Walk & Talk with Dunya Ressang

Alex de Vries, 07 december 2021

More and more people are looking for ways to make an impact. Be it recent graduates or seniors in companies, the search for making a meaningful contribution has become a collective one. For many young professionals, experiencing meaning is an important pillar for their work. How might impact-making look like in practice? And how could one make more impact? We walk and talk around the Bergse Plas along with a professional that’s experienced in the subject.

Dunya Ressang is the Erasmus Trust Fund’s communication manager. She chose the job for its potential to make an impact. It is an important aspect of her working life, too. She found out during her journey from student to young professional.

“I started with a Bachelor International Communication and Media at the Erasmus,” she recounts. “After that I did a master Business Administration at the UvA, in Amsterdam. It’s kind of the competition. But maybe I shouldn’t say that,” she adds, laughing.

We stand still briefly, on the route Dunya often walks with her puppy Nova at the end of the day. Nova isn’t with us today; she would likely be too busy running around and playing to really focus on the interview questions. Dunya is able to do the walking and explaining gracefully, as she knows the way (and the prettiest spots for filming).

“After my master, I immediately got started at KPN, in a transformation program. That was a blast to be a part of, but I eventually found out that corporate life didn’t really suit me. So I continued at the Redzebra Group – a really great experience.”

That sounds interesting. What is the Redzebra Group?

“The Redzebra Group is a company focused on leadership consultancy, putting emphasis on purpose. I came in contact with them because I’d gone through one of their trainings,” she says as we slowly start walking again. “I told them this could be an interesting training to provide to the younger generation, wherein themes like burnout, anxiety and depression are unfortunately prevalent these days.”

A free roaming labradoodle with light brown fur – ostensibly mud brown fur lower down – skips around Dunya and follows her a few seconds. Then it chases after the second dog that appeared and the man walking the two dogs that just passed us. It makes for a contrast with the heavier theme we briefly touch upon.

“I myself just came out of a burnout at that time, and I felt that this training could offer a handle of sorts to this generation.” That memory evokes a smile on her face; “when I suggested that to them, they told me: ‘well then, that sounds like a job for you.’”

That’s how ‘The Millennial Journey’ and ‘Transform You’ came into existence.

Following the theme ‘impact’, we expressed our curiosity about other impact Dunya might’ve made, and which she’s still planning to make. She details how, in the beginning of the corona crisis, she felt a desire to contribute to potential solutions for the problems that were appearing.

“Together with two brothers from Amsterdam I set up ‘PPE Needed’: ‘Personal Protective Equipment Needed’. That garnered support from Amazon, AWS and the Red Cross. It was a wonderful initiative, completely free, to bring facemasks and the like to healthcare workers who were lacking. That’s how we made a real difference for health workers worldwide. The team grew from 3 to 20 volunteers worldwide, and I got to lead for a while. That became a true passion project. It even ended up on the radio, with Umberto Tan – we’re very proud of that!”

Are there any goals for the future?

“For me there isn’t so much a goal as a theme: helping younger generations. Preferably world wide, but definitely in the Netherlands. And I’ve noticed that since I joined the Positive Impact Circle I get to meet like-minded people. I believe you have to do these things together, and that you should find people who share your vision. You can always help each other, as you cannot do it all on your own. That’s why I’m grateful to be a part of this circle!”

 

With that, we round off our interview between the autumn-clad willows of Hillegersberg. We can conclude that Dunya created her own impact. She directed her attention and creativity towards problems she had the ability to contribute to, and that felt important to work on. Dunya learned from her experiences, was granted good opportunities and still makes effort to help the younger generation.

Would you also like to get to know people striving to make an impact? Check out the Positive Impact Circle on our website. Would you like to know some more about ‘The Millennial Journey’? Then watch the video of the interview!

Until next time!

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