Dux International: Executives who make a difference
Text: Maya Witters | Photos: Dux International
Executive search bureau Dux International started as a recruitment agency for the IT sector, before drastically changing course ten years ago to focus exclusively on executive search for non-profit organisations. Today the company is the Netherlands’ foremost expert on executive and supervisory board positions in the non-profit sector. “We want to inspire people to use their expertise for the greater good.”
Company founder Karin Doeksen started Dux International in London in 1990, where she saw great potential for recruitment in the budding IT sector. “London had plenty of expertise, while mainland Europe had a lot of positions that it struggled to fill. We bridged that gap,” she explains. Later the company started a New York branch, before moving to Doeksen’s native Netherlands.
“I was active in the charity sector myself, and started getting a lot of requests from people who needed executive search support for their organisations. We discovered to our surprise that there were no specific agencies focusing on the non-profit sector. We saw a lot of potential in that market, so we switched our focus completely. Today we work to make the right connections between executives and organisations that aim to fulfil a meaningful role in society. This can range from directors for NGOs to board members for museums or foundations,” Doeksen attests.
Affinity is key
Doeksen notices that increasing amounts of people want to contribute to non-profit initiatives. This evolution can be seen among younger as well as older generations. “We often meet executives who have had a corporate career all their lives, who get to a point where they want to do something different, something meaningful. But often these people are not sure how they can contribute, which organisations are active in the field and how to get involved.”
“We can find the right senior position for them, whether that’s a full-time career switch or a position on a supervisory board alongside their current job. We pride ourselves on the model we have developed for matching, where we really enter into dialogue with executives about their passions, affinities and motivations. In the end, people usually do charitable work because of a specific experience or interest. We dig deep to find what is right for each person and organisation,” explains Doeksen.
This approach is key for a sector that is steadily growing and professionalising. “Non-profit organisations don’t only handle large sums of money, they are often involved in sensitive issues with a major impact. That’s why we see an increased interest in hiring executives who might not have worked for non-profit organisations before, but who bring along a very specific type of expertise from a previous career.”
A good fit for everybody
In order to find the perfect role for everyone, Dux International works with an extensive network of partners in various subsectors. They discern six categories: health and care, which includes foundations for specific illnesses; education, both in the west and in third-world countries; human rights; nature and environment; cultural organisations, including museums; and international development, which tackles Millennium Goal topics like hunger and poverty. The company also executes searches for the social entrepreneurship sector, which includes for-profit organisations with a substantial charitable focus.
While the company is headquartered in the Netherlands, it has worked on a variety of international and multinational projects, and it always casts its net widely. “Our searches are often international, in order to find the perfect person for each position and organisation,” Doeksen explains. The company also advises non-profit organisations on subjects like diversity in their boards of governors, and ensures that selection procedures are fair and objective.
Full-time, part-time or interim
Dux International searches for full-time and part-time executive and board positions, as well as for voluntary positions that executives can take on alongside their career in a potentially completely different sector. A recent evolution is the addition of project-based work and interim management positions.
“This summer, we joined forces with the OnlyHuman Group, who mostly offer interim work and short-term projects. They specialise in recruitment for communication and marketing professionals within the public sector. Our cooperation means that we can offer an even wider array of positions, and that our own team has diversified. It’s a win-win situation that we are very happy about,” attests Doeksen.
Dux International’s aim is ultimately to inspire people to do some good in the world. “Everyone can contribute to civic society in their own way. Each and every one of us has valuable expertise that they can put to good use, and there are plenty of non-profit organisations who need that expertise in order to reach their goals. With our highly professional and motivated team, we will do our utmost to bring these worlds together,” Doeksen concludes.
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