About Gea


Gea Wijers

(credits: helenevogelaar.com)

supports professional, social and (non-) governmental organizations with research, strategic positioning and communication. My strength is the facilitation of clients in community-based ways of working.

Next to my specialization in issues related to Migration and Development, Social entrepreneurship and Cambodian Affairs, there are many ‘hard skills’ I am happy to use to your advantage.

* Auditing, monitoring and evaluation in multicultural environments (among others: city of Amsterdam, city of Almere – NL, Interpolis, environmental projects in Cambodia)

* Research and analysis (among others: PhD in organizational studies, action research (Cambodia), civil society research (The Philippines) and anthropological research in France and the US).

* Communication, fundraising and networking (among others: BoerCroon strategy and management, STAD public space, Harmony financial services, Community-based Ecotourism society)

[Download my full CV here: CV GDM Wijers 2017]

Background

My career started in financial planning as a Planning and Control operative at the Amsterdam City council.

Pursuing larger interests, as a managing partner at STAD, Office for Urban Consultancy and as a Young Executive project manager at the Boer & Croon Strategy and Management Group I have had the opportunity to develop my skills as a consultant and project manager.

By joining an MBA-based program at Nyenrode University while working at Boer & Croon I was able to study additional business theory as well as develop my skills as an advisor.

Next to this professional career, in 2002 I started to work as a skills and capacity trainer at D66 in among others: debating, presenting and writing.

Later, I was also invited as a temporary member of the D66 board in order to start the party’s knowledge network.

This allowed for valuable experience in the interesting political arena of the D66 organization that was then chaired by Alexander Pechtold.

At this time, also, I was able to focus on my strengths in communication which I extended upon as a managing partner at STAD bv.

As an independent and young office with 11 employees, STAD represented a playground for starting new approaches and new ways of sharing knowledge.

In my role as the coordinator of the Knowledge Network Public Space (Kennisnetwerk Management Openbare Ruimte-KMOR) I learned a lot about sharing information and facilitating communities.

When STAD was sold, in 2005, I decided to give my life a new direction.

Getting more involved in the emergence of civil society and good governance in emergent nations, in 2005 and 2006, I worked at the Community Protected Area Development Office (CPADO) at the Ministry of Environment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This placement as a strategy and management advisor, coordinated by the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO ), provided me with more ‘hands-on’ experience in intercultural communication and offered new perspectives on the ways society impacts on organizations.

Working in a emerging nation has been a life-changing experience.

When I returned to Amsterdam in  2006, I decided to combine the accumulation of my experiences in order, also,  to give back to Cambodia.

Starting out with a ‘new’ MA degree in Political Science, on top of my ‘old’ MSC degree in Organization Science and MA degree in Art History, I was able to lay foundations for the Cambodia Research Group (CRG).

Our NWO funded program (finished in 2015) held six PhDs and four Postdocs. The research projects were conducted in collaboration with the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The PhD trajectory (2009-2013) continued the line of research on the social networks of returnees as political entrepreneurs that I started with my MSc. degrees in the Political Sciences  and Organizational Anthropology.

My research focused on the ways these transnational social networks can be used as resources for remigration.

On the 27th of June 2013, I defended my PhD dissertation at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA).

In this process the ethnographic inspired study of immigrant communities in Long Beach (CA), USA and Lyon, France provided important data.

My approach to communities in society turned out to be very relevant to organizations too.

As I had already been working on some assignments while finishing my PhD, from there it was a small step to start building Wijers Community-based Consulting.