Women in BPM: Interview with Sylvia Groenbos, ING Bank

Women in BPM gives women a voice. Learn about their journeys, get insights into their own success stories – challenges.

Josèphe Blondaut Josèphe Blondaut

Our goal with the Women in BPM series is to give women a voice. We want to learn about their journeys and get insights into their very own success stories – challenges and all. 

In the latest of our series I spoke with Sylvia Groenbos, a global administrator at ING Bank in the Netherlands.

Here are the highlights:

Q. How did you end up in BPM? And why are you so passionate about ARIS?

SG: I never pictured myself in IT. My career began at a Dutch brewing company – first in HR, then exports. After eight years, I found my real passion: BPM, and then ARIS. Because I’m so passionate about ARIS, I am the Vice President of the ARIS International User Groups!

Q. What do you do at ING and what are your biggest achievements there? What drives you?

SG: When I started at ING in 2018, I was a functional application expert. After a couple of months, I was thrown into the deep end to be part of the development program for our structural solution for GDPR in ARIS Connect. We really did well as a team to get that structural solution working, it was quite an achievement. In this job I’m like the link between the business, the data support officers and the ARIS support squad; making both worlds meet IT and business needs.

Q. Isn’t that exactly the reason why women are so good at BPM, because they’re always connecting the dots somewhere?

SG: Yes, understanding and reading people – that’s what qualifies women to be so good at BPM. I mean it’s generalizing, but women are good at having empathy and reading between the lines and then translating that into kind of a language for BPM.

Q. Because you’re dealing with many people, you have to be clear about the process and the topic and why they need process management right?

SG: Yes, and not everybody is really process minded. So sometimes it’s also difficult to explain what a process is and I have to explain that everything you do is a process – even in day-to-day life. Us getting up in the morning is a process.

Q. I would like to jump on your language studies. Everyone is talking about how we need more women in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. You took a different route and it still worked out.

SG: Yes, a lot of companies ask for a Bachelor of Science. And I was thinking, why? Why science? I was very good at mathematics, but I was really lousy at other parts of the science, things like physics and chemistry. But the mathematics combined with languages helped me to read people, to learn what they want and then make some logic out of it. I think it’s kind of a combination of both of alpha and beta subjects.

Q. Do you feel you are accepted as a woman in the banking or in the IT industry?

SG: Yes, especially when I look at how people turn to me with questions, whether it’s male or female.

Q. What do you like most about your job?

SG: What I really like is that I’m in a position to make other people happy, help them improve and get better at what they do. Especially in the international part of it; I’ve always liked to see the differences between cultures, to see the things that we have in common. Using your network. I’m so glad that we have the IUG in person again to be able to actually talk to people.

Q. What do you see as challenges for female leaders?

SG: They’re not always taken seriously. And women always tend to feel like they have to be aggressive to be allowed to be heard.

Q. How do you balance work with life?

SG: You really have to pay attention to it. You have to get some distance and try to work out a balance. But it’s not always easy.

Q. Why do you think the world needs more women in BPM?

SG: Diversity and inclusion; I think it doesn’t matter if you are a man, woman, nonbinary, it’s about the person and the qualities they represent.

Sylvia, you are right. I should rename this series as Diversity in BPM!

Watch the interview here: