This spirit manifested itself in a variety of ways. Live projection of photos from the past (a big thank you to Alumni who contributed!) combined with new ones taken during the evening created a real buzz. As Alumni Network President, Eric Lonbois remarked, “We look better now in our photos than we did as new joiners!” Networking with former colleagues was of course a major component and everyone was inspired by the personal story of our keynote speaker Gert De Winter (CEO Baloise).
Welcoming the audience, Network Sponsor Baudouin Thomas announced his transition to becoming an Alumni himself as of end May! After a career spanning 25 years at Accenture, he will embark on a new adventure and join the Alumni family he has helped to create: “Of course, I will stay an active member, only now from the other side of the table! See you at an Alumni event soon!” Thank you Baudouin!
Fun, results & effort!
In his inspiring and honest keynote, Alumnus Gert De Winter (CEO Baloise) shared his personal career story and recipes for success. Gert joined (the then Arthur Andersen) straight from university in 1988. His earliest memories include the famous ‘Green Books’ and Chicago Consultant School, which he described as a ‘performance prison’ and where the feedback he received was ‘Gert is a very nice young man, but…’ Nevertheless, and remaining true to the maxim he had lived by since a student, ‘Fun, results, effort’, Gert launched himself into new projects, starting with setting up the first IT department for the Flemish Government, followed by the launch of VTM, Belgium’s second private TV station. Military service followed, teaching Gert patience and the realization that he was privileged to have had an education and a protected youth.
Returning to Accenture, Gert continued building his career, learning valuable lessons along the way, such as ‘never promise what you can’t deliver’, ‘always share with others when you have a problem’, plus ‘how to put life and work in context and find a balance’. When in 2005, Mercator approached him to become CIO it was a difficult decision: “It was a great career move, but it was emotionally hard to leave Accenture after 16 years. It felt like a betrayal. In the end, curiosity got the better of me, and I accepted.” His role included being head of HR, a totally new domain for him. It was another world and he realised just what a great school Accenture had been: “Regardless of the industry you work in, it’s a huge asset.” Today, Gert leads the Baloise Group from Switzerland. His is one of the architects of Baloise’s success and growth, modestly stating “making things simple is extremely difficult and complex”. Amongst other achievements, the company was awarded the Swiss Insurance Industry’s Innovation Prize in 2017. Underpinning everything Gert does is his belief in teaming, motivating employees, coaching and a strong company culture. “Culture always eats strategy for breakfast!”
Watch out for our next Alumni Connect session hosted by Alumnus Christophe Degrez (CEO Eneco Belgium) in September!
Keen to host an alumni event yourself? Please contact Karin.Poullier@accenture.com to discuss all the possibilities.