Conference Call on the Beach
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Youri de Koster and inspires him on a daily basis? How has William de Waard's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Melissa Cheung made in her life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.
Introducing Katinka de Korte, Partner Health & Public Service - Alumna
This is the portrait of Katinka de Korte, alumni of Accenture and former Partner Health & Public Service at Accenture Strategy & Consulting.
‘Actually, I wanted to join the police force, but my parents thought it was a waste of all my schooling. As it turns out, through my work at Accenture, I’ve still ended up working for the police, as they’re one of our clients. So I’m still involved indirectly with the detective work that always so excited me. In this way, I feel I can also help to make the world a bit safer. We work for the Dutch Defense Ministry, too. It’s important to me that my work has this social relevance. It’s my most powerful source of inspiration. I want to have an effect on society, and be able to explain to my children what I do, and be proud of my work. That’s something I was taught at home: Be there for other people.
I Jumped at the Idea
When I started working at Accenture, I was initially involved in consultancy assignments for big listed companies. After a few years (by then, I was expecting our second child), I was no longer inspired by my work. I was searching for my own identity, and was thinking of taking a new job outside the consultancy world. While I was going through this crisis, the then Managing Director of Health & Public Services visited me at home. He had seen (even before I had) that I was troubled about my work not having enough social relevance. He thought the public sector might suit me better. I jumped at the idea. When something feels right, I don’t need long to decide: it’s just how I am. What’s more, I was also impressed by the fact that he came to see me at home and had been thinking about my personal development. As I know now, this involvement and individual attention is part of the culture at Accenture. As a manager, I now also ask my people what inspires them, and think about the role that would suit them best.
Conference Call on the Beach
We continuously have to make decisions in our lives, based on our ambitions, personal motivation and dreams. I wanted to be a mother and now combine a full-time job with four children. It’s sometimes a challenge, but Accenture has always supported me. When, after having had two daughters, I turned out to be expecting twins, I asked if I could reduce my working hours to three-and-a-half days a week. That was no problem and was approved at once. Even so, I didn’t manage to keep my phone switched off on Wednesday afternoons. I once took part in a conference call while I was on the beach with the children. Later, I went back to working full-time, in part because I wanted to become a managing director. I really thought that as a mother of four I’d never be eligible for such a move. But after talking it over with my husband Marc and a lawyer friend, I changed my ideas completely. Why shouldn’t I make that move? So I took part in the Leadership Program, and went on to achieve my ambition.
"I really thought that as a mother of four I’d never be eligible for such a move."
As a mother, I steer the happy chaos of a big family, while as a manager I carry the responsibility for the people in my team. I apply the things I’ve learned in my private life in my work and vice versa. Every child is different – just like my team members. It’s those differences that make life exciting. I experience this both at home (with four teens each in search of their own identity) and at work. It’s nice to see time and again that the wealth of insights you get in a diverse team leads to better decisions and more effective work. But it also challenges you as a leader.
For instance, through working with people who are distanced from the labor market, such as people with autistic tendencies, I’ve found that they often have a strong need for clarity. That reminds you just how important good communication is for everyone in the firm. It helps you rediscover the basic principles of good leadership, and helps you grow in your personal qualities as a leader. At home, Marc and I encourage our children to be open to people from different backgrounds and cultures. We want to give them a broad view of life, and teach them that there’s more in the world than what’s in their own backyard. I sometimes dream of being able to spend time working intensively on a development project abroad, together with Marc. But with four growing children, I don’t see that as an option for the time being. At the moment, my job is here.
Spaghetti With Home-Made meatballs
When I get home after a busy day, I first need to wind down. I do that by running a wash, tidying up a bit, drawing the kids’ attention to their jackets that are all over the place… Then I sit down and ask them how they got on at school and about their friends. As we talk, the stress disappears. I also like baking and cooking. My specialty is spaghetti with home-made meat balls. Marc and I often stay at the table the whole evening just chatting. I also like dropping in on friends for a cup of coffee and a chat. The weekends are both hectic and relaxing at the same time. We create as little structure as possible, and leave thinking about meals till later. I deliberately choose not to spend time doing things for myself in the weekend. As a mother, I want to be there for the children. So every Saturday and Sunday, I go and watch them play sports – hockey, tennis and surfing. When I see them so full of energy and involvement, I’m totally content – and even the awful cup of coffee from the sports club machine can’t spoil that.’
Katinka de Korte (1971)
Studied: Public Administration at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the University of Leiden
Started working at Accenture: 1994
Home situation: Married to Marc (and still very much in love with him), mother of Quine (15), Nykè (14), Hidde (12) and Sanne (12)
Gets annoyed by: People with a negative attitude to life
Favorite food: Chocolate!
On my nightstand: At least I’m consistent: chocolate!
Listens to: All the music that comes out of the Sonos boxes in our house, so something totally different in every room
Last purchase: Yes, chocolate! And Ableton push, a DJ system, as a birthday present for Marc (Help, my husband has a hobby!)
Would like to sit next to in the plane: A stranger: quickly getting to know them and soon discovering that you have mutual contacts somewhere
Life-changing event: Amsterdam, Brasserie Bark, Wednesday, December 9, 1998
Silliest mistake: After a delicious dinner in a restaurant, I left a Maxi-Cosi (including baby) under the table…
The best advice I ever had: You can do it: now just believe it!
Most beautiful place on earth: Wherever we are. I enjoy that place so much!
Hobbies: Enjoy life to the max, every single day
What nobody knows about me: I count in colors, and I have done for as long as I can remember. All numbers are linked together in a long train of colors. I also link the seasons directly to colors. And there was me thinking that everyone visualized data in this way... I’m now looking for people who see things in the same way as me. Fortunately, one of the children has the same brain: that creates a bond.
Life motto: Stuck on the refrigerator door: Chocolate is the answer (no matter what the question is)
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