He was born in Zimbabwe but he has now lived as long outside as inside his mother country. Doesn't he miss his family? "Yes, of course", he says, even though it was his parents who supported him on his adventure.
"If you really want to achieve something, you must not stop at the border, of course. What's more, it's good for my mental abilities." The impossibility of his journey gives him the capacity to go further. "I learn, grow and come closer to the ideal me on every stage of the journey."
If you really want to achieve something, you must not stop at the border.
The Power of Impossibility
Ultimately, it's his personal story, and involves the impossibility of achieving what he dreamt of in his motherland, Zimbabwe—to work with top talents on products that make the world a better place.
How do you find the way to success as a Zimbabwean on the other side of the equator? It seems an obvious impossibility. Or at least it was until his parents came up with a simple solution: they completed their educational support by giving Tinashe a one-way ticket to the real world, and he went to Europe. It was a leap into the unknown for the 18-year-old Zimbabwean to dare to study in foreign lands in the western world.
My Ticket to Success
Tinashe Ndoro took up the challenge and used his ticket to Europe to study here. As expected, it was very different to the outskirts of Harare, where he grew up and went to school. He first went to Bremen (Germany) and took a three-year course which earned him a bachelor's degree in biochemical engineering. He completed his master's degree in chemical engineering in Indiana (the United States). After working for more than a year in the USA, he began a PhD study in Darmstadt (Germany).
He came into contact with DSM through his professor. "If I really wanted to achieve something in material research, I had to be there!" He was glad to join DSM Ahead Materials Sciences Center (MSC) as a postdoc researcher. Since 2013, he has been part of the Molecular Separations & Applied Thermodynamics team within DSM ACES (Advanced Chemical Engineering Solutions). ACES is DSM's global knowledge center for process and product technology. It's a place that swarms with excellent researchers from all over the world.
The Mecca of Materials
In mid-2014, Tinashe continued his career at SABIC, also at Brightlands Chemelot Campus. He is now a materials research scientist in the Polymers group of SABIC's Technology and Innovation. Tinashe opted specifically to continue with research, but not in the academic world. The business drive in companies such as DSM and SABIC offers much more variety; there is a pleasant pressure to achieve results, meet deadlines, and the research is exciting and yearns for application.
Don't keep everything for yourself
Tinashe thinks that Brightlands is a good place for anyone who dares to dream of doing world-class research in a place where there are many avenues for networking with various industries and research institutes. There's also a high level of entrepreneurship in the Netherlands.
The attitude in Dutch companies that improvement and development are constantly expected of employees is also attractive. It keeps people on their toes.
Sharing knowledge goes on 24/7 on Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen inside and outside the office. "Give back to others and don't keep everything for yourself." There are plenty of opportunities to do that at Brightlands.
Greatness of the Dutch way
Tinashe is particularly impressed with the Netherland's boldness and reach. “It's a small country but it has an enormous impact on the world. The great number Dutch multinational companies are proof of that. On the personal level, however, they welcome expatriates such as myself.
“At first I didn't know what to think about the Netherlands and the Dutch, until someone took me to see one of the polders—the vast tracts of land reclaimed from the sea. I call it functional greatness. I remember standing there, not knowing what to think of this giant dike, controlling the seascape of the IJsselmeer lake on one side and, on the other, the tranquility of green pastures—ten meters below sea level."
He still marvels at it.
Brightlands is an example of modest greatness
"The Dutch are known to be pretty direct socially. I think it’s a response to their long-standing relationship with the water all around them. If a river breaks its banks, nobody bats an eye. The Dutch are experts in fixing such problems and life goes on. They just carry on with their work. The problem is resolved with the 'polder model', like just about every problem in the Netherlands. The polder model—the ability to sort out problems by designating specific committees—is a phenomenon that only the Dutch could have discovered.
Brightlands will take you further, but it will also take the whole world further. It's a small world in which everybody knows everybody else. Here, it's an open culture where you get every opportunity. You can just walk into the managing director's office with ideas or suggestions."
Tinashe made a conscious decision to work at Brightlands. Maastricht is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer, while the countryside is very close. Now, the global village is the norm. He loves sports like cycling, and the area around Maastricht is perfect for that. It offers the best possible balance between work and life, and he has yet to experience that anywhere else.
"I actually follow my talent"
Does he still feel connected to his old roots? "I've spent so much time moving from one place to another on this planet. That's what has become the norm for me. Every turn has a new challenge and fascinations. But, of course, I also feel a strong connection to my homeland which gave me my education base. But, on the other hand, if I hadn't followed this path I would have missed the great opportunities of crossing boundaries in terms of education, nationalities, and cultures as I enjoy in Brightlands. After all, it starts with people and their talents. If you can deploy them well, the biggest things can happen.
As far as I'm concerned, I never stop thinking about my country. And I'll always try to do well - not just for the people in Zimbabwe. Whether I work there or in southern African countries, I will always ensure that I work on products that are useful in other countries."