“Employers have the power to also be a leading example in the food transition”

Sanne Smeets
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Sanne Smeets

on April 6, 2022
Join Program marketers Sanne and Willem-Jan smiling

Meet our marketing team: Sanne Smeets and Willem-Jan Persoons. Behind the scenes they’re working hard to help spread the word of Program. We sat down for a chat about their passion for food, sustainability and personal goals.

What's your favourite digital ingredient?

Sanne: “Through social media content you can inspire people, or to get inspired. I know, you need to have a strict filter while scrolling through your endless feeds, and you need to know when to stop because it is so addictive. But once in a while you either post something which is picked up really well, or you read/watch something which really inspires you to take action.”

Willem-Jan: “Tough question! There are so many aspects of online marketing that I love. But I guess my favorite ingredient is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When people use search engines, it’s usually because they have a question or they are looking for a specific product or service. I love the fact that through SEO you can help people, by offering them information or a specific solution.”

Why did you Join Program?

Sanne: “Inspired by The Biggest Little Farm and Sitopia (Carolyn Steel) I recently decided to give my career a boost: I started as a freelancer and I only work for organizations that contribute to the necessary Food Transition. Join Program has the ambition to make sure every employee enjoys healthy, sustainable and plant-based food in their offices. I believe that it’s not only people themselves, the industry nor the government that can change our outdated food ecosystem, employers also have the power to be a leading example.”

WJ: “Because I believe in the mission of Program. Through food, we can have happier, healthier and more sustainable lives. My father is an amateur chef, that’s where my love for food and cooking comes from. Books such as ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer and ‘Becoming Ultra’ by Rich Roll, convinced me of the benefits of a plant-based diet. My goal is to have a positive impact on the planet and people’s lives. Working at Program enables me to do so.”

What education did you follow?

Sanne: “I completed Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and did my internship at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.”

WJ: “Believe it or not, but I actually have a masters’ degree in history. At first glance, it has nothing to do with what I do now, which is online marketing. But at university I learned how to write convincing narratives. And I believe that a key skill for any (online) marketeer is the ability to tell compelling stories.”

What previous employer you like to tell us about?

Sanne: “I worked for some more editions of this festival, learned how much fun hard working in a team actually can be. After that I worked for the VPRO and an advertising agency. My previous employer was D/DOCK, an international interior architecture studio, for which I managed all marketing and communications.”

WJ: “When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work as a content marketeer. But as a young historian, I had to gain more practical experience. So in 2015 I moved from Ghent to Paris, for a SEO internship. Afterwards I came to Amsterdam, to work at TravelBird as a copywriter. More recently I worked as a content marketeer at a tech scale up called Eversports. And a couple of months ago I Joined Program.”

What's your sustainable ambition?

Sanne: “I believe that every little step towards a more sustainable lifestyle is worth wile. As long as we keep moving. Sitting still and waiting for things to change: that’s not how it works. That’s why I’ve set up a Community Supported Agriculture garden in Weesp, we now have 150 households as participants, three professional gardeners who together with us produce a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. The passion our teams put into this project, the joy all participants experience while harvesting the products, the insights our kids get while playing around the garden and the farm, it’s all very worth wile. Education and inspiration are the most important values for Vers aan de Vecht, we aim for more people who want to change the food system.”

WJ: “To live a sustainable life. Not only from an ecological standpoint, but also from a physiological and emotional standpoint. The past year I’ve learned the hard way that emotional health is something you can’t neglect. We always talk about having a good work-life balance. But it’s still something that so many people neglect. We’re more than just our jobs. So that’s why I also have personal goals beside work 😉.”

What is your favourite lunch dish?

Sanne: “A grilled vegetable salad with a slice of sourdough bread and hummus.”

WJ: “I’m a sucker for bagels actually. Back in the days, a pastrami bagel used to be my favorite. But there are so many plant based toppings you can use. It can be as simple as hummus with pickled onions. Trust me, it’s irresistible!”

Do you have any personal goals?

Sanne: “My personal ambition is to eat even more locally produced, organic and seasonal products than I did last year. And cook together with my children even more, because making something together, having fun in our kitchen, brings us so much joy.”

WJ: “To one day qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii! Late 2020 I competed in my first triathlon, here in Amsterdam. I immediately loved it! This year I’m going to race my first Ironman triathlon, which consists of a 3,8 km swim, 180 km of cycling and 42,2 km of running. It’s going to be quite the challenge, but I’m looking forward to the journey.”