformation in the food system.

Skills and field of expertise

    • Brand strategy and positioning
    • Innovation management, from ideation to launch
    • Global innovation management (rollouts)
    • Creative development
    • Leadership
    • Cross-functional collaboration

Offer and interest: I can offer many years of experience working in big food companies, like Danone and Arla Foods. I know my way around big corporates and know how they collaborate across functions and markets. I have worked successfully on how to create innovations and how to roll them out across different countries. I am passionate about business ideas that make a difference to people and the planet.

Favorite quote: Instead of a quote I really like the German word for passion which is:

“Leidenshaft”

It can be translated as the ‘act of suffering’. It means to me, that when you are really passionate about something you don’t give up. You dig deep to go for it with all that you have.

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