5 pointed questions to: Leonne van de Ven
At De Wolven we touch people with stories that make a positive contribution. We make sure that the audience is moved and that a message really makes an impact. That means stories that hit home, for people, organizations and brands. And preferably for the world as well. We believe that every step forward, big or small, deserves to be reflected upon. And that is exactly what we are curious about in this new column: which stories touch us, and why? To whom would you like to ask a pointed question? And how do we try to touch others in a positive way? The first 5 funny questions we ask Leonne van de Ven, founder of De Wolven.
Which person has touched you the most recently?
“If I look at our clients it is Dr. Monique Leijgraaf, who has been a lecturer at the lectureship of Equal Opportunities at IPABO University of Applied Sciences since this year. As a PR and communication agency, we are in direct contact with national and regional media, so we can shake things up that way. Then it really leads to something meaningful in the media: attention for an important topic, such as in this case equality of opportunity in education. To me that is proof that it does make sense to denounce things in a positive way.
On a personal level, my mother has touched me recently. She has been visually impaired since birth and has always worn glasses. There are techniques to improve eyesight, but she never did. Until her driver’s license had to be renewed this year. She then decided to undergo the operation anyway. Fortunately, that went well and she can now just see so much more without glasses! The great thing is that at no time has she said “Why didn’t I do this sooner? She lives in the now and is happy with the fact that she can now see more. I find that very inspiring. She doesn’t look back and I admire that about her.”
Who would you like to ask a pointed question and what would you ask?
“To chef Anthony Bourdain. I was totally shocked when he had committed suicide in 2018. You could see through his series Parts Unknown when he was or wasn’t doing well. I would like to ask him though why he chose to end his life. I find him inspiring because of his gift for seeing food culture as a unifying factor in society, a way to learn to accept each other. Food plays an important role in building understanding of the other. It is also often the first thing we embrace from another culture. That’s what appealed to me from his series. He could point out cultural differences and similarities with a kind of bad boy bravado using food. The starting point was always food. I think cooking should also play a more important role in our society, it brings people together.”
What are The Wolves’ intersections with sustainability and other social issues?
“PR can be a business of hot air. We can make things more beautiful than they are. I want to contribute precisely in our field to something sustainable, anything. Getting people moving, initiating a change or bringing an unknown topic to the fore. These can be large social and sustainable issues, but also smaller things, for example a music album by an artist that would otherwise go unnoticed. We can really contribute something with our knowledge and expertise. In this way we ensure that stories become visible. Humor is also part of it, there must be laughter. That makes people better too.”
How do you personally try to touch others in a positive way?
“I actually always try to keep talking, stay in conversation to move others with that. And I also try to do something selfless sometimes: run errands for my neighbors or help take the cat to the vet clinic. I like to make people happy. Then I look at what the need is and think of how we can come up with something good for it.”
What do you think is a racy action in your field?
“I think the pilot of Zeeman where they are going to take second-hand clothes and sell them in their stores is a very good action. Textiles are a valuable raw material and we should do something with them. I think it is very strong that companies like Zeeman, who have access to a large group of people, share knowledge about their own industry and their ecological footprint in a very accessible way. The same goes for the Kipster eggs from Lidl. Kipster insisted on selling eggs to a supermarket where a lot of people go who may not be very concerned with where their food comes from.
I believe that change starts as a raking action at the top and then slowly trickles down. A large group never consciously changes. Because companies like Zeeman and Lidl initiate a change, they reach the masses. Their marketing in doing so is clever, of course, but they do address themes that are very relevant and topical, from a genuine motivation to change something.”