Wondering what it’s like to work as a consultant at CFP? We spoke to Pien, who joined CFP after her studies. In no time, she developed into a sustainability consultant for BREEAM, WELL, green bonds and circularity. What is her biggest challenge and what makes CFP unique according to Pien? Read it in this article.
After studying Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship & Sustainability in Berlin, Pien discovered CFP on LinkedIn. She was triggered by CFP’s sustainable ambitions and decided to apply. ‘The work as a sustainability consultant appealed to me immediately and in the first interviews I realised straight away that I would be able to develop myself successfully at CFP. Moreover, it was very pleasant to speak to several team members. This gave me a good idea of the job and CFP as a company.’
At first, the 25-year-old from Utrecht was mainly involved with building scans, as well as BREEAM and WELL certifications. After a while, green bonds were also included in her work, such as Argenta’s first green bond issue.
At CFP, we work a lot with self-managing teams and that involves far more than just a fancy term. Pien considers it one of the unique aspects of her job: ‘You immediately sense the fact that you are given a lot of responsibility and get to decide for yourself how to approach things. That means you can shape things according to your own preferences, from which you can learn a great deal. I also find that this enables me to do really interesting things, like managing big projects. This self-managed way of working must suit you and that is what you see in many colleagues. CFP staff have it in them to handle this freedom and responsibility well and can achieve the best results precisely because of this.’
Pien also emphasises the variety in her work as a huge advantage. ‘I have the opportunity to develop in various areas. My work as a consultant means that no two days are the same and I actually enjoy all the work I do.’
Personal development is key
A lot has changed in Pien’s two years at CFP. Whereas she initially contributed to BREEAM and WELL projects, she is now a project manager. Pien realises that as a 25-year-old, she has really matured quite a lot: ‘I think this is partly because of the support I have had from CFP. For instance, I was often invited to accompany colleagues to interviews, which helps you learn new interview techniques. The 10-year plan and personal targets set by each CFP employee also encourage this.’ CFP believes that company growth will automatically result from focusing on the growth of each employee personally.
‘Constantly looking for improvement opportunities and innovations to help customers is a challenge. For example, in the building industry there is no single way of doing things, but the circular economy is really still evolving here. That means we are always thinking together about the best way to implement sustainability initiatives.’
In addition, Pien stresses that you also need to be able to cope with work pressure, as consultants often work in sprints. This can be challenging and intense, but also energising. Busy periods towards the end of a project often alternate with quieter weeks. ‘It’s a matter of planning, setting realistic deadlines and going full steam ahead together when necessary. And that’s what makes it enjoyable.’
When you have a lot on your plate, your work-life balance can suffer. How does Pien strike a proper balance? ‘For me, it helps a lot to make sure I don’t encounter work-related things in my free time. For example, I deliberately put my work phone and laptop well out of reach after work, which prevents me from seeing an e-mail coming in or being tempted to take a quick look at my work phone.’
To monitor this balance, you also need to allocate your time effectively. Work as a consultant is not simply a standard 9 to 5 job. ‘If you want to serve a client well, that occasionally means working longer days just before the completion of a project. As colleagues, we deliberately encourage each other in the following week to take it easy and rebalance. It is therefore important to plan well individually, but we also help each other to maintain a healthy balance.’
“I really enjoy being able to support clients in the Netherlands and abroad in their sustainability process.”– Pien ter Beek, CFP Green Buildings
‘For me, that’s really the combination of consultancy and tools. Because of the numerous certifications we do, we obtain many detailed insights from buildings around the world. This experience comes in very handy when building our online tools, which therefore have a high degree of reliability. The combination of personal consultancy and large-scale deployable tools ensures that CFP offers something unique.’
Are you interested in working for CFP Green Buildings? We are on the lookout for new talent. For example, how would you spend your day as a sustainability account manager? Check out our vacancies and find out if there is something for you.