From standards to snow storms: meet BIAN’s executive director

Globetrotter Hans Tesselaar talks to Amber Stokes about his role at banking standards not-for-profit BIAN, and what he enjoys the most about travelling

Amber Stokes
Amber Stokes
By Amber Stokes on 29 May 2014
From standards to snow storms: meet BIAN’s executive director

This article was first published in the Summer 2014 issue of Finance on Windows

What was your role prior to BIAN and what led you to join the organisation?
My role was director of strategy, innovation and sourcing at ING Insurance in the Netherlands, where I worked with several departments including the architectural and finance department. In 2011, BIAN board members were looking for someone with a thorough background in architecture who could help develop the organisation and speed up its delivery. I was approached by the chairman of the board, and I accepted the opportunity because I love innovation and the opportunity to work with different types of people from all over the world. Looking back, I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

What might your average day involve?
I run the association, which means taking care of legal aspects with our legal aid; setting up introductory sessions for prospective members; preparing meetings with board members, analysts and journalists; and fine-tuning the BIAN strategy. My job involves a lot of travelling. Recently, we had our core team meeting in New York where we met with prospective members to teach them about the organisation. We also met with BIAN members to work on the organisation’s deliverables. I then went to Pittsburgh where I met with Steven Van Wyk, who is BIAN’s chairman of the board and head of technology and operations at the PNC Financial Services Group. We discussed the possible use of BIAN material within different programmes with PNC’s architectural community.

We also recently met with a new academic partner to look at how BIAN can contribute to some of their classes in the Autumn. The best thing about travelling is having the opportunity to meet people from all kinds of cultures. It enriches my perception of how we do things in my culture and how we can benefit from the influences of different cultures and habits.

What has been the most interesting trip so far this year?
I went to Antarctica in March, but for pleasure, not work! My wife and I have always wanted to go there; we love places that aren’t over-populated and where nature is at the heart. It took three nights and two full days to get there on a vessel that has just the basics – a shower, food and drink – and I think 60% of everyone on-board were sea sick! We slept out in the open air (there were tents for emergencies) and had meals back on the vessel because regulations in Antarctica mean that you’re not able to take food and drink ashore. We experienced a few snow storms in the night, but that’s what makes it exciting! We saw a lot of animals including penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions, but not polar bears – they’re only found in the North Pole. We also had the opportunity to go hiking and do photography workshops, and my wife also went mountaineering. It was an incredible experience and we met all kinds of different people from all over the world. 

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what job would you like to have?
I think there are two things actually! I’d like to be a Formula One driver or a professor at Stanford University. I completed a postgraduate course there called Customer-Focused Innovation, so I’d like to teach something like that.

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