Proud of Dean!

In Dean de Jong we found the right, first-class and next-generation personal assistant for our client, Hervormde Stichting Sonneburgh in NL-Rotterdam. As the interview below with Dean so beautifully illustrates. The interview is called “Keep their stories”. Needless to say we are very proud of Dean!

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Hervormde Stichting Sonneburgh in NL-Rotterdam offers a wide range of services in the field of housing, welfare, care and treatment for older people who need it. With its own nursing home, three care homes and two service housing complexes, this professional and enthusiastic service provider serves all elderly care sectors in Rotterdam and surroundings. Every day, more than 450 enthusiastic employees realize their mission “Care with warmth” to tend to their clients in such a way that they can live as normally and pleasantly as possible. This of course with a careful eye for everyone’s personal choices. For its HQ in NL-Rotterdam, Smeenk’s Personal Assistants found their right, intrinsically motivated first-class personal assistant: Dean de Jong. 


“Life is on earth is finite. Since my start as an executive PA at Hervormde Stichting Sonneburgh, I have had to say goodbye to several residents. For example, I visited a resident in the hospital. She told me that just now – at the end of her life – so many stories came up, but she realized she had no time to tell them. To her sorrow, she had lost gramophone records during a move. I asked her what music was on those records. ‘Light classical and operetta’, she replied. I picked up my phone, looked up a number, and held the phone to her ear. The music started. She listened attentively. When Rudolf Schock started singing ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’ her eyes sparkled and tears rolled down her cheeks. Tears also rolled down mine.”

   The Netherlands’ First Female Aviator

“In my childhood, my Grandma Til took me to museums. I think it was in part thanks to this that I developed an interest in history. As a child I also regularly visited my great-grandmother Grandma “Aubeen” (directly translated from Dutch: Grandma ‘hurting leg’, as she had a crooked foot as a result of an operation, that’s why I called her this). Using photo albums, she told stories about Batavia – you know, the capital of the former Dutch East Indies – and about The Hague, about the war, simply, about her life. I became interested in our family history and delved into it. I found out that my great-grandfather had previously been married to Ms Beatrice de Rijk, the Netherlands’ first female aviator. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ask Grandma “Aubeen” anything anymore, she was now deceased. I researched Beatrice and my great-grandfather’s lives, which led to publication.”

   Asking questions

“Diving into a family history mainly raises questions. Questions no one can answer anymore. “We didn’t talk about that before” or “You didn’t ask your parents about something like that,” my grandfather answered. Fortunately, that is different nowadays. I always ask my grandmothers Til and De Jong and grandfather Piet about their experiences. In principle, I can ask them anything. As long as they are still there, I can keep asking them questions and keep listening to their life stories.”

   Genuine interest

“Every person values attention. Let’s listen to each other’s stories and be genuinely interested. And if you have any questions, ask them. If you want to say something, tell us. Thus, the stories will be preserved for years to come.”

“Keep their stories”, Dean de Jong. PA Chairman Executive Board at Hervormde Stichting Sonneburgh, NL-Rotterdam.

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