"A family full of loyal and supportive people."

Eline Koekenberg

Manager Supply Chain

Manager Supply Chain

Whatever the outcome, Eline Koekenberg always makes sure that she and her team have given it their all to try to “make the impossible possible.” Knowing that they’ve done their utmost is most important. “As a manager, I want my team to feel seen, heard and valued. Empowering people is the best way to achieve results.” 

Eline is Manager Supply Chain for Gall & Gall, one of Ahold Delhaize’s family of brands. However, her journey with the parent company started 17 years ago, when she worked as a store associate at Albert Heijn – another Ahold Delhaize brand – in her hometown of Zoetermeer. “When I worked at different locations later on, I found that every Albert Heijn is really like a family, full of loyal, passionate and supportive people. There were many reasons I liked working at Albert Heijn, but the culture was definitely a crucial factor.”  
 
Aside from really enjoying her job, Eline also realized that a key part of it comes very naturally to her: managing people. “At a certain point, I became a team lead. It turned out I could relate to people quite easily, regardless of their age or personality. People find it easy to talk to me and like having me as their manager. Why do I think that is? I guess my leadership style has a lot to do with it. I trust people to do their jobs well and give them the freedom to do so.  I firmly believe that you get the best results by empowering people.”  
 

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Opportunities for growth  

At the age of 28, she was supermarket manager of the Albert Heijn XL store in Rijswijk. This was also the year she celebrated 12.5 years at the company – a typically Dutch milestone that marks the half-way point to 25. “In all the roles I filled over those 12,5 years, there were always so many opportunities to learn and grow. That is very typical of working for the international parent company, Ahold Delhaize, and its brands: if you make your ambitions clear, there is a lot of room for development. The organization places a lot of trust in its people and wants them to grow as much as possible.”  

In her current role as Manager Supply Chain for Gall & Gall, she adopts the same approach with her team of 10. “It’s a great team, featuring both people who have been at the company for over 15 years and those who joined just a few months ago. As a manager, I encourage them to take ownership of their roles. They’re all specialists and extremely good at what they do. Our differences in age and personality make us a very complementary team. Aside from being very focused on our work, there’s also room to unwind. We have regular ‘vrijmibo’s’ – Friday afternoon drinks – and sometimes get together outside of the work space, too.”  

Developing as a leader 

Her journey at Ahold Delhaize has been very insightful. “I have learned so much at this company. Every new role has almost felt like a new job, with new challenges and opportunities. I also found the two talent programs that I took part in extremely valuable. The first one I did, five years ago, was the ‘Success Built to Last (SBL)’ training. The course covered organizational leadership, and focused on how we could better set and maintain boundaries, both at work and at home. Two years later, I took part in the ‘Natural Leap’ program. It taught me how to shape myself further as a leader and challenged me to think more deeply about career steps I wanted to pursue. In addition to those training sessions, Ahold Delhaize also assigned me a coach. I have always been very grateful for the opportunities and ongoing support that this company has offered me.”  

It’s not just Eline who has evolved and grown over the past decade. The company has too. “I saw the growth at Albert Heijn, and I see it again at Gall & Gall. While the maturity of our brands obviously differs, I love seeing this ongoing development. For instance, there’s constant progress in the area of sustainability, which is now a crucial factor throughout our supply chain. Together with Ahold Delhaize, we’re investigating how we can ensure our distribution center operates even more sustainably. Our e-commerce boxes are fully recyclable, we no longer use plastic tape and we’re working very closely with all our partners to determine how we can improve the sustainability of our last-mile delivery. In this regard, it’s really great to be part of a bigger organization like Ahold Delhaize as it means we can be part of sustainable initiatives and pilots with Albert Heijn. We’re dedicated to reaching our goal of 100% emission-free delivery in Dutch cities by 2025.”  

Family first 

That feeling of being part of a family that Eline experienced as a store associate at Albert Heijn has stuck around. “In all honesty, when I left Albert Heijn for Gall & Gall, I thought it wouldn’t have the same warm family feeling, but it does. Here I experience the same passion, loyalty and support. Family is very important to me in my personal life too. My older brother, younger sister and I are very close. Even more so after my mom’s passing in 2017, when we really became the strong, loving trio that we are today. I’m especially close to my sister, Stephanie. She’s my best friend and the world’s most wonderful aunt to my daughters, Tess and Maeve. She lived in Amsterdam for a while, but luckily for me, she recently moved to Rijswijk, which is much closer to where we live.”    

After living in Leiden for a few years during her studies, Eline moved back to Zoetermeer, where she was born and grew up. “That is where I met Sander, my now-husband, who also comes from Zoetermeer. I love it here. We live to a pretty nature reserve. We often visit for an after-dinner walk with the whole family, and I recently started jogging there too. I still need to get into the swing of things, but I aim to run 5km in a few weeks. Wish me luck!” 

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Name: Eline Koekenberg (1990) 

 

Started working at Ahold Delhaize: August 2012 (as a trainee); as a store associate in 2005  

 

Studied: MA Public Administration (Leiden University, 2012)  

 

Living with: My husband, Sander, and our two daughters, Tess (4) and Maeve (1) 

 

Hobbies: Traveling to different cities, doing bootcamp and spending quality time with my family 

 

Wake me up in the middle of the night for: A nice city trip  

 

Favorite holiday destination: Northern Portugal 

 

Life-changing event: The birth of my daughters, Tess and Maeve  

 

Biggest source of inspiration: My mother

 

Best advice I’ve ever received: “Take action if it’s within your control” 

 

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