Diversity improves long-term operational excellence

Interview with Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen, LUMO Labs Scientific and Industry Board member

Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen was one of the judges at the Draper Silicon Summer pitching event. We were captured by her sharp observations, profound expertise and her authentic interest and attention for the teams behind the pitches.

Dagmar has worked at the DNB in various roles and played a pivotal role at Adyen as Director of Regulatory Affairs between 2016 and 2020. We are very happy to welcome her to our Scientific and Industry Advisory Board. In addition, her strong connections with the Amsterdam startup community will increase the opportunities for exchange and synergy between the innovation ecosystems in Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

As a short introduction on our website, we asked her to share what drives her commitment to early-stage startups.

“Diversity is key for operational and cultural excellence.”

Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen: “I believe that operational and cultural excellence in startups are indispensable for sustainable innovation, impact and profitability. I also believe that – simply because it forces us to see more perspectives and be better communicators – diversity is key for operational and cultural excellence.

Diverse teams, in terms of gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation or physical capacities, must work harder in the beginning to understand each other. The upside is that when this extra effort to be more explicit, taking into consideration multiple perspectives and communicating better about what you stand for and want to achieve, becomes a habit and part of your culture, you create a huge competitive advantage. It is also excellent protection against lost opportunities because of miscommunication and tunnel vision.

My involvement with the Advisory Board of LUMO Labs, one of today’s most active and upcoming early-stage investors in the Netherlands, is one of the ways in which I seek to improve this.

For a startup founder, the ability to deliver a cookie cutter pitch (deck) to raise funding may be useful, but to me the most imperative qualities to look for in founders are whether they are fast learners, credible and able to see and seize (new) opportunities where others don’t – especially when they are challenged.

A standout investor proposes these kinds of challenges in their selection process and continues to do so if they invest in the company.
I will support the LUMO Labs partners and team to challenge their portfolio companies to identify milestones, trigger new perspectives and make operational and cultural excellence a priority, including improving and protecting diversity as well as monitoring integrity and compliance.

“Awareness amongst very early-stage startups about ways diversity and integrity makes them stronger.”

Based on my professional experience in governance and regulatory affairs on both sides of the table, I feel safe to say that, in general, up-front awareness of what’s right and what’s wrong makes doing good a lot easier.

I feel very excited my past experiences allow me to dedicate time and effort to raising awareness amongst very early-stage startups about ways diversity and integrity makes them stronger, more viable and subsequently more impactful contributors to a better, brighter future. “

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