Potato potato. Looking back and forward.

For 20 years now, I had been going full throttle.
I immediately took my first steps on the work floor in a challenging, managerial role at Securitas. A fantastic but at times hard learning experience. Managing the Front Desk Services department gave me the opportunity to get to grips with all facets of business: account management, drawing up and managing budgets, marketing and, above all, leadership.
At Hudson, I learnt a great many of the ins and outs of the Hr profession. But I learned I preferred to stand with my feet in the mud, in the field. And so I returned to an operational role at DPG Media. For 10 years, I led the Advertising Operations department. A hugely exciting and wonderful time, close to some of my passions: reading and current affairs.

Els between the olive trees and oleanders in her Spanish garden

And then… it was enough. Motivation had dried up. I felt little growth and progress and needed new challenges, I needed to leave my comfort zone.
And so, together with my family, I took the plunge. We followed our hearts and moved to Valencia, one of the most amazing cities in terms of quality of life. My heart got everything it so desperately needed: a great climate, beautiful nature, culture, beauty everywhere, very nice new friends and a human-sized rhythm of life.

Further learning the Spanish language and fighting the Spanish bureaucracy was challenging enough, at the same time I started my own company: Olive Operations. We help Northern European entrepreneurs start up their businesses in Spain: from market research, assisting with all the formalities, to finding an office and starting up and developing a personnel policy. Meanwhile, I also started helping some Belgian companies with their human resources policy. Because of the COVID situation, it didn’t matter where I was.

In the middle of 2021, we decided to return to Belgium. It was a very difficult decision, and we still miss Valencia and our friends there every day. But above all, we look back on this beautiful and hugely enriching period with much gratitude.
Olive Operations now has a Belgian address, but otherwise, our customers will not notice that we have moved. So we continue to work with much passion for helping customers in Spain.

Furthermore, it started itching to focus even more on personnel policy and people. I embarked on an intensive coaching course and spent the last few months thinking hard about how I wanted to approach this.

Now behold my new sprout: Olive People. Olive People focuses on entrepreneurs, SMEs and executives. We help entrepreneurs build their human resources policies. You can hire us as Hr managers for a few hours or days per month or on a project basis. We are a sounding board for the entrepreneur or executive and do individual coaching projects.

Everything has now fallen into place: I can indulge in entrepreneurship and in what I love most: helping companies and people to grow and prosper. And whether that’s in Spain or in Belgium? Potato potato…