“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”

Nr 89. In Holland: being a juror for the Awards 2022

Last week, we left the boat in the Algarve in a harbor to fly back to the Netherlands for 4 days. I was invited by Branch organization Develhub to be a juror to select the winner of their annual Awards. My company Expert Trainers is 1 of the partners of Develhub, to support the profession of learning and development. The announcement of the winner of the Awards would be on 14. December during a Gala on a tour boat, sailing on the Maas through Rotterdam! Of course I had to be there in person 😊.

When Gilles and I were in the plane from Faro in Eindhoven, I thought about what it would be like to see many my former colleagues, fellow-trainers, clients in person again after 1,5 years sailing! Most of them I had kept in touch with online, even worked with some in 2021 or 2022, but to meet again ‘in the flesh’: would it still be that easy going as it was, in a natural spontaneous way? Then I realized that this must be the same for almost of the guests: many had not seen each other for 1 or 2 years in person, maybe sometimes online or not even that. I think most of us even had to ‘dig’ in our closets to find high heels or a gala dress after all this time!

20 degrees temperature difference

When we landed in Eindhoven, we experienced a drop in temperature of 20 degrees. Coming from 18 °C in the south of Portugal to -2 °C in Holland. Since we had sold our cars when we left the Netherlands on 1.May 2021, we picked up a rental car in Eindhoven. It was parked outside, so we had to scrape ice of the window. That was a first in 1,5 years being on the water!

When we drove to our house in the Netherlands, we tuned in to radio station Sky Radio which only plays X-mas songs during December. And everything outside was covered with a thin white layer because of the cold. We quickly got into the Christmas spirit!

The Big Five

It was nice to visit family and friends during these 4 days in the Netherlands. And we did some ‘personal maintenance’ as well (going to our favorite hairdresser and local dentist). This was the third time that we had been back in Holland in the last 1,5 years and we always make sure we see the Big Five:

  • Croquette sandwich
  • Old cheese
  • Filet American sandwich
  • Unox smoked sandwich
  • Fried fish (‘kibbeling’)


The Awards ceremony

On the Gala night, we dressed up nicely, our clothes brought in a suitcase from the catamaran.

And when we entered the tour boat in Rotterdam, I quickly saw Jolanda van ‘t Erve, Mark Visser and Jeroen Persoons who I have known for 10 years: it was a warm welcome!

We walked over the boat, and it was so lovely to see so many familiar faces. But also people who I have met only online during the last 1,5 years, like Evitha Scharloo and Grieta Kracht. And the conversations with everyone was so enthusiastic, inspiring and easy going. We talked about our work being a learning professional, plans for 2023 and our personal lives.

The evening was from 19.30h-22.30h, and in between each announcement of the winner of the short list of top 3 contenders, there was music, a break with drinks and snacks. So the evening went by so quickly!

The Develhub Award winners 2022 are:
– Learning & Development Young Latent: Jorik Algera
– Learning & Development Professional: Nina te Riele
– Learning organization: IND Academie: Jose Kruger
– Thought Leader: Jeanne Bakker

All winners got an Award and a speech by a member of the jury. And it has been a tradition now for the 4th year: Expert Trainers offers the winners a day of sailing on the catamaran in the Netherlands! So I am looking forward to meet the 2022 winners again on the 1. April 2023, when Gilles and I fly again to Holland from the Mediterranean and we will spent a day together on a rented catamaran.

I was very happy to have made this effort and 4 day trip to the Netherlands this month, it was really a well organized and happy evening, with an tribute to the outstanding winners and a celebration of our great profession! Develhub made a 3 minute movie of the Awards Gala evening on the boat in Rotterdam:

Being a juror: my experiences

About 3 months before the Gala evening where the winners were announced, the first steps were already taken by Develhub to organize this event. I was asked to be a member of the jury around that time, so I have experienced the event from within. And I was impressed about how much effort was put into it. This is how the jury process has been taken place in 8 steps according to my experiences:

1. Selection of the Jury members

Dick Krikke, the Director of Develhub called me to ask me to be a member of the Jury 2022. His arguments were:
– You are one of the former winners (Awards 2020) and you know the importance of the price
– You are a partner of Develhub and you are a support of our profession in learning and development
– You are a professional for 25 years in Training, you have knowledge of the quality of professionals

To me it was a honor to be asked as 1 of the 8 jury members and it’s also the responsibility as a former winner to pay it forward I feel.

2. First meeting

We met online as jury and discussed the process: what kind of Awards did we want to hand out in December. We added the Thoughtleader of the Year 2022, this was the only price that would be selected by the audience in stead of the Jury, to have the wisdom of the crowd for this award.

Because we expected a lot of nominees to be submitted (over 200 people!), we also decided to split up as a Jury and make groups of 3 jurors for each Award: L&D Talent, L&D Professional, L&D Organization. So this would mean each Jury team would have to read ‘only’ the submissions for ‘their’ Award. I was 1 of the jurors for the Learning Organization Award.

3. Second meeting

With the 2 other members of our subteam, Jackelien Veldstra and Sandra Duijndam, we had an extra meeting to discuss how we would look at the submission that would be sent to us by Develhub the next month. What would be the criteria for us to select a learning organization that stands out?

We came up with 5 criteria for a top learning organization:

  • Does a learning analysis in a structural and thorough way
  • Has a wide variety of learning solutions of offer that are innovative and customized
  • Is visible on the workfloor and does good stakeholder management
  • Has a good Academy team with different and competent professionals that are open to learn
  • Does a visual, structural and thorough measurement of the impact of learning in their organisation

4. Reading the submissions

We got 16 forms of clients, colleagues or professionals that were enthusiastic about their nominee, a learning organization. It was a variety of organisations: in health care, government, commercial, etc. All 3 members of the Jury read all forms and made a shortlist of 3 contenders according to our 5 criteria.

5. Third meeting

The 3 of us came together again online to share our top 3. And being an online Trainer, I always like to come up with a work method to make a meeting fun and efficient. So I had made a poll in Mentimeter with the names of all 16 contenders and ask my fellow jury members to fill in the poll by selecting their top 3. That was done anonymously. And with 1 minute we had a great outcome: all 3 of us independently of each other, selected 1 learning organization (IND Academie) that would automatically be the winner. Then 2 of us selected another organization and nr 3 was not that obvious, we all had different organisations in mind. So about nr 3 we had a short discussion and selected an organization.

6. Communicate the winner to the Jury

I wrote an e-mail on behalf of our sub jury team to the complete Jury that this would be our top 3 contenders for the Learning Organisation of 2022 and the winner of the Award. Of course, top secret and under embargo 😊.

7. Speech for the winner

Jackelien wrote and gave the speech for the winner, selecting words that the fans of this organization had mentioned to us and our point of view how that matched with our 5 criteria. Jackelien handed over the award to Jose Kruger, who represented the IND Academie that evening.

8. Documenting the process and criteria

Our final labor as jury members was to document the process of our decision making and writing down our criteria to select the winner. So that the next jury team, consisting of former winners and experts in the field, can build on that for the Awards 2023.