Who I am and what I do, all my thinking and being, has been highly influenced by all the input coming from very diverse horizons and moments in my life: growing up in a fabulous caring family, having great friends, living a long lasting loyal relationship, working for over 20 years with drive and passion in very different contexts and having many different roles and responsibilities, learning to deal with and accept ’wrong decisions’, business failures and personal losses.
From being ’stagiaire’ in the Office of EU Commission’s President Jacques Delors (that’s where I learned how real life is so different from what you learn at university), ’political attaché’ at the EU Commission’s Delegation to the United Nations in New York (a great experience I would do again immediately!) and a consultancy mission at the EU Commission’s head office in Brussels (that’s where I learned that red tape, bureaucracy, blind chauvinism and long decision processes are not my thing), to becoming an entrepreneur in the Netherlands and Belgium in merchandising (it’s impressive to realize how fast you can make a lot of money when creating a hype; it’s sad to see how fast changing visions of partners can tear a partnership and a business apart).
From having corporate functions at Ameritech-Singtel-TDK’s 49% participation in leading telecom operator Belgacom (the late Chief Executive John Goossens, a real role model for me, was the example of combining vision, passion for the customer and smart marketing solutions with personnel commitment) to being – for eight years ! – the CEO and Vice-President of ORMIT (remains a ’firm of endearment’ with a unique business model serving so many global enterprises and prestigious names).
From taking over a well reputed independent Belgian consultancy in management and leadership development, starting and developing a real estate business (I have something very special with bringing harmony to places, with using my hands and my creative part of the brain … as a compensation to all the thinking and intellectual work I do. And I simply love restoring and decorating. Maybe in my ’old days’ I will become a decorator …), developing a Brussels based impact investment firm, to founding the Global Inspiration & Noble Purpose Institute.
All that experience and these uncountable missions, projects and roles involve(d) my traveling around the globe (it is that being exposed to other populations, mental models, ways of living and doing business that helped me become more human and tolerant) and living in many different countries (the idea is bubbling up to live part of our time in Paris, which we love both), discovering diverse cultures, individuals and organizations along the way, and even surviving a violent kidnapping in Colombia.
I consider all these as important foundations or ’character and personality builders’. And to top it with my preferred life slogan: “you become what you believe!”