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After 7 Years’ Service, Dutcham Elects new Chair

Interview

New Dutcham chair Katinka Zinnemers and her predecessor, Lóránt Varga.

On February 16, Katinka Zinnemers (managing director at Abacus Medicine A/S) became the new chair of the Netherlands-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (Dutcham), succeeding Lóránt Varga (country manager of CBRE Hungary), who held the post for seven years, in the position. Here, the pair reflect on the past and offer insights into plans for the coming years.

BBJ: How do you evaluate the past seven years as chairman of Dutcham?

Lóránt Varga: As a founding member of Dutcham, it was a privilege to become chairman seven years ago. As a board, we have made the chamber a more professional organization and created one of the most open and approachable meeting places for Dutch and Hungarian businesses. We have shown resilience during the pandemic by organizing many online events for our members. I am also proud that we have strengthened our relationship with the Netherlands Embassy.

BBJ: What activities would you consider as highlights?

LV: I could mention a lot, but a special one was our gala event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dutcham last year: 215 guests attended this culinary event.

BBJ: You have been a member of the Dutcham board since its establishment; where do you see the most progress over the years?

LV: We have created a stronger brand. The relationships between members are much more solid than in the past, and we created an excellent working relationship with the Netherlands Embassy. I would like to say a special thank you to our Ambassador Desirée Bonis and the Deputy Head of Mission Andreou Efstathios for supporting the chamber, the board, and myself in this privileged role.

BBJ: Turning to your successor, what were your main motivations for applying for the chairmanship?

Katinka Zinnemers: Being connected to the chamber for seven years has brought me many good experiences, and, for sure, my ambition is to continue my membership and contributions in the following years. Honestly, I had not been actively striving for the role of chair. But from the moment we heard that Lóránt was planning to step down as chairman, I started to think about making an application. I expect that, as chair, I will be able to meet representatives of companies, authorities, embassies, and many other groups even more than before to share our networks and to learn from each other’s experiences, successes, and challenges. Lóránt is an excellent example to follow. As the new chair, I hope to continue the leadership of a dedicated group of businesspeople who all voluntarily spend their efforts and time on the board and contribute to bringing people together for interesting exchanges.

BBJ: Where do you see the most growth potential of the chamber?

KZ: I would like to share two things regarding this question. Everything the chamber stands for is connected to growth: Growth as a human being, growth of our knowledge, networks, and experiences. At the end of the day, the chamber is only able to work for its members with enough financial support. Dutcham is dependent on membership fees and the sponsorship of member companies. Although we are grateful for the long-lasting support of our members and very kind partners and sponsors, I still see considerable potential here. We will actively try to connect to new members and make them part of our journey to bring business and people together.

BBJ: What is your biggest source of inspiration?

KZ: It always makes me happy to represent something that makes me proud and to enjoy the pride of others, members of Dutcham, or others we meet at events.

Being a Dutch national, working for a successful Danish company, and being chair of Dutcham brings all this together, especially in moments where I can combine my nationality, my work, and my role in Dutcham.

I am looking forward to meeting many inspiring people and continuing to organize inspirational gatherings. We hope to see you at one soon!

Editor’s note: For plenty more news from Budapest’s international chambers of commerce, see our Chamber of Commerce Corner on page 23.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of February 24, 2023.

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