Trust your gut!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Frauke Wessel is no stranger to change and picking up new skills along the way. She has a diverse background – from a stewardess to working in a hospital, to procurement and IT manager at various high-level companies.

For the past six years, she has been the Director of ICT and Procurement at AVR. AVR is a company that focusses on change. “We constantly innovate to find better ways for the waste and energy challenges in the Netherlands.” And simply put: “We try to make something useful out of stuff that other people throw away.”


Originally from Germany, Wessel travelled the world and did odd jobs until she was 29. “I studied a bit of law, a bit of history in French, but I never finished. I worked as a stewardess before I came to the Netherlands. While I was working at the airline, I made the transition into their procurement department. I studied business administration. And from there on I did all kinds of jobs.” 

One thing is very clear, Wessel has immense experience in various sectors. 

“I think the common theme through all my roles are, is that I look at business processes and try to make things better. So, if you give me a big pile of spaghetti where everything is complex and difficult, I untangle it. I put everything in simpler processes for people to understand it and to find the solution.”

But there is still a gender gap in senior roles, she admits. “There are still stereotypes. That is why initiatives like RightBrains are so important.”

She says the tech industry is growing, and more women should be part of it. “If half of the population is women, don’t you think that they should also be part of digital solutions and product development? Women bring a unique touch to the industry.”

Greatest lesson

“Trust your gut…and ask questions.” For Wessel, this is the most important lesson to young women starting a career in digital technology. “If you are sitting in a meeting and you don’t understand something, ask. I’m never afraid to say, ‘I don’t understand’. And if you think things can be done simpler, speak up! Follow your gut feeling and don’t be intimidated. Women bring common sense to the industry.” 

Her advice is simple; never give up. “If you believe in something and if you trust your judgement, don’t give up. And sometimes, you will have a moment where you just want to throw everything out of the window and run away. But don’t. Go home and have a nice glass of wine, even cry. But then you pull yourself together and keep following your path.”

Wessel is a long-time supporter of the RightBrains initiative and a true ambassador for women and gender diversity in the digital technology field. Meet her and others on the RightBrains platform.