There we are, pictured, at yet another wonderful trip. Marijke on the far right, and I a few steps to the left. something cool with motorcycles and sidecars, in phenomenal Cape Town with lots of fun industry colleagues. She is retiring, I learned yesterday. Well ho ho…
MICE Travel magazine was founded in January 2005. I was able to experience it from the start and the first person you call was, also then, Marijke Vink. It was the start of a beautiful collegial friendship that never stopped. When traveling, or from the office, if I faced a small or big challenge for a while as editorial director, Marijke’s issue was always in a preferred position. She always had good advice, a kind word and was helpful at all times.
Over the years I, and I suspect many with me, have come to know Marijke as a worthy ambassador for the Dutch mice industry. Knowledgeable but also creative and interested. No fair was too big or too small for her to stop by. Even when there was no business to be had, she always showed interest and decency to strike up a conversation with everyone. A professional at heart. But I don’t need to talk further about her class as a MICE specialist, which is proven and widely recognized. The uncrowned queen of the ANVR conference but that’s just one success story. It also made perfect sense that in 2011 she was the first person to be named MICE Personality of the Year, and later became a knowledgeable judge to help determine her successors.
But the memories that remain are, of course, as befits our industry, mostly those of traveling. There must have been several, but I was privileged to have been to Shanghai and South Africa with Marijke and other connoisseurs. Then you get to know someone a little better. And so I also saw the more personal side of her, one of those people for whom you wait strategically for a moment so that you could sit next to her at the dinner table. Fun conversations were those. The last time was on her birthday – a real one even because she is from February 29 – at a fine dining table in Cape Town. We’ve got that nicely in the pocket Marijke!
Now Marijke is also reasonably sober, thankfully, and let’s not pretend now that this is end of business or worse. Come on, let me just keep doing it. She remains a representative of GI Travel, and so we continue to see her. She has undoubtedly put her succession in very capable hands, so we should only be glad that her knowledge, expertise and sociability will just stay around at events and hopefully work trips. Retired, though, and well forward, that’s very much to her credit. But I don’t believe that she is going to sit behind the geraniums, she should not do that at all from me. Until the next work trip I guess because we are not ending this in the weird nasty 2020! But that will come… For now, thank you for everything, you were, are and always will be a topper.
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