04 December 2018 ... min read Listen

Wenka Booij

I don't necessarily fit in with ‘the picture’, but I feel completely at home in the bank

With a background as a psychologist you would not expect to start your career working in a bank. But a Psychology qualification was exactly what Wenka Booij had when in 2011, after some exotic detours, she opted for ING. And she really enjoys working at the bank.

During her studies in Leiden, Wenka was a member of the Leiden Students’ Diving Association. “’LSD’ was a real melting pot of people sharing a single hobby. It was a fabulous club and I still meet up with friends I made in those days.” After a year studying in Switzerland – as well as Psychology she also studied Business Administration there – and an unexpected job for an NGO in India, she returned to the Netherlands at the end of the 1990s. Completely unexpectedly as far as she was concerned, she started work as a trainee at ABN AMRO. “I really did try, but it turned out not to be right for me, although I did find the commercial and business aspects exciting and challenging.” 10 years at KPN followed, in the days when mobile telephony was becoming available to a wider public. “It was really interesting, but it was time for a change.” Through a friend she got a job at ING. “Right in the middle of the banking crisis I started working in recruitment for the ING International Talent Programme. “How could I explain this?!” was the thought that flashed through my mind, but I considered that it was precisely by attracting a ‘different’ type of person that I could help change the bank from the inside.


Four years ago I switched to my current role in Global Brand Management. I feel completely at home in the bank, maybe precisely because I don’t particularly fit in with ‘the picture’.

I’m lucky to have found (and created) a job where that’s a valuable asset. I get the space to do what I'm good at and to be who I am. That means I can make the best possible contribution. In the meantime, fortunately, more and more people have joined who do not have a ‘standard bank outlook’. That makes us strong. Our department, for example, is a mix of ages, nationalities and talents. We keep each other sharp and work together for the greater good.


It's nice too that a few of us join the ING boat during Gay Pride. I go because I believe you have the right to love who you want and because I’m seeing that value coming under pressure in the Netherlands. I have friends with different orientations. I myself am flexible in love too. And I want people to respect each other's choices, even if it would not be their choice. It is no one's business who you love and who you live with. I think ING’s participation with a boat is a very good statement and one that fits in with us. We celebrate that enthusiastically on the boat and the rest of the year we work very seriously to promote equality.”

About Wenka

Wenka worked for several summers as a volunteer for an organisation in Borneo that collects orangutans and returns them to the wild. 
She likes travelling and (ancient) Rome is her favourite. 
She constantly tries out new sports, such as Wu Shu. She plays golf, badminton and likes bootcamping and diving. 
Wenka won an award for a daring online campaign for ING that was even picked up by the Financial Times http://sanaccent.nl/case/ing-next-generation-banking/. 
She is an avid watcher of TV series: House of Cards, Game of Thrones, You Me Her. “Long live Netflix!” 
She likes Rihanna and Abba and Barbara Streisand. She most enjoys watching SciFi, adventure and fantasy movies.

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