Interview COMATCH met Joke Pronk Independent Consultant

Why did you become an independent consultant?
When I turned fifty I promised myself that I am going to do things slightly differently. I didn’t want to work 60 hours or more a week anymore but I still had the urge to work interim and   as a consultant while choosing my own rhythm. I can combine my 30 years of experience with my natural curiosity. I always think in terms of new solutions and business models and am very growth-oriented.Being independent lets me set my own agenda and seek my own opportunities and learning curves. I don’t have to focus on one company with one option. On a personal level, this flexibility is important to me as well. My children are in the middle of puberty, that is nothing an au pair should deal with.Is there something you do not like about being independent?
Cold calls and extensive networking are quite exhausting. The good thing about facilitators like COMATCH is that I do not need to ‘sell myself’ any more and, instead, I can shift my networking to more personal contacts and interests. I already did one project for COMATCH, which was pretty interesting. The pressure was cooking, but this is what I like. Your team is fast, personal and efficient – I particularly like my Dutch ambassadors Tjeerd and Eddie.What are you specialised in?
I am specialised in fast-moving consumer products because of the commercial point of view. I like the psychological way of looking at consumers, analysing data and trying to understand the customer’s needs, to seek opportunities and to set up a business roadmap. Over the last ten years I developed a special focus on food and became part of the Supervisory Board of AgroFair – the market leader in importing Fairtrade tropical fruit. We can not consume the planet as we do now in the long term – we have only one. We have to become more careful in what we consume and how. Especially when you have children, you want to leave the earth behind in a state they can build on further.

What are you doing in your free time?
I travel a lot, not only for business but also with my family. We have been to all kinds of places: Laos, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, USA, Thailand and so on. I want to show my children how other cultures can be. I want them to scrutinise their world – money doesn’t come easily.