Margriet Hooghiemstra is the Strategy Program Director at Covestro (formerly DSM) Additive Manufacturing team, working from the Netherlands.

Before joining the AM team, she worked at McKinsey & Co as a strategy consultant. She is our Women in 3D Printing Guest #284!

Margriet, Could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?

I started my career as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, working across many different industries and on a wide variety of topics.

On my very first engagement, for a large logistics company, 3D printing was introduced as a far-out innovation that one day could rock the logistics industry.

In the second half of my time with McKinsey, I specialized in energy and sustainability, mainly working with industrial and manufacturing players on their journey in the energy transition. Also there, 3D printing was often a promising innovation, but not yet part of their core operating model.

A bit over a year ago I started my role with the DSM Additive Manufacturing team. Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing for manufacturing by providing fit-for-purpose materials.

We recently transitioned to Covestro, where we aim to continue that journey to enable a more sustainable way of producing.

Can you tell us more about your role: Strategy Program Director at Covestro?

The additive manufacturing industry is incredibly dynamic and fragmented: many different technologies and applications exist today, with new ones continuously popping up.

Developing materials, on the other hand, takes time.

My role as Strategy Program Director is to set and keep the direction in that dynamic industry by putting in place the right plans for our organization and making sure we execute those plans.

This means understanding the market and creating a strategic road map based on that, while also helping to push forward some of our larger strategic initiatives.

Examples of the latter are our medical & dental and construction & infrastructure segments, our efforts in digital and sustainability, but also our internal reporting, communications, and quality management.

I need to give the full team a big shout-out here by the way: my background lies in strategy, not in additive manufacturing. So, to make all the plans and strategies I mentioned, I have leaned heavily on the knowledge and experience of my colleagues.

Do you have any (fun or not) stories about the company or your career to share with us?

The passion and enthusiasm of our team, and I must say of the majority of people working in the additive manufacturing industry, is very impressive and contagious!

I started working with the DSM (now Covestro) Additive Manufacturing team beginning of 2020. In my very first week, I met most of the team in person, though went into a full COVID lockdown one week later.

Despite not having been in the same room for over a year now, every single one of my colleagues has been extremely helpful in educating me on the industry and therefore instrumental in creating our strategic plans.

Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing?

I’m privileged to have never experienced any real challenges from being a woman so far in my career.

Our team is quite diverse, on the gender, age, and geography axes. Not having one particular group as real majority helps, in my perception, to diminish or eliminate such challenges.

That is of course my own experience and I hope everyone in our team feels that way.

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

I find personalized medical applications to be the most impactful, mature use of 3D printing today. The way, for example, personalized prosthetics truly improve people’s lives is inspiring.

Going forward, I strongly believe the combination of sustainable materials and the design advantage that 3D printing intrinsically has can have a major impact on the broader manufacturing industry, ultimately moving towards a circular value stream.

What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?

Don’t be modest about your accomplishments! Be open, frank and proud when talking about your career so far.

Don’t downplay any of it, especially during job interviews.

I received this same advice when applying for a job in strategy consulting many years ago, back then a male-dominated industry itself (a lot has changed since then). It helped me a lot along the way.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing?

3D printing companies: actively involve women in the industry in the recruiting process as example cases and in candidate conversations.

Women in 3D printing: actively showcase successful women in the industry, as you are doing!

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

Our business just moved to Covestro, so becoming one team is definitely exciting

Favorite moment in your day job?

After a year of lockdowns, we organized a virtual global team event, which was much more fun and interesting than I would have ever thought possible

What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?

Circular value chains

Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview? 

Yvonne Wang, one of my new colleagues at Covestro who was one of the first people working in their AM team!

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