“What does Connect mean to you?”

New York

NAME

Lise Gregoire-van Haaren

FUNCTION

Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

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“There are many variations of this quote, and I like the one by Nelson Mandela: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” This is what diplomacy is about. It is about building bridges, making connections, working together in order to achieve something better. In the context of the United Nations, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is one of 193 member states.

We have good relations with most, some are more challenging. We work with everyone. Every relation requires investment: making the connection, building the relation, maintenance. The key factor in those connections is interpersonal contact. Individuals matter. A personal relation can create space to search for solutions for larger problems, and – ultimately – make peace.”

NAME

Pamela Hendrickson

FUNCTION

COO & Vice Chairman, Strategic Initiatives at The Riverside Company

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“Steve Jobs once said Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something…they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new thing

I do this every day it is simply part of who I am, whether that is creating a new reporting system for my PE firm, connecting investment strategies with potential investors, creating a new product or building a new mouse trap to find better ways of sourcing deal flow.”

NAME

Katarina Wong

FUNCTION

NYC-based artist and curator, and the Program Manager for the Arts Administration graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University

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“I like the imperative aspect of the word Connect. As an artist, curator, and arts administrator I love to connect ideas and experiences, but I also think it is increasingly important to connect people to one another as a way of fostering understanding and compassion. How that happens can be as simple as connecting two people who share interests through email, or it can become a creative endeavor, like curating an exhibition or developing a program that invites diverse audiences to interact.

Sometimes a crazy thought gnaws at you until you have no choice but to try and turn it into something.

In 2015, after President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba would start opening relations, I had an idea to bring U.S. and Cuban artists together in a kind of dialogue that would unfold through the process of collaboration.

“Hecho en Tránsito / Made in Transit” was born. As the curator and project manager, I paired eight artists from the two countries. Over the next 12-18 months, the artist pairs transformed each other’s work. Traveling back and forth, I swapped the pieces between the artists four-five times over the following 2+ years.” Click on read more for the sequel.

NAME

Jill Davis Kone

FUNCTION

Vice President, Marketing Manager, Global Supplier Diversity, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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“I associate the idea of connecting with finding commonality between myself and other people. For me the word ‘Connect’ signifies ‘possibility’, the possibility of developing new friendships, embarking on a project, or opening a door to a new professional opportunity.  I’ve discovered over the years that nothing really happens without a connection to others. This connection enables your ideas come to life, through them, and theirs to become a reality through you.

In early 2004, the company I was working for laid off over 1,000 people in the northeast region—myself included. As I went about the job search it became strikingly clear to me that I didn’t know anyone.

Of course I had a few personal friends, but on the professional side, I was only connected to people in my office—most of who were laid off also. How could I plan for the next opportunity if I was alone and unconnected?

I decided that day that I would no longer neglect my professional network. In the years that followed, in all of my professional roles, I was more deliberate and serious about making connections with people in and around the worlds I inhabited. Even if there was no immediate reason for us to come together on a regular basis, opportunities to be of service to them sometimes presented themselves, enabling me to strengthen those connections.”

NAME

Helena Sprenger

FUNCTION

Partner at Houthoff

PRACTICE AREAS

Banking & Finance
Capital Markets
Corporate / M&A
Dutch Caribbean

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“The need to connect is a very basic human need. Maslow put it directly behind physical needs and the need for safety in his famous ‘hierarchy of needs’. Human beings are naturally wired to connect to each other.

Personally, running a Dutch practice in distant NY, I constantly rely on the creation and expansion of a broad network of national and international connections to make our firm successful.

I have found Americans to be very open to making new connections and offering their (free) time and help to create and maintain these connections. I will never forget that immediately after I arrived in NY, hardly knowing anybody, I was invited by a contact of the firm to spend a weekend on the beach with her and her family. I don’t think such an invitation would have been extended in the Netherlands in a similar situation.”

NAME

Carmen Bakas

FUNCTION

Representative at Houthoff

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“Connect has always been an important part of my career. Actually it is because of a connection made more than 20 years ago that I am representing Houthoff in Houston today.  As a junior associate I worked with one of the Houthoff partners on some transactions when he was a junior too. Those long hours surely created a connection and cemented my relation with Houthoff.

After graduation I went to New Delhi, India to do an internship with a major law firm. A few years later while working as an attorney in Amsterdam,

those contacts were extremely valuable when I got involved with setting up the first Indo-Dutch joint ventures which were very rare in those days.

I did not expect that one of those contacts would one day become the attorney general of the Supreme Court of India and that I would meet him on many other occasions as years went by. There were at all times opportunities for us to reconnect and help each other out.”

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