Jan Dijkema

Week 139 (11 - 17 June 2016)

"I hope to inspire the skating community, helping to innovate and evolve the federation, while never forgetting the solid foundation that has already been laid," said new International Skating Union President Jan Dijkema, elected on 10 June, in his manifesto entitled "Innovation and Inspiration". Dijkema's simple yet effective words were clearly well received by ISU voting members who elected him ahead of Hungarian György Sallak, Frenchman Didier Gailhaguet and Briton Chris Buchanan.

Communication is one of the most important components of effective leadership, having the power to unite a team together and guide them to a shared goal is ultimately what every leader sets out to achieve. Crucial to this is for a leader to inspire their team with their vision and this was evident last week when Dutchman Dijkema addressed his new team - the global skating family.

The 71-year-old, who had previously been ISU Vice-President for speed skating, becomes the third Dutch president of the ISU and takes over from Italian Ottavio Cinquanta who guided the International Federation for 22 years. Dijkema, who plans to serve only a two-year term, promises to focus on marketing, development and good governance during his tenure, and it was his no-nonsense confident approach that convinced voters he was the best man for the job.

"You can't make many changes in two years, but you can make it possible for the long term if you work hard," Dijkema said following his election. "Indeed, there will be maybe some changes compared with my predecessor, but two years is very short. I will do my utmost to make it possible."

Dijkema made special reference to the importance of athletes in the decision-making process but it is important to promote a collective identity and nurture belief in a shared vision among all stakeholders. Indeed, Dijkema is looking to yield the support of everyone from member federations and partners to coaches and fans, and signed off his manifesto: "Together we can shape the future of skating and leave a legacy for the next generation."

Photo: ISU