Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Arend Boersema – Poetry at the Heart of Business

February 02, 2022 Marie Gervais Season 5 Episode 3
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Arend Boersema – Poetry at the Heart of Business
Show Notes

Bio for Arend Boersema

Arend Boersema is a human resources and organizational development (HR/OD) leader, writer and certified coach. He has Bachelor’s degrees in both social work and teaching, a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development, and is PHR/SHRM-CP certified.

Episode highlight

Arend Boersema has had a diverse cultural experience that helps him understand people and cultures from a unique lens. Listen in on how he combines his academic training with his real-life understanding of people in his career as an HR professional.






“People have different perspectives… What you see on face value, there’s so much richness behind that.” 

“Your mindset, in my opinion, is way more impactful to that experience than the actual setting… than the actual environment.”


Childhood Incidents

Moving around a lot with his missionary parents, Arend learned to embrace change as a child, and now looks to find ways to be excited about change. As a teenager, the discomfort in moving from the Netherlands to Belgium forced him to understand what constitutes his identity and to recreate it. 

Influential Groups 

Arend has two older siblings and two younger ones adopted from Haiti, which made him learn empathy and value the stories behind people’s actions. Religion was the center of his missionary family, and he learned to explore the similarity in the values of different religions.

He considers being an HR/OD leader as a big part of his identity. 

Temperament and Personality Influences

Arend claims to have always been a passionate person, but has learned to tame that passion now, from being vehement about opinions to being deeply interested in new people and perspectives. 

He used to identify as a social justice warrior and felt overwhelmed at the responsibility of changing the world, but now recognizes the impact of simply his presence in the movements. 

He also thought he needed to speak up if he feels strongly about something, but now finds other ways to express it.

Cultural Epiphanies

When Arend went to study in Ireland, he interacted with the Irish students as well as many international students, learning about how different the cultures were. 

Advice to an Employer 

Arend appreciates honesty in conversations and disagreements about a topic. 

More Great Insights! 

Grab a copy of Arend’s book, Poetry at the heart of business: Spoken word poetry exploring the concept of company culture & belonging, available on Amazon in all countries. You can also visit his website,, for more great insights! 

Support the show