Lars Hooning is a Rotterdam lawyer with extensive specialist experience in governance, management and public affairs. Three things that are inextricably linked, especially if your aim is to achieve results within complex social fields of force. Lars advises to choose a good position, to know your stakeholders, to make a well thought-out plan, to sail a steady course and to establish real communication with your supporters and stakeholders. Lars Hooning worked among others for the Municipal Port of Rotterdam, metal employers FME, the Association of Dutch Metallurgical Industries (VNMI), the Consumers Union and the Dutch Centre for Directors and Commissioners (NCD).
“As a father of two who are in the middle of their school careers, school and subject choices are becoming a recurring topic in our conversations. I always think back to my own school days. I started at an intermediate school – a very small one with excellent teachers – followed by secondary school and high-school. Then came military draft as a sort of gap year. Then came university. In my family, I was the first one to go there for a long time. It helped that my uncle had a pub where most of the staff and customers were students, and as a high-school student I was allowed to come and work there. This was my first introduction to a world that was unknown to me at the time. Looking back, the common thread was that stacking training seemed logical to me. It was a matter of steadily working hard, of staying motivated, of not being put off by something unknown like university and of simply making the most of the opportunity. That is the image I hold up to my children, in the full knowledge that they have to decide for themselves.
Perseverance and going for the result, adapting when necessary and not shying away from the unknown. For me, that is key. At one time, I wanted to be an officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy, but when it turned out that I was bad at science subjects, I changed my mind. My interest in how society is structured, in politics, in how administrative processes run and how people interact within organisations, brought me to Erasmus University to study law. A broad basis and plenty of room for electives. An exciting period and plenty of time for many managerial side activities.
That perseverance and not giving up is also reflected in my favourite sport: rowing. I started off as a rower with the Rotterdam Port Authority team and participated in the Harlingen-Terschelling race – the supreme race – three times, and now I’m an active participant in coastal rowing. A new sport in the Netherlands. Up the North Sea, across the Oosterschelde or cross the IJsselmeer. Wind force 5 to 6, waves of 1 to 2 metres and keep going. That also typifies my mentality and work attitude: don’t give up and if necessary pull an all-nighter, adjust if necessary, the result counts and I am only satisfied if the coach or the client (!) is too. That is what I aim for.”