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Interview with Heleen Mees

Heleen Mees is a Dutch columnist, economist, and lawyer. Involved with politics and public policy in the Netherlands and the United States. In this interview with A-Speakers , She speaks about her career, what sets her keynotes apart and what are the most pressing threats to the global economy.

Who or what inspires you most?

Women who step up and stand out inspire me most. I believe it is very important that women take up their space in the public sphere and influence policy decisions. Luckily, we live in a time where there are ample of women who do just that. There is a female chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and a female head of the IMF. By 2017, the world may not only have a female German chancellor, but a female UK prime minister and female US president as well.


Do you have a favorite experience from your career?

Moving to Brussels in 1998 to work for the European Commission is probably my favourite, to at least the most formative, experience. In Brussels I realised how intellectually stimulating it is to work with people from all different nationalities and background. In 2000, I moved on to New York City, the ultimate melting pot. I would never want to give that up anymore.


How are your keynote presentations unique?

My presentations are unique as I combine a unique number of perspectives, having worked both for government as well as the private sector, in Europe, the United States and China, alternatively in the role of policymaker, adviser, researcher, advocate, and opinion writer.


In your view, what are the most pressing threats to the world economy?

The most pressing threat to the world economy is the failure of the winners of globalisation to redistribute the spoils of globalisation with the others. That’s why we see in a great number of advanced economies (the UK, the US, France, the Netherlands) that the working class is revolting, threatening the very post-war makeup of the global economy.


What did you want to achieve when you started Women on Top?

Women on Top set out to campaign for Dutch legislation for gender balance on corporate boards, both supervisory and executive. Once we had reached our goal, we liquidated Women on Top.


Can you give three tips for women trying to make it in the business world?

1) Start by picking out a bèta education.

2) Outsource a lot of home-making and childcare (or find a partner who is willing to do it).

3) Work hard and take credit for it.


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