SECRET OF SUCCESS 2018 - Hungarians who have made it in Holland

Interactive panel discussion and networking

On 21 June we hosted the second edition of SECRET OF SUCCESS in Novotel Amsterdam City. Similarly to last year, there was a lot of positive vibe around the session and we had the pleasure of welcoming over 50 Hungarian professionals in the fully packed meeting room. Together with our five top speakers from the Dutch corporate, academics, entrepreneur and sports life, we explored the ingredients that help Hungarians build a successful career in Holland. The learnings shared during the insightful discussion were inspiring and can definitely help boost our own careers.

The moderator, Mónika Kalina, experienced leadership trainer, guided the discussion - asking questions about the circumstances that brought our speakers to NL, their role models, the challenges they were faced with and the skills that helped them overcome these and become successful.

The first speaker Ákos R. Wetters started his career working at multinationals and travelled over the world. The experiences he gained he is now passing on, coaching start-ups and lecturing about entrepreneurship and innovation. Ákos stressed that you should look at the challenges and failures - the bananas - on your path as valuable learning opportunities. He also urged us to stay curious, and when living in a foreign country, mingle with the locals.

Gábor Kepecs, a leading figure of the insurance sector who was CEO of Aegon Hungary for 20 years and also spent a decade on the global Management Board of Aegon, talked about the openness of the Dutch and the importance of understanding the cultural background of your foreign business partners. He reminded us that business people are also human beings, so we should show personal interest and listen to them carefully. As a good piece of advice, Gábor encouraged young professionals to look for a mentor who can guide and support them with their next steps.

Representing sports in the panel were Ádám Maklári and György Szeles. Ádám, a top player in Dutch water-polo club De Zijl, started swimming when he was 3, played in the Hungarian junior national team and strengthened leading teams in many European countries. He looked up to players in the Hungarian national team and dreamt of becoming an Olympic champion. Ádám referred to hard work and perseverance as key to reaching the top in sports. He explained that you always have to do your best to make your team win. For him the biggest challenge is when you have to let go of your old dream and find a new path in life. Openness and optimism can help a lot in this situation.

Ádám's good friend Gyuri is a polo payer in GZC Donk but played in many other countries before coming to Holland. To build his life 'after polo', he has started his own swimwear brand (SELES). Similarly to Ádám, Gyuri also considers it important to be able to make a switch if it turns out that you cannot realize your dream. The advice and guidance of experienced people around you is something that can be helpful in defining your new goal. Failure he also sees as a chance to learn.


Another entrepreneur speaker was Ádám Kondor who founded Amaze Escape in NL and Lekker Stroopwafels in Hungary. He came to Holland to work for Shell but was dreaming about his own business. It took some time before he decided to set up the first escape room in NL. Determination and persistence seem to be Ádám's key success ingredients, and of course, a bit of luck. If we dare to make the critical decision, that's the first step in the right direction.


This short film HBN Secret of Success 2018 and the pictures in the below photo gallery capture the sphere of the evening.

Check out the short bios of our top speakers.



Arrival and welcome with coffee/tea and bites


Opening words by Dirk Beljaarts Honorary Counsul of Hungary and CEO of Novotel Amsterdam, panel speaker of the 2017 event


Cisca Ansem, Chairwoman of HBN introduces the panel speakers


Panel discussion moderated by Mónika Kalina, leadership consultant




End of programme and optional dinner in the hotel restaurant