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Ellen Bloem 

Manager Pro Bono & Community Outreach

"Making mistakes is better than faking perfection."

Give a brief overview of your role at the firm now when you joined and your background before joining.

I work as a Manager, Pro Bono, and Community Outreach in the Amsterdam office. My journey started while I was pursuing my degree in Hotel Management. In my final year, I got an incredible opportunity to intern at a prestigious hotel in London which led me to stay for another three years. London became my home. I immersed myself in the world of luxury hospitality and learned a lot about people management and collaboration. 

After three years, I came back to the Netherlands and continued to work in the hospitality sector. I took on a role as an assistant hotel manager at a family-owned hotel in Amsterdam. I ventured into professional services as a Personal Assistant ('PA') at KPMG, among others. I joined Clifford Chance in Amsterdam in 2014, as a PA and supported the Office Managing Partner ('OMP') and the General Manager ('GM'). After that, I took on the role of Coordinator Pro Bono and Community Outreach activities in 2020 and since then I have learned a lot.

What prompted your interest in Clifford Chance?

The strong reputation of Clifford Chance and its global reach prompted me to join the firm. I was approached by the firm for the position of PA to the OMP and GM. Initially, I was a bit hesitant because of the preconceived notions I had about law firms. Now, I can say that I am tenured at the firm and that my interest in Clifford Chance has continued to grow.

How would you describe the culture and atmosphere at Clifford Chance?

Collaboration, trust, teamwork, and compassion are in Clifford Chance's DNA. The firm focuses a lot on diversity and inclusion. The Amsterdam office feels like a home away from home for me and is renowned for cultivating an open and friendly atmosphere that promotes authenticity and self-expression for all.


What are the key skills you have developed here which have been invaluable to your career?

Networking, communication, and problem solving.

What do you like most about your job?

Working with enthusiastic, smart people and making a positive impact beyond the business realm.

What do you notice and value most about the people?

I value the fact that people within Clifford Chance are consistently ready to help.

What is your key advice for anyone considering a career at Clifford Chance?

Seize every opportunity that is presented to you by the firm. If you want to improve and are willing to learn, don't be afraid to discuss it with your mentor. The firm and its people have the potential to unleash and touch upon every employee's capabilities and provide them with ways to grow.

What's the best piece of advice you've received since joining?

"Making mistakes is better than faking perfection." You learn much more from your mistakes than your victories and that has kept me going. This learning has allowed me to think creatively when a problem comes which in turn saves time and increases my efficiency.

What is the most exciting matter you have worked on recently?

Last year in June, the Amsterdam office joined JINC*'s 'Boss of Tomorrow' - a nationwide event where two primary or one secondary student takes the reins of a company for a day. The idea is to give children growing up in socio-economically disadvantaged areas a taste of different professions. This year was a girls-only edition, and we had a wonderful secondary student run our office for the day and interview several employees on how to empower females in the workplace. JINC is an organisation that strives for a society in which a child's background does not determine a child's future and where every child gets a fair chance.  

What I am most proud of?

I am most proud of working on initiatives that show the true kindness and empathy of the people in the Amsterdam office, such as office-wide fundraisers and community initiatives that have a huge impact on the lives of others.

What motivates you?

The diverse workforce and dynamic work environment are the primary elements that keep me going. It is a global company and I get the opportunity to interact with people belonging to different ethnicities. Working in an international, dynamic work environment and helping others realise their full potential makes it worth it for me.

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