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My leadership journey: Meet Ralph!

Ralph van Maris is a Customer Success Manager at Nmbrs, a Dutch Visma company that doesn’t actually believe in traditional “managers”. What has he learned about leadership so far?

Ralph van Maris, Nmbrs/Visma

In this mini series of blog articles, you’ll get to know some of our leaders who have graduated from the Visma Management Academy (VMA). Every year, 100 of our top leadership talents take part in the programme.

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Who, what, where:

Ralph van Maris is a Business Development/Customer Success Manager at Nmbrs, a company that joined Visma in 2020. It all started with “a bit of a vague job description on LinkedIn” back in 2015. He saw the job ad, applied, and eight years later he’s still happily working at Nmbrs.

Hi, Ralph! What do you do in your role?

“It’s a bit hard to describe my specific role. Although my title says I’m a manager, the ‘manager’ part is a little odd as we don’t really have any real managers in my company. Currently, my day-to-day role is best described as being responsible for our new commercial strategy. Since I’ve been working here for quite a while, I’m considered a ‘commercial veteran’, and I also work as an adviser for other commercial teams within Nmbrs. My job is quite diverse and a lot of fun!”

Which roles have you had over the years at Nmbrs?

“At first, I was a sales and marketing representative. Together with a small team of 3–4 colleagues, we came up with the whole marketing strategy and created everything from scratch. It was my job to create content for our target markets, and test it in all kinds of ways. Since then, I’ve seen almost all commercial roles, as our company has scaled and conquered new markets and segments.”

Who nominated you for the VMA programme?

“Ever since the beginning, I’ve had a great relationship with our Managing Director, Michiel Chevalier. We’ve had endless discussions about the company’s future, both short term and long term. He was, and is, very enthusiastic about joining the Visma family, and everything that new era has had to offer. So, I think he wanted me to experience the same!”

What were some things you learned about leadership during the VMA?

“First of all, I learned what it means to be a leader. As I’m working for a company that doesn’t believe in traditional managers, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the VMA. But, in the end, it’s not about the title – it’s about what you do and how it’s perceived. The programme taught me that even though I don’t really have a manager title on my LinkedIn profile, I’m considered a leader and someone setting an example of the company I work for.” 

“During the VMA, I got to know an amazing group of talents. During our two live meet ups, it was great to discuss topics with like-minded people, and learn how we’re all actually in the same boat, facing similar challenges. We’re all in it to win it! It was very inspiring. We learned and developed ourselves so much as professionals, in addition to fun activities in between work sessions.”

Ralph van Maris

How has the academy helped you find the right career path?

“By exploring and sharing thoughts with like-minded people, I’ve come to some new realisations on how I can be a better leader. I really want to further develop my leadership skills, and eventually get more responsibility for our whole commercial strategy. Or, perhaps, help other smaller companies in Visma to lift off!”

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