27 June 2023

Xanne Zellenrath

Six questions for Sandra Maas

Sandra Maas joined Hague as Managing Director since April 2023. Maas not only manages the agency but also advises our clients on impact communications and public affairs. Who is Sandra and what does she bring to Hague? Xanne asked her six questions. 

What is your first impression of the team?

Powerful individuals with broad social interests, a good dose of humor, outspoken, involved and committed. This is also in line with the job we do. In fact, you can be a good consultant only if you are open to what motivates and concerns others, and understand where the problems lie. It really strikes me that there are so many individuals with a deep interest in media and politics around here. The prevalence of colleagues with strong attachment and engagement towards current events in the media, politics, and society also makes them very enjoyable people to have a conversation with. That curiosity leads to not only new discussions but also listening with interest.

You come from IKEA and in your spare time, you give furniture a new life. Is that a coincidence?

My father is passionate about crafting and DIY projects, my mother is also incredibly handy. Throughout my life, I’ve seen them working together to repair and improve objects. That is why I think it relaxes me to sand, choose colors and refurbish furniture. I like the idea of making something new while preserving the essence of the old. Although my hobby is independent of IKEA, I have learned to blend the past with the present through my experience there. IKEA remains my passion because the company is dedicated to bringing meaning and making the world a better place. Part of that commitment involves incorporating the good features of the past into the present. I find that same philosophy in furniture flipping as well.

How do you see “corporate affairs”?

In the world of corporate affairs, we deal with major global social transitions on a daily basis. If as a company you are not well-grounded in society, you cannot exert influence or make a valuable contribution to it. Being embedded in society means being diverse and inclusive. If companies fail to take into account their local,national, and international surroundings, they will face challenges in the future. It’s as simple as that. I call that business karma. When you commit to our planet, this planet gives back. At Hague, I find the power of inclusion. It’s a unique work environment where experienced, and young, up-and-coming talent come together. That creates a special dynamic.

You've had your own agency and worked for major companies. Why did you choose Hague?

I sought entrepreneurship and the opportunity to be more entrepreneurial, enabling me to make a quicker impact by being more responsive. Additionally, I am a political scientist with experience in various management positions in public affairs and communication. When Peter and Vincent came my way, I was very curious, and curiosity happens to be one of Hague’s core values. I firmly believe in what Hague does. My goal is to help companies address their role in society as it ultimately helps them attract more customers, talent, and generate increased profits. Having a constructive role in society also means having more influence. I think people overcomplicate the wordimpact. We want to influence and drive the transitions of our time because it is better for everyone. If you do nothing, you have no good story and no good future.. That’s the way it is. in the end: it is just “karma”. The era when you could make a profit in complete isolation is really over. In this sometimes complex playing field, I want to make my contribution. And I believe we should be positive, constructive and optimistic in this respect.

Who is your dream client?

I am very interested in impact investment because I think that impact investors, in collaboration with governments, are the catalysts of the great transitions of our time. Hague can assist in positioning, exerting influence and attracting investors. The capital available is abundant. The question is, where are those who really want to make a difference and how do you engage with them? We see that we are reaching the limits of our planet. If we want to ensure that companies rely on enough natural resources in the future, we need to embrace a circular approach, which requires long-term investments.

A final comment?

A good conversation can solve so much. Whether it is about friendship, a good business contact, or a meeting with stakeholders. A good conversation is not just about sharing information but also involves genuine curiosity in each other and the ability to put yourself in each other’s shoes. Ultimately, that is also the basis of good public affairs.

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27 June 2023

Xanne Zellenrath

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