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The expat top-10 aims the spotlight on the internationals that help Eindhoven progress. E52 sat down with each winning expat to talk about their experiences and perspectives on the city they once came to, and never got away from. Today: Camilla van den Boom.

Name: Camilla van den Boom
Age: 44
Profession: Strategy director Sturrm, lecturer at TU/e and TIAS
Living in Eindhoven since: 1998
Camilla van den Boom studied in Göteborg, Brighton and Lüneburg. She speaks English, German, Swedish and Dutch. Van den Boom is an expert on strategy development and business model design. Van den Boom is lecturer at Eindhoven University of Technology and TIAS Business School in Tilburg. She is a frequent keynote speaker and with her company Sturrm, she helps large international organisations like Philips and Dorel to shape their future.

‘I came here because of love’
“That’s almost twenty years ago. I met my husband Steven in Stockholm. At that time, I was flying across the globe for Accenture. Now I’ve had my own business for years.”

‘I was raised in an entrepreneurial family, Eindhoven reminds me of home’
“My dad is an entrepreneur, just like my brother and me. I was raised with room and space for own initiative. Space to do things, to experiment and to grow. I also come from the country of Pippi Longstocking. Everyone stands in the line, waiting. Pippi isn’t, she walks beside the line. She doesn’t play along with “the way things are just because they are”, she isn’t always searching for consensus. That’s not in my system either. Since primary school, I’ve chosen my own path. I’m curious minded, and at school there was not always time and space for that. I therefore did spend some time in the hallway, as punishment.”

“The Swedes are real craftsmen, they make beautiful things. With respect to the manufacturing industry, this region is very similar to Sweden. When I first arrived in Eindhoven, I was really impressed by the city and its people. Very entrepreneurial. People here have a progressive mindset, they show initiative and are always looking for improvement. And the nice thing about Eindhoven is the approachability. Everyone can join in, everyone is welcome.”

‘If you want to move forward, you have to setup experiments’
“As an advisor, I enter the strategy process of many companies. Companies are always trying to achieve growth. Together with them, I look at who they are, what they are good at and who they know. It is a kind of strategic puzzle that must be solved to help the company grow. You try to find the real strengths of the company, and that’s where you start building. Don’t waste your time on the average, always look for the strongest capabilities. My philosophy is that you have to collect different talents around you and from there search for the answers to your questions. Set up experiments to get the right insights. That’s what you can learn from. Eindhoven also has this spirit, that’s why I feel at home here.”

‘The solutions to the problems of the future are not just in one person’s head’
“This is a thing that Eindhoven understands very well. The Eindhoven ecosystem is directed towards doing things together and combining forces to become even better. That’s really important, certainly in this time and age. The world around us is changing rapidly, it is happening now. Everything becomes integrated. Technology, knowledge and skills. This requires a different way of thinking and acting.”

“The word future is really interesting. It suggests something far away. It’s like you can sit in your chair and it comes naturally. But that’s not how it works. The future happens now. By acting right now you create the future.”

‘It’s all about combining different forces and ideas’
“I’m living here for quite a while now, I’m quite settled here. I travel back to Sweden a lot though, my roots are in Sweden. It is a privilege to be able to think, live and work in an international environment, with different perspectives.”

“I have never had that much trouble adapting to new environments. In England and Germany, I tried as much as possible to join in with the locals. I watched how they did things and just went along. That adaptability still comes in handy. Also in Eindhoven. The city offers great opportunities, also for expats, to collaborate and to help shape our future. By combining different forces and ideas, Eindhoven moves forward. It’s really true that the future happens here.”

Sunday, E52 will feature an interview with another expat from the list. Read all the articles in the series on Expats in Eindhoven here