Distributing happiness across multiple dimensions

Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Danielle Elhayani and inspires her ? How did Javier Leonor's life and career objectives evolve over the years? What difficult choices has Irina Kononova made in her life to get to where she is now? 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 Alexandra van der Tuin, Managing Director at Accenture the Netherlands

“I always knew I wanted a professional career. I’m very ambitious: I want to excel at everything I do and be recognized for my achievements. So I always knew that no matter where I would end up working, my ultimate goal would have been to reach a leadership position. Whether I had the skills to become a leader was a secondary concern. Let’s be honest, how well do you know yourself when you’re in your early twenties?” 

An enthusiastic bee

“Up until I started working, my daily life was dominated by a broad mix of activities into which I put my heart and soul. I played hockey at a top national level, which required training four times per week. I also studied Business Economics in Rotterdam, and on top of all of this, I was an active member of my student association. If anything, my time as a student taught me how to juggle many different things and still enjoy doing all of them. It was a very intense period of my life, but with no doubt, it was extremely rewarding.” 

“All these years later, I still make it a priority to enjoy everything I do in both my personal and professional life. I think you’re in a rather vulnerable position if you rely on just one side of the axis for your happiness. What if that one thing ceases to exist? In a work environment, it’s even more important to maintain a sort of diversity. Personally, I need a few basic elements in place to stay motivated: I need to intrinsically enjoy the work I do, be part of a driven and energetic team, and maintain a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness.”  

Work-life balance is unattainable

“The time in my life when I played hockey four times a week is long gone. When our daughter, Numi, was born 12 years ago, I had to make some key lifestyle changes. I wanted to see Numi growing and spend lots of quality time with her along the way. I am not a big believer in the concept of work-life balance: I think it’s nearly impossible to ever truly balance the two. Rather, I believe you need to identify what gives you energy and plan your days and weeks accordingly. When you do this, you at least come close to the notion of balance – essentially, it just requires very disciplined agenda management. For me, this means blocking weekly time slots to go for a run, play a game of tennis, or draw. These activities energize and fulfill me, and therefore improve my output at work, too.”  

“After 10 years of working in the financial department at Accenture, I was ready for a change of scenery and decided to move to the Talent & Organization pillar of the company. I felt a deep urge for a new challenge and a desire to learn something new. It wasn’t an easy decision to change departments; after all, I had no idea whether I would be successful in this new area. Luckily it all worked out well. Fast-forward another 8 years and after a short period in the financial department, I progressed into Accenture’s Government & Health Practice division, which I have been leading since June 2020. It has been an incredibly enlightening and rewarding journey so far. For somebody like me who is eager to achieve as quickly as possible, it took some time to realize and accept that, in this field, things can simply take a little longer sometimes”  

"I enjoy the fact that, at Accenture, we deal with very relevant social issues and focus on developing creative, efficient solutions to tackle them”

Numi’s natural leadership inclination

“I believe I have accomplished quite a lot in my career so far, but nothing comes close to the sense of achievement I feel when I think about my daughter, Numi. She is by far my greatest source of pride. She’s inherited some of my characteristics, but it’s clear she has her personality, too. Her school teacher recently referred to her as ‘a natural leader who leads in an empathetic way’. I like to think I am an empathetic leader too, but also one who can be quite firm and decisive when needed. I am curious to see how Numi’s leadership skills will evolve, and how she will ultimately apply those abilities. There are also several ways in which Numi differs from me significantly. For one, she doesn’t seem to be as competitive as I am. Aside from sports like gymnastics and field hockey, which she enjoys, she also loves creating things. She often sits behind my late mother’s sewing machine and makes bags, wallets or, more recently, face masks. She even started her own little business around that. I hope to teach her to always believe in her strength and abilities. If I can impart that wisdom, I would be a very happy parent.”  

What I do

I lead the Government & Health Practice division at Accenture Netherlands, which focuses on applying technology, digitalization and innovation to meaningful social projects. Such projects are aimed at, for instance, improving citizens’ access to advanced remote healthcare and the connection between government and the public. 

A day in my life

...Always starts with a good breakfast with Ief (short for Yvon) and Numi, before I wave Numi off to school. I’ll preferably then go for a walk with our dog, Champie, around the beautiful Naardermeer. The rest of the day is usually filled with calls and meetings with my team or group members. These days, everything is done remotely, of course.  

Advice to fellow and future colleagues

Always stay true to yourself, and never forget what your personal qualities are. If you follow this advice, you’ll always know what makes you happy, and if something doesn’t, you’ll understand how to turn things around.No matter how busy or rushed you are, you should also regularly take a moment to stand still and reflect on your own development. These days, my assistant blocks time in my schedule for ‘headspace’.  

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Alexandra van der Tuin (1972) 

 Studied: MA Business Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam (1996) 
Started working at Accenture: December 1996 
Relationship status: In a relationship with Yvon (Ief) and mother to Numi (12) 
Loves: I enjoy the small things in life – seeing children smile and having random pleasant conversations with others on the street.  
Gets annoyed by: Lack of clarity  
Favorite food: Curries and pasta, but I also appreciate good old-fashioned meatballs (made from my mother’s recipe), potatoes and green beans  
On my nightstand: ‘De Achterkant van Nederland’ by Pieter Tops and Jan Tromp, and an image of Maria, which reminds me of my mother, who was religious and passed away from ALS two years ago 
Listens to: ‘Nina Simone Top Radio’ on Spotify and the TV show ‘Beste Zangers’ 
Last purchase: Decorations for Numi’s upcoming birthday dinner 
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Mark Rutte 
Life-changing event: Numi’s birth 
The best lesson life has taught me: If something doesn’t go according to plan, or if you experience a tough time, there is some sort of inner force that will guide you through  
What I learned recently: How extremely important it is to prioritize disciplined agenda management to ensure a healthy balance in everything you do 
Most beautiful place on earth: I love the Dutch waters  
Hobbies/passions: Cooking, running, playing tennis, and drawing 
What my colleagues don’t know about me: That I have a twin sister 
Life motto: Make every day count  

Related Opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Consulting or Strategy could be a good fit for you.
  • Do you think you would enjoy finding effective solutions for complex technology implementation problems? Then maybe you would be great in Operations or Technology
  • Would you want to explore the possibilities that come with new technologies or develop fantastic user experiences? Try Digital or Technology

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