Going Back to My Roots

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 Sjoerd Daniels, Senior Manager at Accenture Technology Services, the Netherlands.

‘I love organizing events. For as long as I can remember, I have been an active board member for youth and theatre clubs, sports movements and student committees. I have always liked to be in charge of how events, like social gatherings, charity fundraisers, games, plays or parties, were planned and executed. I guess it’s something I’m simply quite good at.’

  • Man carrying son and woman carrying daughter

Idyllic, Happy Childhood

‘I look back on a very happy, carefree childhood. I was born in Heerlen and bred in a small, idyllic nearby town called Schinnen, where I lived with my parents and younger sister. We had a very liberal and open upbringing; everything was okay until it wasn’t – and we knew exactly where that point was. Friends were always welcome to come and stay over; many hours were spent playing games and having lots of fun.’

From Acting to Facilitating

‘When I was 13 years old I joined a theatre club. Besides my love for acting, it’s also where I realized I loved organizing events. In 1998, one of our plays won the prize for Best Amateur Theatre Production in the Netherlands – an absolute highlight. Theatre played a big role in my life until my early twenties, until I decided I no longer wanted to act and shifted my focus to more of a facilitator role. Subsequently, I took on marketing, PR and logistics for the group. This marked a turning point. I filled the facilitator role throughout my studies as I always found myself in different committees and boards.’

"Among many things, theatre has taught me how to 'reveal' myself, how quality will earn you respect and how to gain more self-confidence."

Not the Loud Type at the Forefront

‘I have always been a very social person, but definitely not the loud type that will stand at the forefront. Which is actually quite interesting, given I was quite an insecure person growing up. Among many things, theatre has taught me how to “reveal” myself, how quality will earn you respect and how to gain more self-confidence. It built a solid foundation for the person I am today.’  

Add Storyteller to the List

‘If you would ask my wife, Sanne – whom I met at Accenture, by the way – to describe me in three words, she would most likely tell you I am an enthusiastic, creative and social person. Perhaps I would add “storyteller” to the list. I think telling stories and inspiring people with them also form part of my talents. I “employ” this tactic on a daily basis, when I tell people about what we are doing in Heerlen.’

  • Man leaning on gate and talking to son

Going Back to My Roots

‘For me, launching our new campus in Limburg is about going back to my roots. Being in Limburg feels like being at home for me, which I didn’t expect at all. We recently had a company outing to a brewery on the street where I grew up – it felt somewhat strange, but also comforting to be back at a place I know so well. To spend time in Heerlen and to hear people talk “Limburgs” is great.’

A Huge Role for Accenture

‘I feel very strongly about giving back to the community and province; to contribute to a better positioning of the region. Faced with an ageing population and a brain drain of talented young, skilled people, there’s a huge role for Accenture to play here. When Mark Wiermans asked to help launch the Heerlen office, I felt honored and proud. The timing was great too: after working in the utilities sector for over twelve years, I was ready for a new challenge.’

A Start-Up Within a 400,000-Strong Global Company

‘We’re like a start-up within a global company that employs nearly 400,000 people – how cool is that? Starting from scratch is simultaneously a challenge and an exciting adventure. From recruiting the right people and getting them to do the right job to deciding which color the desks and carpets should be – you find yourself playing a very important and influential role in what is to become the most innovative IT service platform in the future.’  

"I rarely encounter other companies where people can grow and develop at such a rapid pace."
  • Meet the Technology team!

    Gijs van Malsen, Enterprise IT Transformation Consultant

    "I love that my job lets me help organizations become future-proof by changing the way they operate."

    Read his story

People Are Our Greatest Assets

‘Another reason why I love my job – even after nearly thirteen years – is Accenture’s dedication to nurturing talent.  Four years ago I was asked to become the SAP Lead of the Netherlands Delivery Center. I was only 32 years old – which made me one of the youngest senior managers at Accenture, responsible for 200 people. The fact that I was given the opportunity meant a lot to me. Looking back, my career took an enormous plunge; within the first five years I was promoted every single year, to the point where I was a manager after the fifth year and senior manager after the eighth. The potential to grow is very Accenture-esque: I rarely encounter other companies where people can grow and develop at such a rapid pace. Accenture looks after their talent on an individual, personal level – which appeals to me greatly. Talent, regardless of age and experience, is taken seriously, and employees are given constructive feedback and get endless opportunities to grow. People are our greatest asset. That mentality has brought me to the position I am today and something I hope to give my team too.’

  • Man in blue shirt smiling and looking back

No.1 Priority in Life

‘Life is not all about work, obviously. My life changed drastically when my kids were born – my son in July 2013 and my daughter followed exactly two years later. My happiest moments are the ones I spend with them: cuddling on the sofa, my son telling me stories, my daughter smiling at me. Before they were born, my wife and I traveled a lot: Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Canada, South Africa and Tibet. For me, traveling means freedom, looking for the unknown, finding adventure and balancing a demanding office job. Having kids turns everything upside down and forces you to shift priorities. My family is my number 1 priority, full stop.’

Sjoerd Daniels (1979)

Studied: Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology, Avans College of Applied Sciences, Breda (2002)

Started working at Accenture: September 2003

Relationship status: Married to Sanne, father to Jens (2013) and Maud (2015)

Loves: My wife and kids. Good food and drinks with friends – a true “Bourgondiër”

Gets annoyed by: People who don’t keep their promises

Favourite food: Italian food

On my nightstand: My iPhone

Listens to: My children chatting

Last purchase: My first MacBook

Would like to sit next to in the plane: As a sports fan, I want to sit next to Epke Zonderland or Dafne Schippers on their flight to Rio de Janeiro this summer. To be so talented in a global sport is impressive. In addition, as I’m on that flight, I get to attend the Olympics again! :-)

Life-changing event: Becoming a father – both times were equally life-changing

The best lesson life has taught me: Stand up for yourself

The best advice I was ever given: You should always be able to look at yourself in the mirror and justify what you say or do

Most beautiful place on earth: Tibet, the nature, the culture, the adventure

Hobbies/passions: Traveling, running, skiing, cooking, just being outdoors

What nobody knows about me: That I was an avid theatre actor in my younger days

Life motto: Everything will be alright, as long as you are creative

Related opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Strategy & Consulting 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 Interactive or Technology


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