Meet Hans Geels, one of Sumthing’s stewards. As an independent director in the Sumthing Foundation, our supervisory board, he wields significant influence through voting rights on critical decisions such as business plans, capital issuance, and remuneration. His role is instrumental in shaping the trajectory of Sumthing's impactful initiatives in nature restoration.
Now, let's delve into Hans's remarkable career, marked by a consistent alignment with his current position. His journey mirrors the ethos of Sumthing — an unwavering commitment to positive impact on nature, society, and business as a force for good.
Can Do Mentality
From an early age, Hans faced the challenges of dyslexia and academic struggles fueled by his fascination with the outside world. He was inspired by a local bicycle repairman with one arm, who proclaimed a typical Dutch Saying, "Kan Niet ligt op het kerkhof" (“Can Not lies in the graveyard”). Given the audacity of our mission at Sumthing, Hans’ resilient spirit and determination to overcome obstacles is a major asset.
After studying Communication, he developed his skills in marketing and communication at the NCRV. Joining the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1993, Hans found himself at the forefront of change. The WNF's shift towards positivity, highlighting nature's beauty rather than focusing on problems mirrored Hans's own philosophy, and lines up perfectly with the optimistic yet realistic perspective of Nature’s Comeback Story. His expertise in building a brand and translating strategy into practical, impactful initiatives provides us with a competitive edge.
The Sum of Things
A transformative moment occurred during a hospital visit, where Hans witnessed the profound positive impact clowns could have on a suffering child. This realization led him to spend twelve fulfilling years at CliniClowns, emphasizing the power of small gestures to make a significant difference. Transitioning to Make-A-Wish, Hans faced internal challenges that demanded unpopular decisions. The experience reinforced the necessity of standing firm when difficult choices are crucial for an organization's transformation.
Business as a force for Good
When Dille & Kamille came in his path, Hans realized that a commercial business holds massive potential for making a positive impact, proving to be faster and more flexible than traditional NGOs. Under the mentorship of Freek Kamerling, the founder, Hans learned how businesses can be a force for good by continuously and ambitiously reducing their negative impacts while pushing hard to make as much positive impact as possible. Freek's legacy lives on as Hans continues to lead Dille & Kamille, showcasing how ideals can be woven into the fabric of everyday business.
Hans Geels, a steward not only in name but in action, lives and breathes the ethos of Sumthing, and continues to be of major importance in our mission to use business as a force for good to restore nature together.