Meet Sandra Heymans

Sandra Heymans has been head of the management team at WTC Amsterdam on behalf of the building’s owners, CBRE Global Investors, for the past two years. She sees her most important task as building a sense of community throughout the complex and fostering a vibrant and inspiring atmosphere.

Sandra Heymans loves to cook but says she is most passionate about thinking in concepts, not rules and processes. This practical approach is reflected in the tenant-based strategy she has adopted at WTC Amsterdam. ‘Social contacts are very important to me and the recent restrictions on meeting people and on spontaneity hit me hard,’ she says. ‘So it is great to see people again.’

Sandra sees her role as being more about community management and added value than marketing and sales. ‘I like to think about the relationship of this gigantic building to its surroundings and what can we offer each other,’ she says. ‘This is something I really enjoy doing. It means we can present a broader picture to our tenants, find out what makes them happy and ensure the WTC remains such a great place to work that people will want to stay here.’

Sandra Heijmans CBRE Interview

Sustainability too is another key pillar, she says, and CBRE is pumping plenty of investment into the complex to make it a more durable, environmentally efficient operation. The new Tower Ten development, which replaces the oldest parts of the complex and is set to open next year, has a key role in this. Part of Sandra’s job also involves representing WTC Amsterdam on outside bodies such as the Dutch WTC Association and at a business level in the Zuidas business district. For example, she is involved in the Zuidas mobility task force which is looking at ways to boost the district’s accessibility.

‘We are trying to make Zuidas and WTC Amsterdam an even better place to work,’ she says.  ‘You have all the facilities you could want in the locality, and we are trying to make it even easier to get here, not just with public transport but with our shared cars scheme and with bike parking.’

The past 18 months, of course, meant the normally vibrant WTC complex was a very different place, as people shifted to working from home and offices were left largely empty.
Sandra Heijmans CBRE Interview

‘Coronavirus brought us many new things and challenges,’ says Sandra. ‘The management team has had to get used to working at home, and the idea of the paperless office as well as making sure the WTC is coronavirus proof. They’ve dealt with the social distance stickering, sorted out tenants’ problems and come up with long-term solutions such as the new lift ventilation systems. It was fabulous to see how everyone just got on with it.’

Now, however, offices are opening up again and people are returning to the complex. There is a buzz in the air. ‘It is great seeing people sitting outside in the sunshine, or going out for a coffee again,’ says Sandra. Plenty of events are also on the schedule for the autumn and winter, including the return of the pub quiz and a Christmas fair.

‘We want as much input as possible from our tenants, and that will be central in our community management strategy in the future,’ says Sandra. ‘At the same time, finding a balance between what tenants want – and they have very differing ideas – and what is possible is crucial.’

With one of her own daughters now branching out and studying in Liverpool, Sandra is currently working with the VU University to try and solve the staff shortages faced by some WTC companies. ‘I had to wonder why so many firms were finding it hard to recruit the right people when the VU with 30,000 students is just down the road. Now I’m talking to the dean and trying to come up with ideas. For example, the VU is opening a debating centre. Is that something our tenants could support? And could we perhaps organise a jobs market to match students and employers?’

If you have any suggestions or ideas for inspirational or simply fun activities, you can contact Sandra via the Servicepoint and pass them on. You can also sign up to the newsletter to be kept on top of what is coming up on the WTC’s busy social calendar.

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