Get to know… Corrine Compeer

Corrine Compeer

She is probably the most well-known figure in the Hurgronje Family Fund. She is also the only one who does not share a blood tie with the family, although by now she is very familiar to us. Who is this woman we all know by name? What drives her?

A conversation with Corrine, secretary of the fund:

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
Last April 13, I turned 60! I was born and raised in Middelburg and have been living in Koudekerke with my husband Frank for almost 30 years now. We have 2 sons aged 22 and 26 who have more or less moved out. They both live in Tilburg.

The youngest lives in a dorm room without a washing machine so he comes home for a weekend every two weeks and then I do all his laundry in one day. The eldest has had a girlfriend for a year now and has been coming home less often since then, but they both still like to come home. When they are here, we do fun things together. They even go on holidays with us.

Ramon, the youngest, is studying business economics. He’s taking it easy and if he doesn’t graduate this year it will be next year. He is very active outside his studies and enjoys life.

Sander, the eldest, is a music teacher. He has had a passion for the guitar since he was ten. After secondary school, he did the preliminary training for the conservatory in Tilburg, but that was a bit too much focused on jazz whereas Sander is a real rock lover. Wanting to instil the love of music in others too, he ended up going to the Academy for Music Education in Tilburg. Sander is also a performing musician and has been the regular guitarist of the tribute band “The Doors in Concert” since 2020. With that, he performs nationally and internationally and his proud parents can regularly be found in the audience!

Since when have you been secretary of the FFH?
October 1, 2018. So I have just completed my first lustrum ?

How did that come about?
It worked out a bit weird. I worked full-time for 10 years after graduation, until Sander was born. That’s when I chose to stop working (for pay) and focus entirely on the children. But once Ramon was in secondary school, I wanted to go back to gainful employment.

I have always done a lot of voluntary work, and pretty much always as a secretary. That suits me. For example, for the church buildings committee. There I had a good rapport with the chairman, who knew the accountant of the Family Fund. And he had heard that there was a vacancy for a secretary. So I wrote a letter and was invited for an interview. There was one other candidate.

Pretty soon, I was informed that I had not been chosen because the other candidate had bookkeeping knowledge and experience, which I did not have. So it was understandable that she was chosen.

I then started training to work at the unemployment office. But when I finished that training, my father became ill and I chose to take care of him until he passed away. That was in 2016.

In 2018, I received an email from Titia, referring to the job interview two years earlier. The secretary of the Family Fund had now moved to The Hague, and so the fund was again looking for a secretary. Was I still interested?

This seemed more fun than working at the unemployment office. Another interview followed and we came to an agreement. I started with 10 hours a week, but that soon turned out to be not enough. Since then, I have been working 20 hours a week, averaged over the year. There are periods when I work more hours (closing the financial year in September/October and organising the family meeting in December/January), and periods when it is quieter. I received a crash course in bookkeeping from Arie van der Kruk, Titia’s husband, and fortunately I can still turn to him for bookkeeping help at the opening and closing of the year.

You are very dedicated to your work. What motivates you?
I enjoy making people happy, it helps me grow personally. I am usually the bearer of good news and that is wonderful. I am less good at delivering bad news, but I do my best to articulate and explain that as well as I can.

What memorable moments (fun or not so fun) have stayed with you from your time within FFH so far?
Tricky question… The first family meeting I attended was very exciting for me. I had no idea what to expect, but I had to organise it.

Corona is memorable. After 2 live meetings, it now had to be via zoom. The family meeting is a contractual meeting, so it MUST take place and that was admittedly stressful. I had to find a suitable venue while everything was closed. Eventually, I found a venue that was willing to host the board. But lunch was a problem. We agreed that it was left waiting in the corridor where we then had to go and get it ourselves. The following year, until the day before the meeting, it was not clear whether the meeting would be able to take place live. That was a madhouse.
It all worked out in the end, and those are highlights in my FFH career.

Other than that, a lot of little things… Certain applications, good memories. That motivates me tremendously.

How do you see the future of the FFH?
In terms of administration, it is becoming more and more digital. The binders with papers are going to disappear. The Administrators (and the secretary) used to meet physically very regularly. That is now only three times a year, with the rest going by e-mail.

Other than that, I think it will just continue as it is now. More and more charity organisations are finding their way to the fund, partly thanks to the website.

What did you do before coming to work for the FFH? What is your education?
After secondary school, I studied law at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I then worked as a legal assistant at the water board in Goes and at the (then) municipality of Veere.

What are your hobbies/interests?
Doing things together with family or friends. We live in a beautiful area here and I really like cycling and walking. At the end of the (working) day, I love to cross the high dunes to Vlissingen. A short trip to the sea is very important to me. I also like to read, and I love to cook, alone or with my husband.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Sleeping in, having a nice breakfast together. And then going outside, getting active. With my husband, with the family, or with friends. Frank and I also both like to work in the garden, so when it’s just the two of us, it can be very simple. Happiness is found in very small things.

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