Articles Overview
26 November 2021
A CEO with a purpose - to make women stronger.

A CEO with a purpose - to make women stronger.


As a CEO, Marleen Vaesen uses her marketing knowledge to develop an authentic leaderships style that prioritises purpose and people. We share her most valuable tips!

podcastaflevering 1

Marleen Vaesen: A CEO on a mission!

Table of contents:

Ready to learn from one of Belgium’s top CEO’s? Meet Marleen Vaesen: She is the visionary mind behind ground-breaking marketing launches as Senseo by Douwe Egberts and Always. But, that’s just the start when it comes to Marleen’s credentials. Today, she is the CEO of Van de Velde, a Belgian company that designs, produces and sells luxury lingerie and shapewear underwear for women. In short: she’s a born marketer. Marleen is also on a mission to nurture the next generation of female trailblazers and she's doing it on her own terms. Her personal mantra: Making women stronger. Which also happens to be Van de Velde’s credo. Coincidence? We think not.

In this podcast, we talk about staying true to yourself, purpose and the art of servant leadership.

Why being true to yourself is a winning strategy

Staying true to yourself in business, isn’t always easy. But, being your unique self can actually help you succeed in the workplace. And no, it doesn’t mean you can show up in bunny slippers. Marleen has learnt very early on in her career that if the values of a company are no longer in sync with your personal beliefs, you two are no longer a good fit. The message: If you're unhappy, change your path. Don’t take on other people’s beliefs, opinions and feedback. This will allow you to lead with humility and give you the courage to take risks and speak up. According to Marleen it’s the foundation for boosting confidence and performance. For her working at companies such as Douwe Egberts felt liberating, because it suited her in every way.

Don’t underestimate the power of purpose

Marleen strongly believes that the workplace should be a place where people feel united in a shared goal. The first things she does, when starting as a new CEO, is (re)define their corporate fundamentals. And Marleen has a strong sense of what the organisation wants to achieve. What does your company stand for, how do you differentiate yourself from others and are you heading in the right direction? It‘s needless to say that you should involve your employees when looking for answers to these important questions. Marleen firmly believes it guides people’s actions in the workplace and provides them with a framework to develop efficient teams. Once those foundations are in place, you can start strategizing and defining objectives.

She learned about the value of purpose during her days as her marketer. In marketing you try to find purpose on a brand level, but as a CEO it’s all about the company. And guess what? You can motivate your employees, just the way a brand motivates its customers.

All about others: the magic of servant leadership

Marleen Vaesen took the traditional leadership model and turned it completely upside down. She puts her employees and their needs at the forefront and focuses on empowering and uplifting those around her. This CEO servers as a ‘scaffold’ for her team by unburdening them and providing clear guidance. 

You don’t have to pass on unnecessary information to your team. It doesn’t do them any good and creates stress.”  

- Marleen Vaesen

If there is one thing she can’t wrap her head around, it’s ‘management by fear’. If you now that 75% of employees say their manager is the most stressful part of their job, it’s time for a different approach. Conclusion: Say bye bye to toxic work environments and hello to servant leaders.

A good listener, strong work ethic and good communicator… That’ how we would describe Marleen Vaesen as a person and as a CEO. Intrigued? Listen to our podcast and discover what other tricks she has up her sleeve. Visit our page on Spotify, Stitcher or Apple, press play and enjoy!

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