Maria van der Heijden

Co-founder and board member of Women on Wings
Director at MVO Nederland

Maria van der Heijden co-founded Women on Wings in 2007 with Ellen Tacoma. In April 2016, they handed over their management responsibilities to Ronald van het Hof and Shilpa Mittal Singh, and became non-executive members of the Women on Wings board.

Since June 2016, Maria has been the Director at MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands), the Dutch knowledge and network organization for corporate social responsibility.

“As a farmer’s daughter, I feel connected to women in rural areas throughout the world. I have traveled extensively and in 2000 I first visited India. For me there is no country so rich in culture, history and people. Incredible India. A country that fascinates and captivates. Especially rural women have touched my heart. Hardworking women who take care of their children, a piece of land and the cow from early morning till late in the evening. In 2006, while in India, I realized that my knowledge and skills are valuable for rural businesses. So that they can grow and use new opportunities. And create jobs for rural women so that they have their own income. My motivation is that women have the choice and autonomy to realize their dreams.”