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Future Leaders Podcast & YouTube series

If we want to meet the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we have a lot of work to do. How can we be more impactful in our efforts for an inclusive society and a liveable planet? While leadership is certainly not a cure-all for accelerating the impact of the SDGs, progress without new leadership is much less likely.

All interviews are in Dutch. For our English-speaking audience, we made sure that there are English subtitles on YouTube. 

Would you rather listen to the episode? Check it out on the right, or look here for a list of all podcast channels:

YouTube & podcast series met Alexander Medik

In this series, Alexander Medik explores what leadership means within the changing context of humanitarian aid and development cooperation. Alexander talks to leaders about their personal and professional growth and their ideas for the future. What motivates them, what do they dream about, consider necessary, and what not? In the first season, Alexander talks to 10 CEOs about new leadership. From 17 November, a new episode will come online every other week.

“I see more and more room for innovation within development cooperation. Renewal within projects, processes, systems, forms of cooperation. Only the most sustainable renewal starts with yourself. Your inner development goals. Personal leadership. There is too little attention to this at the moment.”- Alexander Medik


  1. Danielle Hirsch – CEO Both Ends
  2. Heske Verburg – CEO Solidaridad Europe
  3. Roeland Monasch – Aflatoun
  4. Kees Zevenbergen – Cordaid
  5. Jannemiek Evelo – Choice for Youth
  6. Bart Romijn – Partos
  7. Mark Vermeulen – Aidsfonds
  8. Elles van Ark – CNV Internationaal
  9. Mirjam Blaak – Defence for Children
  10. Rick van der Woud – Mensen met een Missie

Aflevering 1: Danielle Hirsch – CEO Both Ends

Danielle Hirsch is CEO of Both Ends. She talks about what leadership means within development cooperation. What motivates her, and what are her ideas for the future?

Aflevering 2: Heske Verburg – Solidaridad Europe

Heske Verburg, CEO of Solidaridad Europe, discusses leadership in development cooperation. She talks about her sense of justice and how she shapes it in her work at Solidaridad.

Aflevering 3: Roeland Monasch – Aflatoun

Even development organisations can sometimes struggle. With an innovative approach, Aflatoun themselves are now surpassing their own dreams. What steps did Aflatoun take when they were in dire straits? And what lessons did Aflatoun CEO Roeland Monasch learn from this for the future of the development sector? You can hear it here!

Aflevering 4: Kees Zevenbergen – Cordaid

Kees literally grew up with development work. Consequently, he wanted to go into development work at an early age. The dreams he had, he was undoubtedly able to realise. But what does he still dream about now?

This fascinating and thought-provoking talk that takes you along the dusty roads of Africa looks to the future via Cordaid’s rich history and gives a clear picture of the challenges we are currently facing.

Aflevering 5: Jannemiek Evelo – Choice for Youth

In this episode, Jannemiek Evelo, CEO of Choice, talks about the challenges she experiences as a young director of a youth organisation. And how do you involve young people in your work? How do you reflect your activist and feminist core values in your policy-making? And how do you critically examine yourself as an organisation? All these questions (and more!) Jannemiek and Alexander discuss.

Aflevering 6: Bart Romijn – Partos

Episode 6 focuses on an exceptional director: Bart Romijn, director of Partos. Bart gives an intimate insight into his passion for development cooperation. But the conversation is also about the challenges within the sector, integrity in the workplace, the 3 pillars of development cooperation and the importance of innovation and collaboration. Not for nothing is Partos’ slogan: Together Works!

Aflevering 7: Mark Vermeulen – Aidsfonds

Ideally, Mark Vermeulen, director of Aids Fund, would like to quit his job. But until then, he is delving into servant leadership and international developments around healthcare, human rights and exclusion. In this podcast, Mark explains what Aidsfonds does in the Netherlands and internationally. But also how to shape leadership and implement it throughout the organisation. So listen to this exciting and personal podcast!

Aflevering 8: Elles van Ark – CNV Internationaal

The ideal leader does not exist, but if you want something, show guts, try it trust yourself. That is why Elles van Ark stays close to herself as a leader of CNV International. Elles assumes that everyone should and can behave as a leader. That’s why leadership in your work is encouraged at CNV Internationaal.

Besides leadership, the conversation is also about work and private life. CNV Internationaal helps trade unions around the world to be heard. In some countries, trade union leaders are unsure of their lives. What can we from the Netherlands do about that? Elles also talks about how she ended up at CNV Internationaal and the importance of Scouting and working together within the sector.

Aflevering 9: Mirjam Blaak – Defence for Children

In this interview, Mirjam Blaak, CEO of Defence for Children, talks about her leadership style. As a leader, she likes to involve her colleagues in decisions and uses the whole team’s brainpower. In addition, she is actually the leader of two different organisations: Defence for Children and ECPAT. In the Netherlands, these have merged, but globally they are separate organisations. So this episode is packed with children’s rights.

Besides leadership, the conversation is also about work and private life. How did her upbringing and church influence her choices now? And who inspired her? And what does she see as the most important competence for the future?

Aflevering 10: Rick van der Woud – Mensen met een Missie

Religion is the binding agent. Where governments fail and conflicts are the order of the day, there is still religion that can ensure people still talk to each other because talking helps, always!

On this Good Friday, we publish the (for now) last interview for Future Leaders. How nice it is to conclude this series with Rick Van Der Woud, director of People with a Mission. So in this extended conversation, it’s about faith. But also about listening, taking time and giving time. About curiosity, polarisation and leadership styles. And how leadership arises, can develop and how to support people in it.