Marina van Damme is a woman with ambition and passion in science and technology, who started her career in a period when this was not usual for women. She graduated from Delft Technical University in 1953 as a chemical technologist and in 1965 was the first female engineer to graduate from the University of Twente. At the time, it was by no means common sense for women to graduate in engineering, and certainly not to complete their PhD in this area.
After graduation, Marina has had an impressive career. She started at the TNO Central Laboratory in Delft, changed jobs after five years to the Royal Dutch Salt Industry, KNZ (now merged to Akzo Nobel), first as a research assistant, later as head of the laboratory and as Deputy Director of KNZ . During the last position she obtained her PhD at the University of Twente.
By that time she wanted to do be engaged in something else. She decided to end her research period and wanted to explore the field of business development. Marina wouldn't be Marina if she didn't pick up on this again. She soon held a number of positions before being appointed director of Chemical Strategy Akzo in 1977. In this position she advised the Board of Directors on strategic and operational plans and on investment projects and acquisitions. She was appointed to the Supervisory Board of TNO and ABN AMRO, became a member of the entrepreneurial organization VNO and a member of study groups dealing with technology policy in Brussels and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Marina had a great career, creating opportunities in a period when it was not common that women acquired a place in science and technology. To make this more sustainable, she likes to contribute to the opportunities and successful careers of other female graduates. Marina wants to give other women the opportunity to take an extra step outside her own university for further deepening or internationalization in order to give a "boost" to their career development.