This month’s Member Spotlight

Inge Terpstra

June 2016

LEAD Charter Member, Production Director, Tiofarma

One day a courier delivered the ‘NEW Women rules’ book onto my doorstep with a dinner invite for discussion.

It was the start of an inspirational journey at the beginning of the foundation. At the dinner with 10 others I was surprised at how much we shared even though our roles, visions and backgrounds were so different. Having had the pleasure of working with great men and women in Unilever, I took responsibility and support for granted.

I was never a fan of diversity schemes as I believe capability and passion make a difference far beyond race, gender or other. However, the people at the table and the prospect of supporting each other in day-to-day challenges (spend time to network, negotiate, …) grabbed me.

When I later joined Tiofarma, a mid-size pharmaceutical company, the technical team consisted of men only and so did the board. It was tempting to adapt, and a struggle to make a different contribution. I am grateful to lead the Steering Committee of LEAD and building the foundation with support especially from the Advisory Board. It did put diversity on my agenda: I recently interviewed people for a senior engineering position. The man said ‘I can do it and I would like to earn this’ and the woman said ‘I will do my best and let me know your offer’. She is now part of the team and her contribution and remuneration is as high as it would have been for others. We are finishing the build of a greenfield farmaceutical factory and I am convinced some of the very innovative technologies we realised were due to a diverse team, of course with capability and passion at its base.
I find KPIs for diversity a difficult issue – trying to tick boxes will not make a difference. I go by the business results and make sure decisions are a result of strong content builds. And as we develop, we better have some fun along the way!

I believe the best thing we can achieve with LEAD is that our children cannot imagine why there would be any reason for existence of such a foundation…