Let’s get the more traditional professional stuff out of the way first. I am grateful for having been extended leadership opportunities in a variety of sectors over the years. Here’s a link to my LinkedIn profile. This will tell you about the roles I’ve held, what I consider my key accomplishments in those roles as well as my academic background. It does matter and I am proud of my path, but I want to tell you more about me personally.
Where I’ve come from
I arrived in Canada from Belgium in October of 1988, with nothing but my set of chef’s knives and $500 in my pocket (yikes!). Back then, I worked in the hospitality industry, in a discipline we refer to as Food and Beverage, or F&B. Armed with my chef training and “front of house” experience, I started running the food services at the newly opened National Art Gallery in Ottawa. It wasn’t long before I began seizing one exciting professional opportunity after another.
Developing as a leader
On multiple occasions, I was asked to take over the leadership of teams that were deemed “dysfunctional” and requiring a “complete overhaul”, by which my bosses meant that I should fire everyone and rebuild from scratch. Really? I thought. No one on these teams was good at anything? Rather than blindly following advice from the powers-that-be, I did my own thing—something I’ve been known to do over the years.
For starters, I was genuinely curious about each individual’s story, and I was eager to uncover unique talents: what did each person bring to the table? How could I put their gifts to good use? This discovery phase was usually followed by a bit of a trial-and-error approach until we found a good way to set ourselves to deliver against our mandate and goals.
It took me a while to notice a pattern emerging whereby—sometimes very quickly following my taking over—the team I was leading became high-performing and, on top of that, we were having a blast.
My eagerness to understand how I was leading differently is what motivated me to study industrial psychology, human resources management, executive coaching, leadership and, eventually, to redirect my career into human resources management.
Fast forward to 2015, and I am fundamentally convinced that we have an urgent need to redefine the leadership model in our organizations. The systems in place and the behaviors they reward result, best-case scenario, in short-term success. But that’s not the worst part. To put it simply and candidly, I am incredibly sad to see organizations make people sick, be it physically or psychologically.
I witness organizations dripping people’s “light” away while the statistics around stress leaves grow and become more alarming every year. Merely being a witness is no longer an option for me, and I believe there is another way, one that works for all stakeholders. I know it is possible for organizations to be successful and for employees to look forward to come to work each day.
Bringing humanity to work
What needs to be different and where do we start? Good questions. My goal with this blog is to articulate both, one post at the time.
In short, I want to help you to be the leader you have always dreamed of working with, and I am eager to see you build successful organizations where people thrive.
What else would you like to know about me? I live in Vancouver, BC with my partner, Bob. Things I love: dogs, photography, writing, laughing, singing, music, positive psychology, and I’m addicted to golf.
Thanks for dropping by, much appreciated.
You can also find out about my current work by visiting Thrive 360°