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#womenintech // Fien Schunck: happiness is all about finding the right seat for the right people

The health and high-tech industries are still seen as predominantly male, but at Novio Tech Campus, these women are paving the way for the future. Like Fien Schunck, Chief Happiness at HIP BV, who makes sure everyone is content: innovative professionals, employees, and customers.

Fondness for technology

Fien was brought up with technology at an early age. Her grandfather was a chemist, and as a child, she was surrounded by all kinds of experiments, innovations, and technologies. It’s no surprise that she ended up with an interest in the health and high-tech sector.

After studying tourism, she ended up at NXP by chance. “I worked at NXP for several years as a receptionist and secretary. I then spent a few years with my kids. After this period, I slowly started looking for a job again, and Chris Geelen, the founder of HIP BV, offered me a job. I like the sector and the position immediately appealed to me as well as what HIP BV stands for, so I thought ‘this is perfect!’ Within two weeks we arranged everything, I signed my contract, and I could call myself Chief Happiness.”

Chief of a whole lot of happiness

Fien is regularly asked questions about her job title, what is it that she does exactly? “Happiness is, of course, a rather vague concept, but I often describe myself as a kind of Office Manager Plus. That’s because my tasks are very diverse: I run the back office, I do a bit of HR and Marketing, I ensure that all systems are in order, and I sometimes help with sourcing and recruiting. I am also the point of contact for the professionals working at HIP. They can come to me with all their questions and I make sure that everyone feels happy and supported where necessary”, she says.

HIP BV is a secondment agency that focuses on high innovative professionals. “We really are in a niche. We focus on professionals who work in semicon and high tech. One of the biggest challenges in our industry is finding the right people for the right companies. It’s a small fishpond of talented professionals and therefore it’s often difficult for companies to find the right people. That’s why we look further: not only in the Netherlands but also internationally. I find it important to make a connection and to be involved with our professionals, and our clients. That way, we can find the right match between professional and potential employer: that’s how we make sure everyone is happy.”

Perfect matches, happy people

According to Fien, several things are essential for finding a perfect match between a professional and a client. The first thing they look at is what someone is capable of and what their ambitions are both professionally and personally. “About 50% of the professionals working at HIP BV are women. And these are women who don’t necessarily work in a women’s role.  I’m talking about project leaders and engineers. You’re seeing more and more women holding senior roles, and that makes me happy. However, our vacancies are not for a certain gender, our choices are based on talent and skill. We want to provide tailor-made solutions for professionals and clients. We join forces with the professionals and look at where they would like to be in several years, and what their ambitions are.”

In addition, it is vital to create a healthy work-life balance so professionals have enough energy to engage fully. Fien explains: “If you have a job that doesn’t suit you, you come home stressed every day and you are less productive professionally. But if you are in the right seat, you’ll go to work with a smile, and you come home with energy. And that’s what’s most important: happy professionals and happy clients.”

It’s like a village in the beating heart of technology

For Fien, working at the Novio Tech Campus is very exciting. She describes the campus as a diverse, multicultural center in Nijmegen. “I love being in an office with a lot of other startups. All the companies are in the same sector, so you can offer something to one another. It’s like a village, many of our customers are practically our neighbors.”

In addition, Fien loves being part of the beating heart of technology. “I think it’s great to see that people are working on the technology of the future on campus. Technological climate solutions, in particular, appeal to me. For example, a robot lab that combines AI and big chemistry is being built. I think it’s cool to see what something like that can mean for a sustainable future. And if I can contribute to this sector by providing happy professionals who are developing the technological solutions for our future, I feel fulfilled.”

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