Nicolette Opdam, HVG Law
Nicolette has three degrees in Law, speaks five languages, has been in the financial services industry for 25 years and she is still learning new things every day.
Her beginnings were different to those of the majority. Nicolette stepped into HVG Law (EY Law) as an Associate Partner with the task of setting up the pension law practice, that was at the time non-existing within the Netherlands. “That made it easier I think. Because there was no existing pathway, I could build the practice from scratch together with my team.” In the meantime, as if that was not enough, she prepared for her Attorney exam and raised her two young kids. When I ask her about the support received by the firm, her words are only positive: “the partner group was very flexible”. Here, she got the chance to learn and take on different responsibilities, roles, new opportunities and lead bigger groups. Her open mind and her willingness to learn is what took Nicolette where she is now, and what lead the success in not only building the pension and regulatory law practice but also in projects for clients. She tells me about a big strategic assignment, she is noticeable proud of: “There were people from all departments: those who do financial investigation, people that are very good in tooling, people from the legal practice… and they were all working together. It was a new type of project, very crucial and stressful for the client. There was a lot of data to be analyzed and risks to be eliminated. It was a period with a lot of pressure, but I got to learn a lot.”
Looking forward, she would like to help others develop and prepare the company for the fast-changing environment it is in now. Looking backwards, she’d tell her younger self: “Stay yourself, and don’t adjust too much. We really need diversity, so trust yourself and just be who you are.”