Gita, you are the person who can tell us all about the how and what of finance. Fire away: what do you do for MindLabs in that area?
Everything related to money matters, except for accounting. For example, I set up the planning and control cycle within the organization and translate MindLabs policy into finance. I also draw up the budget for next year together with a colleague from the Education Group. We do this in consultation with our director Loet Visschers and Petra van Dijk, the manager of our ecosystem. I also work with Petra on grant applications, the budgets for subsidized projects and at the beginning of next year I will be working with another colleague on the annual accounts.
What does that support process to MindLabs look like? Are you involved in all financial issues, or just a portion?
I am partly involved at the front end, when a project wants to use grants, for example. I then work on the necessary budgets, so that when we apply, we can present a good, well-founded plan. I also work behind the scenes on important financial documents.
Since when have you been associated with MindLabs?
I have been involved with the ecosystem full time since June this year, after reintegrating after my sick leave. Originally this was only going to be for a few months, but it looks like I'll be with MindLabs until the end of next year, and I like that prospect!
What work within MindLabs do you perform with joy?
I like looking for solutions. And so I'm constantly adjusting and improving financial documents. Take the 2022 budget, for example. After I had completed it, the MindLabs board still had all kinds of wishes that had to be taken into account in the figures. This meant that my first draft could go in the trash. But the adjustments made ultimately result in a stronger draft version. And that's the most important thing.
And what do you especially like to outsource?
The general accounting. Fortunately, there is a financial manager and management support person for that within MindLabs. They also do the general payments. In addition, we have a partnership with ERAC. Although I look for certain subsidies, keep an eye on the applications and take care of the accounting, ERAC uses their expertise to make sure that MindLabs knows about certain subsidies. I, in turn, create the budgets required for the applications.
How will you celebrate big moments? Great milestones financially, for example?
I personally haven't reached those yet, but we did celebrate a literal "highlight" in September. That's when the new MindLabs building, located in the Spoorzone, reached its highest point. But MindLabs is of course still a young association that has only been active for about 2.5 years. Therefore, a lot is going to change in the coming period, and greatest moments are sure to follow. I do, however, give my colleagues a virtual high five when a grant application is granted. Even though the entire project has yet to begin, you know that the plan and the financial foundations are good. And those grants are an acknowledgement of our work, which of course calls for a virtual moment of celebration.
Does your help with MindLabs mean that you are also completely at home in the world of technology?
No, it certainly doesn't. But fortunately I'm not blamed for that either. What matters is that I have knowledge about my field of finance, as they told me during the first meeting. And that's what I support MindLabs in.
We're going to finish. Then you can move on too. What's next on your agenda? Full on finances again? Or will it be a cup of coffee or something stronger?
First I'm going to drink a cup of coffee. And then I go for a walk, get some fresh air. I also have to answer some e-mails about the new draft of our budget, which I sent out this morning.