Ideal Work-Life Balance Is Essential
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Marissa Jaggan and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Mark Ruiter's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Javier Leonor made in his 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 Sandra van Doorn, Management Consulting Manager.
‘I never go anywhere without my running shoes. For me, running is much more than just exercise; it clears my mind in a way nothing else can. I enjoy it and am good at it; in fact, running helps me structure my thoughts, get rid of frustrations and come up with the best ideas possible. For example, after a heated discussion or meeting in which we try to solve a complex problem, the most effective way for me to reflect on things, put things in context and come up with solutions is to put on my shoes and go for a 30-minute jog. When I return, I feel like a new person.’
Making a Difference | Sandra | Q&A
Would I Fit the Corporate Profile?
‘When I joined Accenture in 2011, I doubted how well I would fit into a corporate environment. After working at the Ministry of Defense, I had preconceived ideas about what a big consultancy firm on the Zuidas would be like, and I couldn’t really envisage myself in that setting. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong – both about Accenture being a ‘stiff’ corporate and about me not fitting in. The personal touch and one-on-one attention at the company allows for a great work-life balance, and after five years in my challenging position, I still love working for Accenture.’
"At one point, I worked five days a week and I trained often and intensely; life was pretty hectic."
Ideal Work-Life Balance Is Essential
‘While everybody defines work-life balance differently, for me it means having the freedom to run three to four times a week at the very least. When I don’t, I become tense and agitated. At one point, I worked five days a week and I trained often and intensely; life was pretty hectic. It was my coach and career counselor who suggested I write a proposal on what my ideal week would look like. What followed was a detailed plan about my ambitions for both my running and my work goals. I was thrilled when Accenture offered to pay me for 36 hours per week, while working 32 hours. This, of course, enabled me to make use of my paid leave for running.’
The Flexible Trend
‘This level of flexibility is becoming a trend at Accenture; many new parents agree to some sort of flexible work arrangement, as do people who, for instance, want to start a personal business on the side, or people with a time-consuming hobby like myself. Having that ideal work-life balance is essential to being good at what you do – and I love that Accenture acknowledges that.’
Goal: to Make It to the Top 10
‘I ran my first – and only – marathon in 2010 in Rotterdam. I finished the race in 3h47m. While training for it, I decided I actually liked running, and that completing a marathon was addictive. I joined a running club and started training professionally. While I have mostly focused on the 10km and half marathon distances, running a full marathon under three hours is still my ultimate goal. If I do, I’ll rank in the Dutch female top 10.’
She Turned My Life Upside Down. And My Training Schedule Too
‘My daughter was born in March 2015. I managed to keep running until two weeks before she was born. Her arrival turned my life upside down completely, so both my training and work schedules were affected, of course. I still find it very challenging to juggle my three roles – manager, mother and runner – every day. It all comes down to prioritizing, managing time efficiently and developing very detailed timetable.’
"I firmly believe that people should do what makes them happy, otherwise they’ll never reach their full potential."
How Can We Make Things Better, Faster, Smarter?
‘If I were to describe myself in three words, they would be “creative, optimistic and driven”. I would also add “passionate and ‘likes to move’. Not only when I wear my running shoes, but also in my work. As a Product Manager within Strategy & Consulting, I always search for the best possible answer or solution. How can we do or make things better, faster, smarter? Which options do we have at our disposal? Did we take all the variables into account? Did we extract all the necessary information? Can we run the extra mile and, if so, how? The drive to improve things and myself is always present. Working with people who don’t have a similar drive isn’t ideal; I need people in my team to be passionate about what they do. If they aren’t, I rather find out together which project or role suits them better – I firmly believe that people should do what makes them happy, otherwise they’ll never reach their full potential.’
"My best races are not the ones I won."
Winning Does Not Necessarily Mean Coming in First Place
‘Despite what people often think about professional athletes, doing your best and giving your all isn’t just qualified by winning a race or tournament. For me, performing means doing everything you can to be the best version of yourself in that moment. My best races are not the ones I won, but the ones where my running team and I helped and inspired each other to run our best races we possibly can. If that means somebody finishes before me, but I ran a personal best, then I’m still extremely happy. I know I have given it my all and did the best I could.’
Sandra van Doorn (1984)
Studied: BA Industrial Design (2006); MA Integrated Product Design (2009), TU Delft
Started working at Accenture: June 2011
Relationship status: Married to Job, mother to Jip (2015) and expecting another one J (October 2016)
Loves: Spending quality time with family and friends
Gets annoyed by: The feeling I get when I think I have to reinvent the wheel when it’s not necessary at all
Favourite food: Just before running: a big tower of pancakes. Other occasions: Spanish tapas
On my nightstand: My wake-up light and a book. I’m currently reading “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” by Simon Mawer
Listens to: Top 40 music
Last purchase: Most likely clothes for my daughter Jip, she grows so fast these days!
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Friends, since that would imply we’re going on holiday together
Life-changing event: The birth of my daughter – it turned my life upside down completely
The best lesson life has taught me: A psychologist told me that I am allowed to be here, no matter what. That lesson has always been very important to me: to be aware that I can be myself, and should never hide away.
The best advice I was ever given: It was my first Accenture project, and one of my team members spoke the magic words: “Manage expectations; always and anywhere”. It was the best advice ever, since it always proves itself right. As long as you manage the expectations of everyone around you, you keep everybody happy.
Most beautiful place on earth: Mount Kilimanjaro, where Job unexpectedly proposed to me after having climbed it together in 2013. Super romantic!
What nobody knows about me: That I am actually a very shy person
Life motto: Enjoy life every day! Make sure you do what feels right and suits you best!
- 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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