‘I’m a barrel of contradictions’

Introducing Jeanine Weerts, Campaign Marketeer at Accenture Netherlands

Interviewing somebody who’s hesitant to define herself can be challenging. It certainly makes for a captivating conversation. “I believe my views are in a constant change and putting it down on paper feels ‘definite’. I like that people are by nature indefinable.”

“I could relate when I heard the story of a seven-year-old schoolboy named Lars who, when asked by his teacher to describe himself in one word, answered: ‘Lars’. If I were to try to define myself, I’d fail. I used to be extremely critical of myself. As I’ve grown older, I have become more accepting of who I am. It bothers me less that I’m full of contrasts. In fact, these days, I might even say I’m proud of it.”

Rather than committing to just one path, she prefers to walk lots of them. Her resume is proof of that. It features a lot of everything – from TEDx to CSR, and from knowledge of history to skills in business analytics and finance. “One of my contrasts is that I have an analytical and methodical personality, yet a soft and empathic side. At least that’s what I like to believe,” she smiles. “I love numbers. They are what they are and you can’t argue with them. But the numbers don’t mean anything without the story behind them, and the human perspective that comes with it. I find it difficult that people tend to see the world in black and white. I personally feel most comfortable in the grey area in between. 

When asked where I wanted to shoot the photos for this portrait, I felt the desire to go back to my roots. Thinking back to earlier times, I have fond memories of my early childhood, growing up in this part of Amsterdam. I was born in Amsterdam and went to the local Anne Frank School before moving to Tiel at the age of seven. The school is beautiful; it has words from Anne Frank’s diary painted all over its outside. Moreover, Anne Frank’s story is very inspiring to me. The way she remained positive while the world outside was horrific...I think it’s incredibly admirable.  

A love for unexpected connections

It was also the start of my fascination with stories and history. I have a deep desire to understand the world around me. I want to fully grasp all the different angles of a concept – every perspective. When a story resonates with me, I see and feel things way more clearly. I like to think this is one of the things that make me good at my job: my drive to create clarity from chaos. Only when I can see the bigger picture and context, when I establish a base overview, I feel like I'm able to give solid advice or come up with a solution. I believe that the best advice or solution nearly always comprises some sort of ‘illogical connections’: unexpected associations that not everybody sees at first, but that gradually evolve into something that not only make sense, but are also highly effective and have a lot of impact. 

When I started working for Accenture four years ago, I wasn’t sure whether the company culture would be the right fit for me. However, I was convinced that the learning curve would be very steep. I wasn’t disappointed: in my role as Marketing Manager of the Accenture Blue Tulip Awards (then the Innovation Awards), I was given all the freedom I could dream of. It was great to work with innovative startups while having the safety net of a corporate company behind you. Coming up with new ideas, managing a team and many projects at once. Whether I wanted to interview six-year-old children about how they perceived innovation, or set up a new structure or way of working, I could. The fact that Accenture gives you many opportunities to challenge yourself is definitely one of the reasons I enjoy working for the company as much as I do. Also, I find it very admirable that Accenture doesn't hesitate to make bold statements about current topics.  

The accident that changed my view of life

My tendency to be critical of myself and overthink everything has lessened over the years. My accident played a huge role in this process. On a morning in June 2018, I was hit by a car while cycling to work. It left me with a severe concussion. I ended up having heavy migraines as a result and spending three months in a rehabilitation centre. It was a dark, but also an insightful time in my life. Being surrounded by people who were struggling with much bigger (physical) complications and challenges, made me realize how incredibly lucky I was. Sure, I experienced some misfortunes, but overall, life has been good to me, and has given me an abundance of possibilities. Today, I no longer think negatively of all my contradictions, but rather consider them a strength.” 

What I do

As a Project Manager, I oversee all sorts of different projects and ensure that everybody knows what’s expected of them and that the project is executed in the most efficient way. Because I’m so strict when it comes to upfront planning, there’s always flexibility for adjustments as and when they’re needed.

A day in my life

… preferably includes meetings I can do while walking outside. I consider a day a good one when I have gotten everything under control or have started something new that enables us to move in fresh directions. Adding value to the team and company shouldn’t just be a goal, but a given. 

Advice to fellow and future colleagues

Stay close to who you are. If you feel boundaries are crossed or you have ideas that can benefit the team or a project, speak up. Don’t be afraid to say if something doesn’t feel right – get rid of the elephant in the room. 

Jeanine Weerts (1991)

Studied: MSc Business Administration, Free University of Amsterdam (2016)

Started working at Accenture: October 2017

Loves: Laughing and period drama movies

Gets annoyed by: Injustice 

Favorite food: Croissants

On my nightstand: A picture of me and my mother

Listens to: I have a notoriously bad taste in music. Aside from being bad, my preferences are also extremely broad. Recently I have been listening to a lot of French music, but I also appreciate Disney songs and cinematic music such as that by Ludovico Einaudi

Last purchase: Tickets to Summer of Soul (movie)

Would like to sit next to in the plane: A random stranger

Life-changing event: My mother passing away when I was 18

The best lesson life has taught me: Never judge a book by its cover. We’re all just doing the best we can, so we should never consider anybody to be ‘weird’. There is actually no such thing – after all, we’re all kind of weird, which effectively means no one is

What I learned recently: That it’s important to keep asking questions. Even when you think you know everything there is to know, you need to remind yourself that you most often don’t 

Most beautiful place on earth: Silfra fissure, Iceland 

Hobbies/passions: My friends, dancing, watching films, going to the theater, nature photography and history. 

What my colleagues don’t know about me: That I have a dance-off with myself at home in between work meetings

Life motto: Keep broadening your horizon and be kind.