Women in Poultry: Madelon Bolderman

Learn more about Madelon Bolderman Team Lead Sales Benelux, UK, and Ireland in EW Nutrition
calendar icon 7 December 2023
clock icon 5 minute read

Madelon Bolderman has a Master’s degree in Animal Science from Wageningen University and has worked in leading global companies such as Nutreco, FrieslandCampina, GD Animal Health and Elanco. She is Team Lead Sales Benelux, UK, and Ireland in EW Nutrition, putting her expertise to work in the service of her customers.

Describe a typical day in your current role?

In the early morning, after walking my dog, I usually spend around one hour answering emails, responding to customer requests and questions. Then I start calling customers and scheduling meetings. The rest of the day is spent either visiting customers or on various administrative tasks, internal meetings, and catching up with scientific and industry news.

What’s unique about your role?

I love that my role is so varied and diverse. I’m in contact with very different people, from different cultures, with different backgrounds, dealing with different market needs. I also talk with people in wildly varied roles: sometimes a managing director, sometimes to a farmer, sometimes to a professor. I love that in my job!

What are the main challenges that you face in your role?

I work in two very different market profiles. UK and Ireland are a business development area for me and a very integrated market. I have met a lot of people from the UK/IR Poultry industry during the last year or two and am starting to understand their needs. In my home market, it’s a non-integrated market which I am more familiar with – completely the opposite, which also makes it fun. However, in both markets it is all about the customers’ needs and having the solutions that bring the highest value to the customer and to their customers.

What does the future of poultry health look like in terms of preventing and treating disease?

I strongly believe the industry will lean more and more into natural preventative solutions. That’s what the market and consumers ask from us. We as an industry have to make sure we are ahead of the curve and prepared to answer that need. And, connected to that, sustainability is critical. It’s great to be in an industry where change can take place rapidly – mostly because we have real entrepreneurs in this industry. When the cycle is six weeks, when you can test and iterate so quickly, change can happen very fast.

Are there individuals or organizations in poultry who you’ve found particularly inspirational?

Quite a few. The first one that comes to mind is Thijs Hendrix, the founder of Hendrix Genetics. He brought me into contact with this industry for the very first time. Also Naomi de Bruijn and Teun Fabri from GD Animal Health – I was lucky to work with these people with incredible in-depth knowledge of poultry health and practice. I was and still am very inspired by them. When I think about what I’ve learned working with these people, this is what still makes me tick!

I had the chance to work with a lot of vets, people from the feed industry, lots of farmers – I’ve learned so much from all of them. Both as customers and partners.

Also Ajay Awati and Twan van Gerwe, from EW Nutrition, I knew before I joined EW Nutrition and are two of the people who convinced me of the value of this organization. It’s value that comes from technical expertise, from a community of minds, but also from corporate focus. This is a family-owned company that is an part of an entire universe, an entire family of agribusinesses. This makes us different from companies that are owned by private investors, for instance: we are really dedicated to this industry and this industry alone.

Have you encountered any challenges as a woman in your field? If yes, how have you overcome them?

In the poultry industry, at this time and in my area, I don’t think this is a real challenge anymore. If this ever happens, I think you need to step up and prove yourself. It helps if you have a lot of practical experience. It’s not enough to give theoretical ideas; it helps if you can get your hands dirty.

What outstanding challenge facing the poultry industry would you most like to solve?

I’d love to bring to market a good solution for Enterococcus cecorum. This would bring down antibiotic usage and reduce hard labor and frustration for the farmers. Subclinical enteritidis would also be on my list.

Another big challenge in the industry is to convince consumers that we are really doing a good job. We’ve already brought down antibiotic use tremendously, at least in our region. There is a lot of progress and I’m really proud of these achievements. I also do it in my day-to-day work and life, trying to convince people that we should be proud of the products produced in our region. Be proud of our industry and be proud of our farmers.

What’s the most exciting innovation that you see on the horizon for the poultry industry?

As I said, there is already a lot of innovation in this industry. Things are moving very fast. Genetics, in-ovo vaccinations, early feeding, smart farming, new protein sources, natural solutions for Eimeria and subclinical enteritis are going to make a dent in the shape of the industry.

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years regarding the poultry industry?

I’m excited about the way our industry adapts to the challenges we face these days. I hope we as an industry are able to contribute to change the perception of the consumers and find a way to close the gap between ‘us and them’. The world population grows rapidly and producing safe meat and eggs is incredibly important to feed everyone. The innovative character of the poultry industry will definitely help to show how valuable our products are.

What’s your next challenge?

It’s great fun to be working with winning products but it’s even better to be the one growing new products into market winners. Ventar D is already shaping to be one of the most successful solutions for us in the poultry industry and that’s my challenge right now: making sure we deliver on this promise for the industry.

Laurence Williams

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