Jermain on great communication, being raised by same-sex parents, and work ethics

Jermain Smits joined Strypes in late 2016 when he was approached by his Operation Manager Ad van Dongen and our Sales and Marketing Director Eric Damhuis. There was an opportunity for him to become the Account Manager for ASML. At the time, the role wasn’t clearly defined and this gave him the freedom to shape it.

But his journey in our family of companies began earlier than that. He started his career in ICT in 2011 with an internship. After graduating the same year, he continued his career at ICT who assigned him to ASML.

Jermain admits that the number one skill that makes him successful in his role is communication.

“The skill to truly listen to others, to understand what goes on in their mind and what is troubling them. If you know that, it becomes much easier to help others. That’s true if we want to solve the problems of our customers, it’s as much true when collaborating with your colleagues.”

He views himself as an optimist who is responsible for growing the business of our ASML account. He sees opportunities in the problems that cross his path and feels motivated to collaborate with others to find solutions that will help our customer.

“I’ve got two coaches at Strypes/ICT who helped me a lot in developing these skills and mindset. My regular routines with Eric and other colleagues have been very helpful too. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve also followed several online events and courses that helped me develop on a personal level, including my communication skills.”


A curious fact about Jermain is that he was raised by same-sex parents and is open about sharing his experience. Born by a surrogate mother, Jermain has always known the truth. His father and his partner let him stay in touch with his biological mother. “Whenever I talk about my parents, I refer to my father and his partner. They raised me. Everything I know and who I have become, I owe it to them.” He shared that his fathers insisted that Jermain knew who his mother was. This taught him the value of honesty and care for others.

“For me, it’s perfectly normal to have two mothers or two fathers. This didn’t influence my sexuality. I am the perfect example. I have a gay father and a gay mother and I am 100% straight.”

What is your biggest professional challenge at the moment?

There are a few interesting challenges I’m working on at the moment, like positioning Nearsurance in combination with SAFe or investigating how we can improve our service offering towards ASML by strengthening our collaboration with ICT. We recently started a pilot that I hope will improve our customer focus and internal alignment within the organisation. This internal alignment, with part of our company based in the Netherlands and another part in Bulgaria, can be quite challenging from time to time.

What about your biggest challenge in your personal life?

In the period between 2013 and 2019, my father’s partner survived prostate cancer and tried to take his own life several times. The challenge I faced at that time, besides the clear emotional impact, was supporting both my parents on different levels. At the same time, I changed my role and came to Strypes. Thanks to the supportive organisation, and a few colleagues, in particular, I was capable of managing the situation. I am glad to say that he fully recovered and I feel that I have the time and energy to focus my attention on myself and my own personal growth.

What are your hobbies and interests?

A true passion of mine, as some might know, is being a referee. On the weekends, I referee at Korfball matches, a typical Dutch sport. For those who want to know more about it can always ask me. In 2016, I participated at the World Cup <23 in the Czech Republic and later that year I also took part in the European Championship in the Netherlands as an assistant-referee. My dream now is to make it to the top four referees list in the Netherlands and to get the opportunity to referee at the Korfball League final. I also like CrossFit, and running.

What is your favourite quote?

A quote I came across recently that really stuck with me came from Stephen Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Most people, including myself, often focus on making sure others understand them before they seek to understand others. Understanding the other, knowing what goes on in their mind, I learned, is much more important when it comes to building relationships.

How many coffees do you drink per day?


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