Thrown in at the deep end

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 Rinze Rijkmans, Salesforce Consultant at Accenture

As a young boy, Rinze worked in the most popular restaurant in his hometown of Harderwijk. Truth be told, he liked knowing that he worked at a spot that was widely considered the “place to be”. These days, now that he works with Salesforce, he’s convinced that once again he finds himself at the “place to be”. ‘Thanks to its flexibility and dynamics, Salesforce is definitely the coolest and most successful platform among all technology platforms out there.’

‘Until I was about 12 years old, I wanted to become a truck driver.  The idea of being on the road appealed to me. When I was in high school, other things – girls, friends, sports – felt far more important than thinking about what I wanted to do one day – these things were definitely higher on my priority list than homework. Needless to say, that reflected in my grades. My parents certainly had a few sleepless nights over the thought of what would become of their son. When they sent me to a school in a different city, they made it crystal clear that if I messed that up too, I would have to find a job at the local supermarket and pay back every cent they had invested in me up until that point. That did the trick. I’d be lying if I said that I was a model student from then onward, but I definitely became more focused on schoolwork and started to take it more seriously.’

Alright on my own (just not for too long)

‘My first encounter with Berlin was during my studies when we were given the opportunity to study abroad for six months. I remember the day I arrived at Hauptbahnhof railway station vividly. As a social type who loves being surrounded by people, I had to get used to the more solo lifestyle that seems to be typical of Berlin. Still, I managed to make a group of friends fairly quickly. During those six months, I learned that I’m okay with being on my own, as long as I have the comfort of knowing it won’t be for too long.’ 

‘It’s very important for me to spend time with friends – preferably in a restaurant or bar, with a drink in hand. Or, weather permitting, drifting down Amsterdam’s canals on the small boat I co-own with my sister. I go out for drinks every weekend – and by “drinks”, I mean sometimes a cappuccino, too. I love chatting to people I don’t know – a conversation with strangers comes really easily to me. Working in a bar during my teenage years certainly played a role in helping me develop this skill. My manager at the time made it very clear to us that the most important part of our role was to ensure all customers left the restaurant with a smile. For me, part of the joy of the job was thinking about something fun to say or do to earn a smile from every customer. My sociable nature and service-oriented mindset definitely stem from this time in my life.’ 

Always following my dad’s advice

‘My dad has long been – and still is – my role model and a big influence in my life. He’s always worked in IT, but I never really had a clue what his job actually entailed. All I knew was that he worked very hard – I don’t recall him ever being home in time for dinner during the week. I didn’t mind, though. I took comfort in the fact that he’d make up for time lost on the weekends, when he’d give me and my sister all the attention we needed. Despite being in the dark when it came to my dad’s career, I was always intrigued by it. When I had to apply for an internship, he suggested I talk with somebody he knew in the marketing department at ServiceNow, a big American software company. It turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me. During my internship at ServiceNow, I was tasked with developing an application for the company’s marketing team. The result was so successful that ServiceNow decided to implement the application globally throughout the entire company. Working closely with a developer, I entered the magical world of IT. Not only was my internship an amazing experience that gave me the chance to travel internationally and do some exciting things, but it also marked the start of my true fascination with this field.’  

‘After graduating, I had my heart set on doing a traineeship at Microsoft. I was very disappointed to learn that my application had been rejected. To make matters worse, I didn’t have a plan B. Again, my parents saved the day. As it turned out, one of their neighbors – the owner of the Dutch Van Delft “pepernoten” factory – was eager to open a pop-up store in Berlin; which would be the first pepernoten store outside of the Netherlands. I met up with him for a coffee and chat on a Sunday morning, and five days later, I was on my way to Berlin to scout around for possible store locations. Everything developed very quickly from then on. My girlfriend at the time found a job in Berlin too, and soon we’d settled in an apartment there together. Although I had never run a store before, I enjoyed diving into the unknown and was determined to make it a huge success. I was lucky to get the chance to be an entrepreneur, but still have the backing of a big brand and the safety net of a monthly salary.’ 

The greatest adventure of my life

‘After four months, the pop-up adventure came to an end, and I went on to work for a German IT start-up for 10 months. We found ourselves at a crossroads when my then-girlfriend was offered a job she just couldn’t turn down in Amsterdam. As she had made the move to Germany to follow my dreams previously, it was now my turn to compromise. She accepted the job, I quit mine, we loaded our stuff into a van and drove to Amsterdam. In hindsight, I realize that my time in Berlin was definitely one of the greatest adventures of my life.’ 

‘When I started working for Accenture, everything fell into place. My role in the consultancy field afforded me the perfect opportunity to get a peek behind the scenes of so many different industries and companies. I remember clicking my way through Salesforce for the first time, and getting very excited when I was sent to my first client. The more Salesforce certificates I earned and the more experience I gained, the more confident I became with the platform. I also learned a lot from my senior colleagues. It's very rewarding to work with a platform that is so versatile and that offers clients so many valuable solutions. Thanks to Salesforce's endless functionalities, it's possible to tackle virtually any problem a client might face. Whenever we implement something new, clients get even more enthusiastic about all the possibilities the platform opens up for them. As a Salesforce consultant, it's my job to explore the different ways we can utilize technology to solve issues they might encounter. The focus of sales has changed: it's no longer about merely selling clients a service or product, which implied the trajectory was complete after the actual sale was closed. Now, the emphasis has shifted to consultative selling. The key question is, "How can we best utilize our solutions to add real value to clients' businesses?" That's what sales revolve around these days. Looking back, I love that I was thrown in at the deep end at Accenture – and true to my nature, I learned to swim very quickly.’   

What I do

I describe Salesforce as a box of Lego.  You can use these Lego bricks to make anything a client needs. Once a client has purchased a “box”, it’s our job to build components according to their requirements. We use all the “bricks” to create a “house”, “backyard”, “kitchen” and “car” for clients – to essentially establish the structure that they need. 

A day in my life

Currently, the average day in my life involves bouncing from one video call to the next, while trying to follow the “inbox zero” philosophy to get to the end of the day without any unread emails (this doesn’t always happen, unfortunately).

Advice to future and fellow colleagues

Never reinvent the wheel. We have so many smart colleagues around the globe who are constantly inventing new wheels. It’s not a marketing slogan; we really do. My advice would be to ensure you capitalize on our global network. 

Rinze Rijkmans (1993)

Studied: BA Business Administration and Management, Hanze University, Groningen (2016)

Started working at Accenture: November 2017

Relationship status: Single

Loves: Friends and family, good food, being out on the water and a good draft beer

Gets annoyed by: Coriander in my food

Favorite food: A well-sized piece of meat, fresh fish or a homemade pizza we call “plaattaart”

On my nightstand: Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

Listens to: Electronic music and soul

Last purchase: A yellow tracksuit

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Marc Benioff and Usain Bolt – in between the two, of course

Life-changing event: Living in Berlin for one-and-a-half years – running a pop-up shop and working for an IT start-up there. To experience all of that was an amazing adventure 

The best lesson life has taught me: Nothing is for certain; life can change in the blink of an eye

What I learned recently: That every person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. But even more importantly, I’ve learned – through the aforementioned book, Surrounded by Idiots – how to understand all of these different types of people and how to approach them 

Most beautiful place on earth: South Africa and our own boat, which is called “Pura Vida”

Hobbies/passions: Skiing, sailing and playing field hockey 

What nobody knows about me: That I played the drums very enthusiastically for a few good years

Life motto: It’s not really a life motto, but right now, what I’d really like is to hug my grandmother again. Soon, hopefully!

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