Ingrid de Graaf, Board Member and Chairman of Retail with Aegon the Netherlands, has been named ‘Topvrouw’ (Top woman of the year) by boardroom empowerment organization topvrouwen.nl.
Every year, Topvrouw nominates a 'Top woman of the year' in order to stimulate more women to fulfill their ambitions and join the management of large companies.
Ten women had been nominated for the award. Commenting on her success yesterday evening, Ingrid de Graaf said, "I just do my work. It doesn't matter whether I was born male or female. A modern company needs diversity within teams. It's proven that these deliver better results. This is reflected in your success. When I saw how my nomination affected my colleagues, I realized just how important a role model is."
De Graaf recognized the importance of the support she receives from her husband, saying, "I think the role of a husband to a top woman is often forgotten. I work at home one day per week, but I could never have achieved what I have without him. We didn't want to rely on other people to bring up our children, therefore a lot of this responsibility fell on his shoulders."
The jury, led by retired politician Gerrit Zalm, said they were looking for women who did not so much place emphasis on themselves, but on the meaning that their role in management has to society. "In so doing, she shows her guts and bravery", the jury commented. "As role models they can be inspiring examples for young women and men," said the jury.
Global Head of HR at Aegon, Carla Mahieu was in full agreement with the jury: "We are all extremely proud of Ingrid. She is an inspiring role model for the next generation of leaders - both female and male."