Tell us about yourself, Marleen.
Marleen (pronounced ‘Marlane’ – sensitive subject) started her career as a broadcasting journalist in the Netherlands, but was drawn to African adventure and moved to Zambia ten years ago.
For several years, she developed and managed community and conservation volunteer projects in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, before moving into communications and marketing.
During the last five years, she worked in the NGO world, managing fundraising and communications for Greenpop, an environmental social enterprise, where she is still a Director. Marleen is passionate about creating valuable and rewarding experiences for interns.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We are proud of, overall, receiving great feedback. Most rewarding are the students who really take something away from their experience; sometimes it translates into a change of career, sometimes it's an increased focus on nonprofit or social enterprise work, and sometimes it's even the inspiration to stay part of an organization long-term.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Hard to say, as all our programs offer unique experiences and contribute to important causes in their own way, but since my degrees were focused on linguistics and journalism, I would have probably opted for one of the content writing, creative writing, or communication internships at Greenpop or Earthchild Project.
They allow interns to gain practical writing experience while focusing on worthwhile, inspiring topics. The great thing about our internships is that they offer something for everyone - and that we make sure to carefully match the right person with the right organization.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
At Roots, we make sure to offer a unique balance of an educative work experience and an opportunity to contribute to important social and environmental causes on a grassroots level in Africa.
It's incredibly rewarding to see that our interns have valuable experiences that will help them with their careers, and that their work is making a tangible impact on the ground at the same time. We're very proud to be able to facilitate this.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Offering high quality products for the right reason, and with the right passion. I strongly believe in the social enterprise model as being the right way forward.