5 questions with... Liesje Schreinemacher

Written by The Parliament Magazine on 10 December 2019 in Opinion

Liesje Schreinemacher (NL, RE) is a member of Parliament’s INTA and JURI committees.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

1. Which person you have worked with has most inspired you in your career, and how?

The person who has most inspired me in my career is Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. I worked as her political assistant and advisor for approximately six years. We started working together in the Dutch Parliament and when, after three years, she became Minister of Defence I got the opportunity to join her there as well. What made our (work) relationship particularly special was that I worked with her from the moment she was fairly unknown until she became one of the most well-known politicians of our party and our country. During this time, she didn’t change at all but remained that kind, persistent and approachable woman she had always been.

2. How would you describe your political/leadership style in three words?

Approachable, inclusive, enthusiastic: I want people to feel that they can come to me when they have a problem, when they don’t feel heard or if they simply think that some policies need improving.

3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?

When I was working as a political assistant and advisor, I finished a complete second Bachelors and Masters in Law in four years. I won’t lie; it took some mental and physical effort to study during the evenings and on the weekends together with a job that was anything but 9-to-5. It required a lot of “no’s” to my friends when they were having parties and dinners. But I succeeded and I still have all my friends and I am proud of that.

4. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career

After working as a political assistant and political advisor to our Minister of Defence for a few years, I decided that – even though it has brought me a lot – it was time to pursue a career on my own and not being in someone else’s shadow. When I finished my law degree, I started working as a lawyer in a private law firm which mostly represented the Dutch State in their court cases. I had to start at the bottom. After having sat at the table with figures such as our Prime Minister or Commander in Chief, it was a somewhat humbling but also meaningful experience.

5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?

I’m going to change the rules and talk about my favourite movie, Big Fish, as I want to encourage as many people as possible to see this incredible movie. It switches between a seemingly fantasy world and reality and tells the story of a man who encounters people coming from many different walks of life. None of them are ‘ordinary’ people in the traditional sense of the word or lead ordinary lives. What I take away from this movie is that people who are living their own truth in their own colourful and perhaps peculiar way, are the ones that colour our world and our lives.

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