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- Receive invitations to attend alumni events as well as networking opportunities
- Learn about career opportunities at Deloitte
Join the Deloitte Belgium Alumni group on LinkedIn to connect with your Deloitte colleagues and peers
Alumni in the spotlight
Mathieu de Lophem
CEO of Skipr
Alumni Mathieu de Lophem, CEO of Skipr, reveals why his Deloitte relationships are his strongest, why cars can be part of the mobility solution but not the default, and how the Skipr mobile app is akin to having a co-pilot you can trust.
You started your career as a consultant at Deloitte. What initially attracted you to join the firm?
I joined Deloitte in 2007 after studying commercial engineering. Two things attracted me from the start. Firstly, the people I met and friends I knew who already worked there. Secondly, I chose to work in consultancy because I knew I would discover many different industries and sectors quickly. I was particularly keen on their learning curve, the network and the atmosphere.
Tell us about your role and your time with Deloitte.
During my three years at Deloitte which began in 2007, I moved from Business Analyst to Consultant in the CFO consulting department. I worked on a bit of everything including a few missions at the European Commission and Euroclear. It was interesting, as I experienced a variety of industries.
What made you proud to work at the firm?
Over the past six companies I joined, Deloitte is where I kept most of my relationships with ex-colleagues and former bosses. This speaks to its strong alumni network. Also, I really liked the fact that Deloitte ‘walks its talk’. During the tough economic times of 2010, no one was laid off. There was always a very strong sense of solidarity and security towards younger team members by partners reassuring us that they got our back. This fact alone created a bond that will never break.
Tell us about your career path since you left Deloitte and how your focus shifted to sustainability.
After leaving Deloitte in 2010, I worked in investment banking and private equity. Then Deliveroo asked me to set up its business in Belgium as General Manager and eventually manage Benelux. When Lab Box approached me to be CEO of Skipr in 2019, I jumped at the opportunity because I’m convinced that we have to change how we consume and behave, and that mobility is key.
You are now the co-founder and CEO of Skipr. What inspired you to bring smarter mobility to employees?
I realised I have a solution to help people behave more sustainably, that saves money and may solve traffic jams. Owning a car isn’t financially viable because it’s the second biggest family spend but used only 5% of the time. Not to mention that traffic jams cost the state €4 billion to €8 billion a year. If you reduce cars by 10%, you solve 40% of traffic jams. Plus, traffic jams are annoying.
What are some of the biggest professional challenges you're facing, especially in terms of changing mobility behaviour?
Change always brings complexity. For people to embrace change, they must be reassured, comforted and given incentives. That’s why we offer a service including kickoffs and education sessions, all to trigger change. When people use it, they reuse it because they realise the benefits.
Mayor of Leuven
Mohamed Ridouani, mayor of Leuven, reveals why our ability to collaborate is what makes us human, how Deloitte is an advocate for diversity and why it’s important the city of Leuven feels like home to all its citizens.
What is your view on diversity?
Diversity is something to be cherished. Each one of us encompasses a rich mosaic of different identities. Depending on the place, time and people one is surrounded with, people show different aspects of their identity. And that’s beautiful. Human nature is one of collaboration. Bringing people together to share ideas and find solutions is the best way forward.
According to you, how important is diversity within companies, communities as well as your city?
Leuven has 171 nationalities. Diversity is part of our DNA. Pre-COVID, we witnessed half the world passing by the city’s main square. As a city of knowledge and innovation and due to the presence of the university, people from all corners of the world come here to study, do research, start companies, invest and build a life. It’s important that we create an environment where people feel at home. I recently met someone from Kenya doing a PhD here and he said ‘Leuven is a place where you feel at home far away from home’. For me, this reflects the kind of city we are: a city of welcome. No matter your background, everybody has a future here.
In terms of identity, I want Leuven to be a place where people have the freedom to express themselves and share their true selves with others. For example, we have quite a large Chinese community and two years ago, I invited them to celebrate their New Year’s festival in the city centre instead of within their own community. And the same goes for other ethnic celebrations such as the Indian Holy festival and Ramadan. They should be shared.
Diversity is of course also about gender equality. While developing structural initiatives to empowering women, we also give attention to gender equality by systematically attributing female names to new streets. It’s symbolic but it matters because it makes diversity visible.
What additional actions do you feel are needed to put diversity higher on the agenda (on the individual, corporate and government level)?
Leadership must prioritise diversity, invest in it, share the story to make it part of its core values... and finally take action. As mayor, I can’t speak of diversity without including my own story as a child of migrant labourers coming to Belgium in the early 70s. Society gave me enough opportunities to go to university, pursue a career at Deloitte and eventually a political career, and to become mayor of Leuven. I worked hard but I had a lot of help along the way in a society that is open to diversity.
Is it easier for you as a visibly ethnic person to open a debate on diversity?
Yes, I believe so. Often, I tell my own story of my family’s immigration to Belgium—what was difficult and what helped me. I speak in schools and it’s always interesting to see how young kids react to me. They often ask me questions like ‘Can you speak Moroccan?’ and ‘Do you live in a house or an apartment?’ I feel they can relate to me because we have a similar background. I hope my story inspires them.
How do you feel Deloitte acts on diversity?
Deloitte has really taken a stand on diversity. Today, diversity is ingrained in its shared values. The firm actively communicates and creates programmes around diversity and gender equality. There’s a lot of work to do in corporations but Deloitte is one of today’s champions when it comes to promoting diversity.
Are you still in contact personally and professionally with former colleagues at Deloitte?
Yes, I still have good friendships with former Deloitte colleagues and the benefits to my life personally and professionally have lasted to this day.
Meet our boomerangs
Director in Tax & Legal at Deloitte
Director in Tax & Legal at Deloitte, Ellen Glazemakers tells us what brought her back to the firm after an absence of seven years. She also gives us insights on her role in the Best Managed Companies programme.
After spending the first 15 years of your career at Deloitte, you decided to pursue other challenges. What brought you back?
There’s something unique about working in a consultancy environment, as I’m sure every Deloitte alumni will agree. It’s challenging and rewarding in equal measure, and many are ‘bitten by the bug’. Deloitte’s innovative environment, the breadth of projects, and being surrounded by diverse and passionate colleagues and clients were definitely among the aspects that drew me back. Also, my time outside Deloitte had broadened my skillset and deepened my understanding of servicing clients, and I had the opportunity to integrate that newfound expertise in a new role at Deloitte: within Deloitte Private I am focusing on bringing the wealth of our expertise to strong private companies.
Seven years is quite a long time to be gone. How did Deloitte evolve in your absence?
By the time I re-joined Deloitte in 2018, the firm had changed in many ways. Which is to be expected, as it’s always been a dynamic environment. I discovered a much more diverse workforce, not only in terms of competencies, but also in terms of personality. And that’s something I find very positive as ultimately it helps us better serve our clients. The firm had also evolved hugely in terms of technology, both in the way we had transformed ourselves digitally, and also in our offering to clients. Lastly, the increased focus on sustainability stood out, and of course that focus has continued to grow in recent years.
What are some of the things that make you most proud to be a Deloitter?
Our wealth of expertise, and our ability to deliver outstanding service is something that continues to make me proud. Not to mention the ‘can do’ attitude that you find throughout the whole company. When I get a tough question from a client, I never say “no, we can’t.” I say “we can, just give me a day.” Which is why clients have such trust in us; they know we’ll find a way. That Deloitte mentality and energy stays with us even when we leave, and people recognise that.
Alongside your role as Director in Tax & Legal, you’re also a Best Managed Companies coach. What’s the programme all about?
The Best Managed Companies programme was established to recognise private companies operating at the highest levels of business performance. It started about 30 years ago in Canada and was launched in Belgium in 2017. Companies that want to obtain the Best Managed Companies label are evaluated by an independent jury on the four key domains we believe set high-performing companies apart: strategy, capabilities, commitment and financials. It’s a rigorous process based on a global framework, so being a Best Managed Companies laureate really says a lot about a company. But it’s more than just a label; the programme also has a community aspect that fosters ties and encourages cross-fertilisation between these high-performing companies.
What role does sustainability play in the programme?
Sustainability is high on every company’s agenda, and rightly so. Beyond being ‘the right thing to do’, customer preferences are shifting towards more sustainable products, employee expectations around sustainability are increasing, governments are imposing stricter environmental regulations, etc. To be a Best Managed Companies laureate, sustainability needs to be an integral part of the overall corporate strategy, meaning there should be a focus on sustainability to unlock new opportunities for growth and long-term durability. Companies can of course be at different maturities in their ESG journeys, so we’re looking for commitment and effort rather than a fixed measurement.
What does being a Best Managed Companies coach involve? And why is the coaching aspect of the programme so valued?
The coach plays a key role in guiding and supporting companies through the application process. We make sure they fully understand the framework and together with their management team, we go through their practices to see how they align with that framework. We share our insights, reflections and constructive criticisms. And I’m always impressed at how receptive companies generally are to our feedback. For some companies, coaching helps them see that they’re not there yet. And that can be really positive too. By leveraging the Best Managed Companies framework, and striving to achieve – and retain – the label, companies are pushing themselves to do better, and be better.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In some ways, that’s an easy question. Based on my track record, and on what’s important to me, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be in a challenging environment where technical expertise is valued, where chances are given, where the ESG focus is fully embraced, and where I’m surrounded by amazing people – because I truly believe that teamwork makes the dream work.
Partner HR Outsourcing at Deloitte
Els D’hauwer, Partner HR Outsourcing, explains her boomerang experience at Deloitte, how pleased she is to see internal mobility high on the agenda and why it’s easier to re-join the firm at a higher level as a boomerang.
You started your career as an Experienced Senior Consultant at Deloitte. What initially attracted you to join the firm?
After working in finance roles after graduating, I joined Deloitte in 2011 as a financial consultant. But I always felt HR was my true passion so I took evening classes in this field, and eventually switched careers. At that time there were few HR opportunities at Deloitte so I decided to leave and explore the world of HR.
What makes you proud to work at the firm?
Deloitte has such a dynamic atmosphere and an entrepreneurial culture. I had, and have, the privilege to work alongside highly-specialised colleagues daily. They helped me to grow greatly as a person and as a professional. Plus, Deloitte offers a lot of training to get you up to speed with the latest trends and they support you in every step of your career. Making one feel part of a community is something the firm does very well.
You spent some years away from the firm, then re-joined as a Deloitte boomerang. What was the impetus to return?
In 2017, I got a call from my former boss at Deloitte and was offered the opportunity to return as lead of a new service line, HR Outsourcing (HRO)—which turned out to be a real challenge, and a real opportunity. It’s brilliant that Deloitte reaches out to alumni when they feel there’s a good fit, and also when people have faith in you.
As new leader of HRO, how did you bring the new service line to the next level?
I was certain I had the necessary experience, knowhow and enthusiasm, and had no doubt that Deloitte would support me in turning this into a success story. I was also armed with a six-month plan. It involved a combination of listening to both the consultants and clients to learn what was working and what wasn’t, and integrating their feedback into a solid business plan. And the results speak for themselves: we grew from 12 consultants to a team of 50 in three years.
How did your previous career at Deloitte benefit you when you re-joined the firm?
A huge advantage was that my previous boss was also my current boss. We’ve always been on the same wavelength and share a similar vision—in other words, a perfect match. And I still had a network of former colleagues and connections.
In my opinion, it’s easier to join Deloitte at a certain level if you have some understanding of the organisation and already know the culture, the internal workings of the different BUs and understand what it takes to be a Deloitter.
How has your focus shifted from consultant to HR director to now HR partner?
My career trajectory evolved from executing client projects to managing a team to developing a new service line. In my current role as a partner, I have a responsibility to be a role model. My personal no-nonsense style and my ability to engage others allow me to be respected as a people manager and partner. I have a passion for motivating individuals and letting them shine.
Has Deloitte’s focus on talent changed from your first stint at the firm?
Yes, now there’s a major focus on internal mobility and this is a huge change from the past. From day one when I re-joined Deloitte, I knew that I made the right decision and felt very welcome. These days, I feel any Deloitter looking for a new challenge will get a chance to pursue their new focus internally, and the firm will do everything it can to make it possible.
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