Maaike van der Windt, now director aviation marketing, cargo and customer experience (ACC), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has two decades of experience working in the aviation industry and joined Schiphol Group as head of aviation marketing last year after working in a number of senior management roles for Brisbane Airport, Australia.
ACW: You have taken your position at a difficult time for Schiphol. Do you ever wish for a quiet day at the office?
Van der Windt: Although I do enjoy an occasional quiet day in the office, I love working in the dynamic Schiphol environment where there is never a dull day. In my role, I am responsible for cargo volumes. I meet many great people and companies in our industry and those affiliated with our industry and I enjoy understanding their business, as well as discovering new opportunities of working together.
ACW: How do you get the best out of your staff?
Van der Windt: By making sure we have a clear and meaningful purpose, plus clarity about how each staff member contributes to this goal. We offer a safe and fun working environment to ensure people can use their strengths in the workplace.
ACW: Are there any aspects of Brisbane that you can bring to Schiphol?
Van der Windt: I wish I could bring the sun and Australian coffees. More seriously I hope to bring a bit of the culture of Brisbane Airport with its fantastic approach to fostering great relationships with industry partners.
ACW: What was your involvement as a board member at VUmc Kinderstad (Ronald McDonald VU Kinderstad)?
Van der Windt: In the past, I was involved with building the Kinderstad, which is a department in the VU hospital where sick children can play and forget for a while that they are sick. Together with many other partners, we developed a playground on top of the hospital and I am very proud of it.
ACW: We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning 10 million euro. What would you do?
Van der Windt: First of all, I would throw a big party. Then I would use the winnings to support and invest in people with small budgets but good ideas and initiatives that would make the planet a better world.
ACW: You’re on death row, what would your last meal be?
Van der Windt: That’s so hard to choose as I love most food, but I definitely would want to have my last meal with my family and close friends.
ACW: What would your autobiography be called?
Van der Windt: Always look on the bright side of life.
ACW: What would be your perfect murder weapon and why?
Van der Windt: I’m too soft and couldn’t kill anyone.
ACW: If you were a drink, what would it be?
Van der Windt: Do I have to pick one? I would be a glass of Champagne.
ACW: Home and Away or Neighbours?
Van der Windt: I haven’t watched either, but I would have to choose Neighbours because when I lived in Australia, my neighbour used to be one of the actors on the show.
ACW: Fosters or Heineken?
Van der Windt: Neither. I am not a beer drinker and prefer wine over beer, but when I do drink a beer it’s usually a Mexican beer like Dos Equis or Corona.
ACW: Amsterdam or Sydney?
Van der Windt: Definitely Amsterdam, but Australia stole my heart and I do love Sydney, Brisbane and many other great places in Australia.
ACW: If you could steal credit for any great piece of art, song, film, book etc. which one would you claim?
Van der Windt: I would love to claim to have written a book which really impacts people like, ‘What is the what’ by Dave Eggers.
ACW: What have been your best and worst purchases?
Van der Windt: My worst purchase was probably the Jeep I drove in Australia as I was keen to four-wheel drive on the beach. I got stuck in the sand the first time I took it out and had to be saved by a local resident before the tide came up. So, after that I barely used it on the beach and then it was just not a very sustainable or practical car. My best purchase has been my apartment in Amsterdam in an old harbour area. I love walking, running or riding my bike along the water of the different peninsulas and artificial harbour island or even a rare swim on a warm summer day.