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RCSA President proudly crosses the finish line after 10 years

Robert van Stokrom, RCSA Board member of 10 years, will step down as President at the AGM on November 24.

But before he finds himself with more time to spend with his family and band mates while racing his BMW car, the proud board director offered some sage advice for the industry body and incoming president.

Robert van Stokrom FRCSA pictured here racing his BMW race car on the weekend

Robert joined RCSA’s board in 2003 and has served as President for the past four years. While Robert is best known in the recruitment sector, many don’t know he spent 23 years working for multi-national pharmaceutical companies before moving into recruitment.

“I enjoyed the complex technical environment of pharmaceutical operations” he said, “From R&D, manufacturing, QA, QC, to distribution, to overseeing the entire supply chain for lifesaving pharmaceuticals, this role was very rewarding” he said. “However, after 23 years, I needed a change to something more people related, recruitment was an obvious choice.”

Robert explained that while he has enjoyed being on the RCSA board and is ‘feeling very satisfied about my contribution and thankful for the opportunity,’ he feels it is time to make way for people with new enthusiasm and ideas.

“I think that we’ve got some great people on the board now who are very talented and capable people,” he said. “It’s time to give this opportunity to people who have different ideas.”

Despite his longevity in the industry, Robert remains as passionate as ever about the work done by the industry and the RCSA. He also remains committed for the need for strong advocacy and acceptance of change.

“I love what we do as an industry,” he said. “It’s a great privilege to be able to ring someone to tell them they were successful and have a job, what a difference we make in their lives.”

Robert acknowledge that sometimes the opposite was also true and that could be tough to manage.

“On the flip side, it’s good to be able to spend the time with people to help them benefit,” he said. “It’s a hugely responsibility too because you are representing an industry, you’re representing a company or representing your own personal brand.

“And if you’re a good recruiter working in a good company, you have to treat the responsibility of giving feedback to someone who has not been successful for a job very seriously. It’s got to be candid, honest and empathetic but also constructive.

“If you don’t do that, you can ruin people’s lives.”

Robert said the greatest achievement he is most proud of during his tenure as president was in encouraging the participation of a new breed of members to join the board and state councils.

“When I joined the board, there wasn’t a big queue of people wanting to join,” he said. “Now we’ve got a line of people that want to join the board. Such is the profile of what we do as being recognised in the industry.”

RCSA outgoing President Robert van Stokrom FRCSA, at this years' Winter Ball in Sydney

Reflecting back on his time as President, Robert said he was also very pleased with the authority and respect the RCSA has developed within the sector.

He also said that there are many successes the RCSA has enjoyed over the years and he is grateful to have been part of them.

“We have a credible industry body that is listened to by politicians and bureaucrats around Australia and in New Zealand,” he said. “Our advocacy through our CEO Charles Cameron is first class.

“We now have the next generation collective, headed by Board member Matt Sampson, this initiative will provide views and knowledge to the board from our younger up and coming industry leaders.

“Our new branding is recognisable and conducive to what we do and how we behave.

“Our accreditation process is gathering momentum and should not only provide a change mechanism for professionalism in the industry, but also change the view and understanding of our industry on both sides of politics.

“We have a brand new committed major partner in Prime Super, with a six year agreement.”

The RCSA board will vote in a new president at its AGM in November.

Ever the diplomat, Robert would not be drawn on who he feels would be the best replacement for him when he leaves. He did, however, offer some sage words of advice for whoever would take on the role next.

“There are quite a few capable people, both women and men, to choose on the board as the next president,” he said. “I would tell the new president to stay relevant, listen carefully and expand your knowledge by knowing what’s going on overseas in Europe and the US because they can be the more progressive markets in staffing and on-hire.

“And don’t let the position of president consume you. Make sure that you can give the CEO and the executive team the width and confidence to be flexible and do what they need to do.”

Robert added that a key challenge for the recruitment sector in coming years would be keeping updated with technological changes “because it’s all about speed to market, efficiency and lower costs, but not at the expense of the client or candidate relationship.”

“As an industry, we need to be much better at this while still employing every piece of technology you can,” he said.

Robert, who has said unequivocally “I’m never going to retire”, serves on a number of other boards and plans to indulge his love of music by seeing more live shows and performing with a band where he is the rhythm guitarist.

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