Motorcycling – a Bit of Me-Time

Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Hester Prins and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Javier Leonor's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Mark Ruiter 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 Raymond Pijpers, Operations Lead - Alumnus

As a kid I was already a gadget freak. I dreamed of becoming a cameraman or sound engineer. Every week I recorded The Soul Show on the radio with my cassette recorder and compiled tapes with music I liked. In my high school days I learned programming on the very early computers that had just come out. This opened up a whole new world for me. I knew immediately that that’s what I wanted to do for a living. In my college days, a friend and I even set up a small business, buying and selling PCs. From the money we earned doing that we went parachute jumping.

  • Man zipping up his jacket on a motorcycle

Impact and Fun

After graduating in IT, I started working – first at KPN Research and later at the TNO research institute. They were both good jobs, but at a certain moment, I was getting a bit restless. As a researcher, you’re not working at the real heart of the business. I wanted to do something that would have greater impact. I also felt a lack of social relevance in my everyday work. At Accenture Strategy and Consulting, I can help the “crown jewels” of Dutch industry to develop further, through technological innovation. This also has a positive effect on society. With innovative products for healthcare, for instance, you’re working on things that in the future may help more and more people to get better. That’s something I love contributing to. I also found that the consultancy sector attracted me: I was always a bit in awe of the ‘suits’ and the exciting projects they were working on. At least, that’s what it seemed like to me: an exciting world that I wanted to belong to. As I now know, it is an exciting world. It’s very hard work, but we also have a lot of fun together. Besides having impact, working with colleagues is the thing that drives me most.

No Secretary, No Corner office

When I joined Accenture, I really had to adjust. In my previous job, at TNO, I’d had a secretary and a prized corner office. At Accenture, I only had a laptop and a phone. I lost all my certainties: no clear place in the company hierarchy, no direct line manager. It took me more than a year before I felt at home. I really had to find my way, and it was a steep learning curve. Fortunately, I had a fantastic coach, who knew when I needed guidance and when it would be better to let me find out for myself. To start with, he told me exactly what I had to do, the steps I needed to take. Later, he let me figure things out myself. I’ve now found my balance and developed my own style. I’m result-oriented, but also very accessible and people-focused, and a real team player. I like bringing people into contact with each other. That’s something you need to do if you’re leading a team with more than ten nationalities. I’m then more of a primus inter pares than a dominant leader.

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    Katinka de Korte, former Partner Health & Public Service Consultant

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Getting the Best Out of Yourself

That also applies to my role as a father. We have three boys, aged 10, 13 and 15. They’re all very different. I always try to be at home on Mondays, and take the youngest to school. I try to teach them that they can’t expect to have everything handed to them on a plate. If you want to achieve something, you have to do your best to make it happen. For instance, they need to prepare for school tests properly. And we often remind them to “aim for the best”, that they’re not doing it for the teacher but for themselves, and that they owe it to themselves to get the best out of themselves. If they don’t understand something in their physics homework, for example, I don’t do it for them, but encourage them to find a solution on their own. This helps them build their self-confidence. And that’s what my parents also taught me. My mother was an elementary school teacher, and my father started serving behind the counter at the local post office. He later became head of the mail department. It was a warm, sheltered environment, where values and norms were clear. My parents felt it was important that you take responsibility for your actions and that you finish what you start – just like I tell my kids now.  

Training for a Black Belt

My wife and I enjoy sports, as do the children. Lotte plays tennis and the boys play handball and practice judo. I also go to judo twice a week, together with a few friends of my age. Judo is a great way of getting rid of physical energy and work stress. It requires extreme concentration, so you can’t think of anything else at the same time. You develop patience, and it strengthens your perseverance. For example, you have to train for years to perfect the katas, the prescribed techniques and throws. I like making progress one small step at a time. I now have a brown belt and I’m currently training to reach my ultimate ambition: a black belt. I also get a big kick out of riding my motorbike – a Yamaha MT-01, a two-cylinder of 1700 cc. A really big, heavy bike. I’ve had it for about ten years, but it still makes me happy. It’s one big mass of power – just like a wild horse. It’s great to be able to get such a bike to do what you want it to do. But you’re also aware of how vulnerable you are.  Riding my bike is a bit of “me-time”a present to myself. Then I experience a vast sense of freedom and feel suddenly twenty years younger.

Raymond Pijpers

Education: IT

With Accenture since: 2007

Home: Married to Lotte, with three sons

Love: Risqué jokes

Pet peeve: Sunday drivers

Favorite food: Soto Ajam

Bedside table: ALS dan toch by Garmt van Soest (one of my colleagues) about his struggle with ALS 

Favorite music: De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig (a Dutch hip-hop band), and music from the Eighties

Latest purchase: A cat flap for our ginger tom, Yoshy, and his sister, Yacky

Would like to sit next to in plane: Micha Wertheim (Dutch stand-up comedian)

Life-changing event: When, aged 18, I left my sleepy village to study in a town four hours away, and met the love of my life (and even did a bit of studying)

Most important learning experience: When my kids’ smartass teenage remarks make me look more carefully at myself

The best advice I ever had: Breathe in, breathe out

Most beautiful place on earth: South Beach, The Hague, on the patio of my favorite café, watching the sun go down

Hobbies/passions: Judo, motorcycling, cycle racing, Tesla, innovation, gadgets

Something no one knows about me: I once won a waffle-eating competition (27 waffles – don’t try this at home!)

Motto: Get the best out of yourself

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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