Leadership Studies Alumni Spotlight: Hans van Riet

Hans van Riet

Role: Television Director
Industry/Sector: Entertainment 
Year graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt: 2023

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Hans van Riet, and I was born and raised in the Netherlands. I moved to Southern California just before the turn of the century to venture into a career in television production. Since that daring (and some would say foolish) move, I have worked on many U.S. network shows as an editor, and have made a place for myself as a television director. The latest show I directed is the daytime game show Pictionary, which currently airs on weekdays on FOX affiliates.

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Studies program?

I was not much of a learner when I was young, so I never finished a college degree, despite many university-level courses in humanities. I decided to change that in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, and completed an AS degree in Film, Television, and Electronic Media at my local community college. I enjoyed the process and decided to raise the bar by joining Cohort 14 at Cal Poly Humboldt at the beginning of 2022. My primary motivation was to finish a degree, but I’m also a proponent of lifelong learning, and the Leadership Studies program was an excellent fit for my busy career.

Thinking about the overall program, what has been your most significant course, or signature assignment? What impact did it have on you personally and/or professionally? 

Due to my industry’s obsession with ratings, I really enjoyed the Data-Driven Leadership course. Still, all courses add to more profound thinking about the role of a leader and the interaction between leadership and employees. The cherry on the cake was the excellent upper-division GE classes that Humboldt has to offer and that I was able to fit into my curriculum with the help of the program’s academic advisor, Betsy Rogers.

How have you grown as a leader since starting this program? 

The program has sharpened my communication skills, and I have become a more emphatic leader, or as one of the professors calls it: a humanistic leader. The beauty of this program is that everything you learn immediately applies in practical situations; it’s not just theoretical.

What are your goals after completing your bachelor’s degree?

A bachelor’s degree was my end goal when I started the program. But this has been such a stimulating and motivating experience that I am now persuing a master’s degree. I hope to use my experience and academic knowledge to entertain future generations or teach them how to entertain others.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Here are my takeaways for successful completion of the Leadership Studies program:

  • Reach out to your professors when you have a question; they are here to help.

  • Create a relationship with your fellow cohort students; together, you’re stronger.

  • Schedule your school tasks to fit into your schedule and stick with that schedule.

  • Do not procrastinate, and finish all your assignments.

  • View this as a learning opportunity; go beyond just passing your classes. 

  • Use the support from the academic advisors.

  • Do not despair if it feels hard at times. You will get through it.