Sendcloud Stories

Breathing new air in Sendcloud leadership: meet our new leaders

This month we have the pleasure of welcoming new talent to our senior leadership team:

Madelein Smit joins as our Chief Operating Officer, Diana McDermott Borsten as our Global Head of Talent, and Julia Pilkes as our VP of Marketing. We are excited for the fresh perspectives and diversity in thought they will bring to Sendcloud. With their diverse backgrounds, experience, and industry knowledge, we are sure that they will make a positive impact and propel Sendcloud into the future.

The expansion of the management team is in line with the company's growth ambitions and its star player mentality, which aims to create an environment where talent can grow, learn and win.

An introduction to the new leaders

So let’s hear directly from them on who they are, their views on leadership, and what they will be focusing on in the coming year. 

Meet Madelein Smit (COO)

I will be joining Sendcloud as a COO. I am really excited about this as it will give me an end-to-end opportunity to serve our customers and community - including the carriers and the customers of our customers. So far I really like and appreciate everything I have seen about the culture and dedication of people. The international community that works at Sendcloud means we can attract the best talent and it is so stimulating to work with smart and passionate people. I get my satisfaction out of seeing people grow, tackling things that they would have been concerned about a few months ago.

Some fun facts about Madelein:

  • Likes💙

       Reading, singing, travelling, hard problems 

  • Dislikes❌

        Discrimination of any kind, bureaucracy or lack of imagination

Madelein Smit, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Sendcloud
Madelein Smit, Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Meet Julia Pilkes (VP of Marketing)

I couldn’t be more excited to join Sendcloud as the new VP of Marketing. Together with the wider marketing team, our goal is to drive revenue growth for the company by engaging existing and new customers. In order to achieve this, it's essential that we have a deep understanding of our customers, their needs and their requirements. Only by listening to them and incorporating their voice into our overall marketing strategy, we'll be able to achieve our goals as a team. 

The growth we’ve seen in the ecommerce industry over the last couple of years has shaped the buying behaviour of consumers. Increased online competition over price has made us more demanding as consumers.

In order for ecommerce businesses to thrive, they need to think about their consumers who care for convenience and reliability especially when it comes to shipping.

Sendcloud plays into that by providing e-commerce business with a unique selling point: agility. All of this makes me excited to see what the future has in store for Sendcloud and I am very happy to be part of that journey. Better yet; to influence that journey!

Some fun facts about Julia:

  • Likes💙

         Indoor cycling, cooking (& eating), making pictures of food, is a honey-addict, marketing (data!) 

  • Dislikes

         Extremely hot coffee, traffic jams, celebrating her own birthday

Julia Pilkes, VP Marketing at Sendcloud
Julia Pilkes, VP Marketing

Meet Diana McDermott Borsten (Global Head of Talent)

A little about me: Southern Californian, living in Utrecht, devoted cat mom, lover of country line dancing, enthusiastic amateur chef (emphasis on the amateur!), and wife to a very handsome Dutchman. And now I am joining the Sendcloud team to lead the House of Talent! This means I and my team will be responsible for supporting the full employee lifecycle, providing our employees with meaningful connections and impactful experiences throughout their journey with the Sendcloud team.

I have experience in designing scalable talent operations strategies and optimizing People and Talent practices for ambitious and dynamic organizations across a number of industries including high-tech, engineering, marketing, and manufacturing for global organizations, and I look forward to bringing that knowledge into the Sendcloud teams.

  • Likes💙

       Cooking, hiking & camping, 1990s-2010s country music, costume parties

  • Dislikes

         Doing the dishes, spiders, being cold

Diana McDermott Borsten, Global Head of Talent at Sendcloud
Diana McDermott Borsten, Global Head of Talent

Growing and developing as a leader

Skills and experience are added to the Sendcloud squad. Let’s see what we can learn from our new leaders.

Madelein Smit on growth by trying, failing and learning

Apart from reading a lot, I like to step out of my comfort zone periodically - also coupled with support and training. I did a storytelling course recently, which was given by actors and required you to step on the stage and act to some degree of exaggeration. That stretched out your comfort zone again. This is all important, but in the end you only grow when you try things and fail and learn from the mistakes and the feedback that comes with it.

I think the culture in Sendcloud is safe and supportive of giving and receiving uncomfortable feedback from time to time. I have learnt to treat this as a gift - sometimes it may take a little while to land, but when it does we all get better.

Julia Pilkes' 3 key points to develop and grow

In my opinion it all starts with giving yourself time to develop and grow and that’s not that easy in today’s hectic and dynamic landscape. Being able to grow and develop as a leader depends on many factors. The first important callout here is being able to receive and provide constructive feedback, from anyone really.

I’m not going to lie, that’s easier said than done but it has provided me with a lot of valuable insights over the last couple of years. Secondly, make time available to learn new things, both for yourself as well as your team members. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day craziness that we forget to learn new skills or improve our existing knowledge. Finally, and as mentioned before, take the time to listen. 

Diana McDermott Borsten on learning with the Gilmore Girls and Michele Obama

For me, learning is a continuous activity. I learn from the books I read, the movies I watch, the news I read. Some days that might be watching re-run episodes of The Gilmore Girls, or other days it might be reading “Becoming” from Michelle Obama. But most impactful for me is from the mentorship and relationships I have developed over the years.

The value gained from listening and partnering with others is invaluable. I am fortunate to have a trusted group of talented people in my circle to listen and learn from, which continues to shape my own approach as a leader every day.

Focus and goals of 2023

Now it’s time to look into the future. What will be the focus of our new leaders in order to achieve plans and goals?

Madelein Smit on rethinking what we are doing and how we are doing it

We need to build up and strengthen some parts of the business. Obviously I am very new, but customer service and analytics jump to mind. There are strong talents working in these areas and we need to ensure that our customers feel the love too, as well as getting better with predictive capabilities in our analytics.

Of course this all starts and ends with our people, and the easing of the curve after covid is a good time to rethink what we are doing and how we are doing it. 

Julia Pilkes on supporting the growing mission of the company

Professionally, my main goal for the next 12 months is to design and execute on a plan that supports the overall growth ambition of the company. The most important components of that plan are centred around the customer and their requirements, the team and how we collaborate with other teams, the data and making sure we measure the right things/act where needed and the technology to support our way of working. 

Personally, being a new mum, I’m going to try my very best to do an awesome job!

Diana McDermott Borsten on operational effectiveness

To meet our Sendcloud goals, we’ll need to focus on getting the right people in the right roles at the right time. The House of Talent team will focus on meeting our employees’ where they are at, to design and build programs and opportunities to support their growth and to look to the future of what we will need. We’ll focus on skill development, coaching, advisory and consultation to manager and leaders, and organization design.

Operational effectiveness will be a key part of it all in our program and support design this upcoming year and be our indicator to keep us on track for making the most impact on our Sendcloud teams.

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