A lighthearted and serious business!

Who is Marion Welling?

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Well, what didn't I want to be? I wanted to be a dentist, a journalist, a judge or a lawyer. Communications specialist never occurred to me. A degree in communication sciences didn’t really exist at the time. Maybe only as a minor.

What kind of family are you from?

I come from a real entrepreneurial family. My father was an (independent) accountant by profession, but also a great entrepreneur. He was one of the first people in the Netherlands to start an employment agency for temps in the 1960s. My mother was the driving force behind it all. Both my brothers are self-employed as well. Being an entrepreneur runs in our family DNA.

What was your very first job?

I always did a lot of jobs on the side, when at school or studying. Great jobs that got many a bit jealous! My first job was in a fancy gift shop in the Okura hotel in Amsterdam, where I sold wooden shoes to Japanese hotel guests. Later as a student, I was a tour guide for roundtrips on the Amsterdam canals.

Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in the heart of Amsterdam, in a hospital on the Overtoom. I have always lived in or around Amsterdam, and later studied there too. Since the birth of my youngest son we live in 't Gooi. A beautiful area close to Amsterdam with lots of greenery, heathlands and water. Not really a standard environment to grow up in. That's been quite a thing in bringing up our boys...

What did you study?

A long time ago I studied Dutch law at the Free University in Amsterdam and graduated with a master in Law  and a minor in Marketing. After that I did various communication courses. Eventually I even became a part time lecturer in Communications. Years later, at the University of Leiden, I continued Marketing Studies.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am one of those people who never gets bored. There are always too few hours in the day as far as I’m concerned. Private and business stuff does get mixed up as I’m running my own business. But when I’m really having some time off, I play golf (at least I try!!), I go for walks, a newly acquired habit during corona times, pilates, and I enjoy visiting museums and going to the theatre. But what I love the most is writing short stories, about absurd or touching private situations. I even published a tiny book last year “Het is maar net hoe je kijkt” (It’s just the way you look at it”). It was intended as a promotional gift for candidates and clients, a fun alternative to bottles of wine that only end up in the bottle bank anyway. It’s also for sale at the local bookshop and available at libraries!

Which organisations have you worked for over the past 25 years?

After learning all about the consultancy world at renowned communications bureaus Hill + Knowlton Strategies and Winkelman & van Hessen, I became an independent interim professional.
According to my LinkedIn profile I have held 28 different positions at over 20 different organisations. These were permanent jobs, interim positions, but also a number of supplementary assignments. Hence the high number of jobs, amongst which are legal columnist, consultant, communications teacher, (marketing) communications manager and senior communications advisor. Often I was asked to return, such as for Deutsche Bank, KLM and KPMG. For Nuon I completed four different interim assignments. I also worked for Delta Lloyd, Alliander, Exact, Mc Donald's, Vereniging voor Arts & Auto, Dutch Payment Association, Braun, Unilever and Royal FloraHolland.  

Which assignment did you like the most?

A special and fun one-year assignment for Deutsche Bank! Deutsche Bank had signed a 5-year sponsorship deal with Het Concertgebouw. My assignment was to flesh out and implement this partnership in terms of content and communications. Suddenly, as a communications professional, you’re involved in a totally unknown world (which I only knew as a visitor) and you’re expected to shape policy and communications within a short period of time. With everyone really happy at the end, I was really proud to have successfully completely this challenging assignment.

Has much changed in the communications and marketing world?

Yes and no. Yes, the world around us is changing rapidly. Technological developments, digitalisation, new media, they all have a major impact on our profession. This requires a different communications and marketing approach in specialist disciplines, such as reputation management, corporate branding, PR, online marketing and online copywriting.

On the other hand, much of the strategic thinking is still the same, such as analysing a communications problem or customer journey, devising a strategy, mapping stakeholders and drafting content.

Why the move to Welling Search in 2018?

Once again the entrepreneurial blood runs deep. I really felt I could make a difference as an Executive & Interim Searcher+. With my 25 years of experience and training, I master the communications and marketing profession in many areas. Over the years my network grew around me organically and many of the professionals on my database I have worked with personally or I have found to be remarkable. In addition, I have current industry experience at more than 20 different organisations. So it’s a wonderful challenge for me to use my knowledge and skills now to excel as a searcher.

In which industries is Welling Search mainly active?

As a searcher I focus on the industries in which I have worked myself, as an (interim) manager and a (marketing) communications advisor. Because I am intimately acquainted with the corporate culture and fully understand the dynamics, I am able to apply this to finding the right candidate for the right organisation.
The largest 20 organisations I worked for were in sectors such as aviation, communications bureaus, banks, accountancy, insurance, energy suppliers and network managers, ICT, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), retail and international floriculture.


This is what customers say about working with me

"Marion Welling is a professional colleague I’ve known for more than 20 years. From time to time we’d be sparring partners and I always enjoyed her company. But four years ago we found a new connection: Marion as a searcher at her own search agency, Welling Search, and me as an interim professional as part of her network. Marion is uniquely adept at spotting to which organisations my expertise in branding, positioning and innovation is best suited. I’m on my third interim assignment already, currently at Naturalis. Prior assignments for Welling Search were at Carqon (Accell) and RNW Media. On to our next anniversary, Marion!"

Ria van Kempen
Customer journey – CRM marketeer a.i. Naturalis Biodiversity Center

"In my opinion, Marion is far ahead of the competition when it comes to searchers, who often prioritise quick results over the quality of a match. Our briefing was challenging; find two freelance candidates at short notice for two very specific positions for Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. From the start, she was honest about the possibilities and kept us closely updated on the developments. Ultimately, we hired three candidates she put forth, because all three fitted in the team and our objectives. With her humour and flair, she is also a very nice person to work with."

Christiane Anell
Senior CRM Campaign Manager a.i. PVH Corp

“I got to know Marion as a consummate professional who makes a point of getting to know you as a candidate (and as a person) in order to construct a perfect match. Aside from her matchingmaking skills, her ‘after placement service’ feels really good and personal. I especially appreciate her great ability to empathise. I heartily recomment her.”

Peter C.H. van Leeuwen
Manager Marketing & Communicatie a.i. Christelijke Hogeschool Ede (CHE)

“Marion Welling is an excellent searcher. Rarely have I encountered someone who searches so persistently and qualitatively for the right candidate with a top result. In addition, a pleasant and very open discussion partner. I can wholeheartedly recommend Marion."

Wilmar A. Tax
Chief Strategy & Innovation/Partner at HPB (Het PR Bureau)

"I found Marion Welling’s mediation to be very satisfying. During the application process her advice and our conversations were open and honest and I was really aware of her thorough knowledge of the communications profession.
She made sure the entire procedure was handled as well and as quickly as possible, with her attention always focussed on me, the candidate. I took the job and I have to say: it's a very good match!"

Jan Willem van Hofwegen
Senior communications advisor/teamlead RTL

“Marion is conversant with all facets of (Marketing) and Communications and is a great sounding board and coach. With her great sense of humour, she always manages to create really a relaxed atmosphere.”

Loes Romeijnders
Communication advisor Payments Association Netherlands

"In 2008 I got to know Marion as a very strong and capable interim professional. For her to choose this new direction didn’t surprise me. This job suits her perfectly; the combination of her extensive professional knowledge and expertise, her great affinity with people and her genuine interest in them plus her sense of humour all make her a top Searcher. I ended up having a great time at RNW Media, so she was spot on seeing that. Thank you for the super support Marion!"

Laura Minderop
Senior communications officer a.i. RNW Media

"Marion has an enormous amount of experience and people knowledge and she understood that I would feel at home as interim Manager Station Communications at RTL. I really enjoyed my time there and the feeling was mutual. Should Marion have another assignment for me, I would go in blind!"

Birgit Jansen
Manager Station Communications RTL a.i.

"Her expertise and her genuine interest in the person behind the professional make Marion unique as a searcher. Her positive attitude is very inspirational."

Peter Hermsen
Senior communications consultant media relations and external communications International Card Services (ICS)
Marjolein Ruys-Keereweer
Team manager marketing and communication Almere Municipality

"When (recently) Marion was looking for a Senior Communications Consultant for an international cooperative in the floriculture sector, I got onto her radar. That's one of her strong points; perfect timing and a really good network."

Yolande Meurs
Communication manager/senior communication advisor a.i.

"I'm very pleased with our re-acquaintance. When we worked together before, Marion was very committed, involved and direct. An asset for the executive search market, both for clients and professionals!

Sonja de Wild
Project manager communication a.i. Babboe Bakfietsen