Meet the new IWCN board

On the occasion of IWCN officially becoming an independent foundation, we are proud to announce the swearing in of our new board:

Chair person:

Soraya Ludema (Provincie Groningen)


José Weitenberg (University of Groningen)


Olof Lakmaker (Blue Umbrella)


Isabel Nagel (Phillips Benelux)

Frans Alting (Samenwerkende Bedrijven Eemsdelta)

Wayne Johnson (NHL Stenden)

Tim Unsworth (NHL Stenden)

Charles Ruffolo (The NetworKing)


The board of IWCN as of 2023

With a mix of international and local roots, links to regional economic initiatives, globally-recognised companies, and the academic institutions across the north, our board members are a reflection of our values and the companies and clients we work for every day.

We asked them to describe, in their own words, what it means to them to be a part of our board. Here’s what they had to say:

Soraya Ludema:

“I’m a firm believer that the northern Netherlands has a lot to offer internationals, and that we very much need this particular group of people to continue to grow and develop as a region. And having so many different nationalities present just makes the northern Netherlands a better place to live. I’ve seen up close just how much added value IWCN has, both in terms of doing business and providing for social needs. I’ve witnessed how they give peace of mind and provide support to businesses and individuals. I hope to provide additional support to IWCN in this regard, and in turn continue contributing to making the northern Netherlands more diverse and international.”

Olof Lakmaker:

“Having worked for many years with the IWCN and internationals living and working in the Netherlands, it is a privilege for me to serve on the board of the IWCN. This provides me with an opportunity to contribute to the development of the international community, specifically in the north of the Netherlands. Working in cooperation with the northern provinces, municipalities, universities, and various governmental bodies is a critical factor in creating an attractive, successful, and mutually beneficial stay for internationals in The Netherlands.”

Frans Alting:

“We’re facing a very tight labour market, and we need the know-how to create our circular economy. It only makes sense that we give international employees a warm welcome, and that’s exactly what IWCN does.”

Charles Ruffolo:

“I’m honored to serve on the Board of IWCN and to energize my global network to help maintain a sustainable future for the Northern part of the Netherlands.  As well as, inspiring the cooperation and confidence of others to clearly focus strategically on accomplishing the mission of IWCN!”

Isabel Nagel:

“I am a board member of IWCN because we want and need to attract talent in Northern Netherlands to further build strong companies. And IWCN plays a key role in a smooth onboarding and settling in of newcomers.”

Wayne Johnson:

“While it is an honour to be a member of the board, it is equally important to be part of an organisation that promotes and develops international cooperation that supports businesses and institutions in the north of the Netherlands. The work the IWCN does and promotes resonates with both my personal and professional mission on internationalisation.”