Our company celebrated its tenth anniversary in this crazy Covid year. It has been a wonderful experience: growing a company, employing 120+ people, making a product that 12 million people are using. However, growth also means change. Yoast is not the same company as it was 10 years ago. With 12 million users, you’ll need to grow up, take responsibility, and professionalize. In order to keep a healthy business, we’ve made some changes to our board of directors. Chaya Oosterbroek and Thijs de Valk are new members of the board and new partners of Yoast.

The ‘old’  members of the new board of Yoast

We’re now running Yoast with the five of us. I am still the CEO, Joost de Valk is CPO and Omar Reiss will remain our CTO. So far, no changes in the board. Joost, me and Omar have been working together for a long time now and are planning to keep on doing that for a long time to come.

So very excited about Chaya Oosterbroek

I am so very grateful and happy to have Chaya Oosterbroek as a COO on our team. Chaya started working at Yoast in the summer of 2020 as our manager of Customer Support. As the position of COO came available, Chaya instantly reached out to me and said: ‘Marieke, there’s only one person for the job and that’s me!’. That was such a bold move and I loved that! We started talking and making plans and haven’t stopped since. 

In her life before Yoast, Chaya helped companies to get to sustainable growth. With her experience in both a corporate environment and as a founder of a social enterprise herself, she’s a great addition to our team. 

Really happy with Thijs de Valk

Having Thijs de Valk joining our board of directors is a happy occasion for two reasons. First of all, because he is an excellent conversion specialist. He has been of great value to Yoast because of his understanding of customer journeys and his skills to improve the user experience. 

The second reason why I am so happy is because Thijs de Valk was one of the first employees of Yoast. After a few years working at Yoast, he decided to leave the company and pursue some other dreams. For Thijs, this was the right step in his career, he learned so much in those other companies. However, I always kept missing him. Having him ‘back-where-he-belongs’ makes me extremely happy. 

Bittersweet for Michiel Heijmans

Having a new COO means that we had to say ‘goodbye’ to the person that was in that position previously. That was bittersweet for all of us. 

This September, Michiel Heijmans decided to step down as COO (Chief Operations Officer) of Yoast. This was a joint decision. Michiel’s qualities just did not fit the current ambition, developments, and growth of Yoast anymore.  Michiel, at his own request, is taking some time and space at the moment. As soon as he is up to it, we’ll figure out in what role he would like to continue his Yoast-adventure.  He still is one of the partners of Yoast. And he still is my very dear friend. 

Growing pains suck

The growth of Yoast has been a crazy ride. So much has changed over the years. I am working really hard to professionalize the company and at the same time, to keep our fun and friendly company culture. That’s a full-time job! Growing a company means facing a lot of growing pains. Not all changes are fun, some of the changes even hurt. 

Growing pains are so very important

Although growing pains sometimes hurt, they’re also really important. We cannot run our company in the same way we did 10 years ago. I cannot manage 120+ people all by myself. We have hired colleagues in so many different countries. All these changes ask for other business processes. Our growing pains offer chances to make improvements in all of our processes. And that’s a great thing!

Looking forward to the new era of Yoast

We have done a lot of looking back this year, because of our tenth anniversary. It’s now time to look forward. To see what the future will bring us. At Yoast, we have so many new and exciting ideas to improve our products and our company. With this new board,  I am really looking forward to the second era of Yoast!

Published by Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke is partner at Emilia Capital. She is an investor, an entrepeneur at heart and a marketeer. She has a PhD in social sciences and is the mother of four kids. Next to that, she's a feminist, a ballerina and a diet coke addict.