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New CEO of Triple A, Kirsten de Vries: “You find your comfort zone by stepping out of your comfort zone.”

Kirsten de Vries is the newly appointed Managing Partner at Redmore boutique Triple A – Risk Finance. She succeeds Roel van Besouw, one of the founding fathers of the Amsterdam-based consultancy firm specializing in risk management and actuarial science. She takes us through her career at Triple A and her vision for Triple A’s future.

What is your story at Triple A?
I was approached by Hen Veerman 17 years ago to join Triple A. I was already active in consultancy and was willing to take the leap to work for a newly established company. I have never regretted it. I have always experienced Triple A as an organization with a true entrepreneurial culture. If you have a good idea, it’s taken seriously. We operate as partners. There’s little hierarchy, which fosters an open culture. This contributes to people staying with us for a long time, regardless of the challenging assignments they undertake.

After my years as a consultant, I moved up to the management team of the Insurance Business Line ten years ago. My focus initially was on the life practice, serving clients within the life insurance market. Then I became a partner and also took responsibility for the HR portfolio within Triple A’s management.

Why do you enjoy working for Triple A?
First and foremost, the open culture and the great colleagues are reasons why I love working at Triple A. You can always approach someone for a chat or to ask for help. We’re always open to helping each other. Additionally, I’ve always appreciated being able to combine substantive work with management tasks. That’s one of the things that distinguishes Triple A within Redmore; every consultant is also at the client, including the partners. This keeps you informed about the business and maintains your network.

What opportunities do you see as the newly appointed CEO for Triple A?
Since our inception, we have grown rapidly within the insurance and pension market. In recent years, we have also ventured into the banking sector. I see further opportunities for expansion there. For our risk management and pension activities, the Future of Pensions Act will be the biggest challenge in the coming years. Therefore, we will assist our clients in various ways with the implementation of the new pension system in the coming years.

Our Actuarial Technology business line is also crucial and truly unique in the market. With this team, we support organizations in actuarial technical matters. We are a consultancy firm with specific actuarial expertise that also understands technology and models. With our actuarial perspective, we offer a unique vision, for example, on future arrangements for the Future of Pensions Act, the implications of integration, transition plans, as well as in terms of modeling, data, and communication.

We have also just started an office in Germany. We would like to establish that team. We are already in Poland, Spain, and Belgium, and with this step, we aim to gain a foothold in the German market. This helps strengthen our position as a serious actuarial and risk management consultancy in Europe.

What kind of CEO will you be?
Colleagues and clients will get what they always got. A professional who enjoys collaborating to help a client. I like to bring projects to a successful conclusion, and I like to do it together. Coincidentally, that’s one of Triple A’s core values: doing it together. Triple A is not a one-person company.

Working well together and taking responsibility are essential. The rest will follow naturally. And as long as the company is healthy, everything is fine, but ultimately, I am the one who has to be accountable to Redmore and House of HR.

Moreover, it is crucial to continue advancing, training, and inspiring our consultants, and I am happy to work on that.

Is it a coincidence that the new CEO of Triple A comes from within the company?
I don’t think so. One advantage is that I know the working methods and culture like no other, which allows us to maintain continuity.

Are there already things you know you want to change?
I think we are sometimes too modest. We could celebrate successes more exuberantly, for example. When we have completed a great project or when we have just landed a fantastic new project. On the other hand, that’s also the charm of Triple A, just being modest. We’re not a company where people get too big for their boots. We do things together, and that’s very important, also for the future.

What is the most memorable moment for you in all those years at Triple A?
On the professional side, there are several projects that I look back on with great pride. For example, projects related to clients’ IPOs. The dynamics of collaborating with various departments and teams and the involvement of different stakeholders are things that stick with you.

On a personal level, it’s the Triple A ski trips. You see a lot of colleagues, also from abroad. It really illustrates the camaraderie within Triple A. Everyone can join in (skiing, après-ski, hiking, etc.), but if you don’t feel like it, that’s okay too.

Applicants who visit our office often mention how they notice how well we get along with each other. Seniors and younger, relatively inexperienced colleagues have a good connection. Memorable moments are formed by the culture within our organization, in my opinion.

How will you, as CEO, maintain that culture?
That’s a good question. When you continuously grow, inevitably something changes. Also in your culture. In recent years, we’ve seen a net growth of 10 to 15 consultants per year in the Netherlands. And we’re not done growing yet, including in banking and abroad. But we have to continue working to maintain our culture, and we do.

What I find important is that everyone at Triple A feels free to be themselves. More diversity, and harnessing that strength. That’s something I want to focus on in the coming period. Furthermore, challenging and enjoyable assignments are crucial. Of course, there are times when consultants find their assignments slightly less enjoyable. It’s up to us to notice that and do something about it in time. Satisfied consultants often mean satisfied clients in the end.

Speaking of clients, what does Triple A do to go the extra mile?
I think we are good at thinking outside the box. Going that extra mile, thinking slightly more creatively than a standard solution, but maintaining quality. We enjoy brainstorming with the client about possibilities, and that’s appreciated.

What advice do you have for the Kirsten at the beginning of her career?
Try out many things. Eventually, you’ll figure out what you’re good at and what you enjoy. That’s how you slowly discover the direction where you feel most comfortable and what suits you best. To find your comfort zone, you often have to step out of it first.