Emmy Verhoeyen-Vadan is no stranger to change

  • Posted on October 18, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 7 minutes

Recent Avanade addition Emmy Verhoeyen-Vadan brings a lot to the table. The Hungarian-Romanian-born professional gave up an academic career for the excitement of her own consultancy business. After moving to Belgium, she worked hard to master the language while working at a smaller company and now enjoys every minute of her new life as a financial consultant with Avanade.

Some twenty years ago I decided to study economics and management. I loved the financial aspect of those programs, and when the opportunity presented itself to start teaching at university level, I jumped at the chance. I then received an offer to work as a consultant and combined both professions for two years. After a while, the university asked me to make a choice, and at the time I felt focusing on the practice of consultancy would be the more interesting option for me; after all, I could always go back to teaching later.

In 2002, my brother and I decided to take a leap of faith and started a consultancy company of our own. We worked well together, and the company grew steadily until we had about fifteen employees. I loved being involved in every part of the process and made sure I had good working relationships, which occasionally evolved into genuine friendships with both my employees and my clients. Then, in 2006, an accidental meeting would change my life forever.

All that jazz
I am quite passionate about jazz music so when the North Sea Jazz festival in Rotterdam came around, I travelled to the Netherlands, looking forward to tasting the live music vibe. There I met the man who would later become my husband and father of our three children. Initially, I stayed in Romania, taking care of my business, and he continued to live in Belgium. In 2011, when I was pregnant with our second child, I felt the time had come to move to Belgium. A colleague took over my company, and I arrived in Ghent, ready to start all over. To be honest, leaving my home, business, and family to start a new life almost 1,600 km away was probably one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make so far.

Once I arrived in Belgium I studied Dutch during the day and took an accountancy course in the evenings. One and a half years later, I began to work for DEVtalk in Ghent, a small independent software vendor (ISV) for Microsoft Dynamics AX. When that company was taken over by another company about a year ago, I started to look for other opportunities.

Quite a few companies got in touch with me via LinkedIn, but it was Avanade’s tempting offer of ice cream that made me decide to go for the job interview. I was completely charmed by the fun way in which Avanade approached potential employees. Finally, after a lengthy interview process, I started my new job as a financial consultant in March 2018.

The X-factor
I chose to join Avanade based on the extensive knowledge within the company, the various training opportunities, the delivery-oriented approach, the international environment and the company’s project methodology. Avanade offers an environment that is full of possibilities to learn and grow, which is quite unique.

I admit that going from running your own company to being an employee was a huge change. It was difficult at first, but I took it step-by-step and enjoyed the transition. I meet with clients, find out their requirements, discuss their business processes and match those with existing system functionalities. It is my job to try and understand what the customer means – not necessarily by what he or she says – and to translate that into what the system does.

"I realized Avanade was a good fit for me when I met the people."

What do I love most about my job? Well, just about everything! But I truly realized Avanade was a good fit for me when I met the people here. I can best describe it as a kind of personal attraction: It just clicked. I am very much a team player. I am energized by the synergistic effect of working in a team; seeing people’s drive and how they create together gives me an adrenaline boost. The international context is a welcome bonus. Currently, I’m working on a project with colleagues from five different countries. I love to discover new things, new people and new situations. Avanade is the best place to do so. To put it simply: working at Avanade is the opposite of boring.

Wonderful weekends
I’ve come to appreciate the weekends. I work during the week and my husband takes care of our children. On weekends, we go on trips to the seaside, visit museums, take long walks with the dog or have friends over for dinner. It’s still quite busy, but in a different way than at work.

I learned to maintain a better work-life balance the hard way. When you have your own company, you work day and night. The constant pressure and high stress levels caused me to have heart problems, and I ended up in hospital; I did too much and paid the price. The time I spent lying in a hospital bed helped me come to the decision to move to Belgium. Even though I miss my brother, my parents, my grandparents, my former employees and customers and the natural beauty of in Transylvania, at least I can be with my family full-time now.

"I realized Avanade was a good fit for me when I met the people."

The best advice I could ever give any young professional is: love what you do and respect the ones you work with. They will find out immediately if you’re not being sincere and will always prefer to work with someone they feel comfortable with than with someone who is arrogant, no matter how accomplished they might be. In the end, technical knowledge doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not also kind and polite.

Learn more about Emmy in this Q&A.

Name: Emmy Verhoeyen-Vadan
Born: 13 July 1974    
Studies: A bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics and Management. I studied in Romania, Hungary and Germany.
Started working at Avanade: March 2018
Relationship: Married
Children: Three children, two girls (15 and 7) and one boy (9)
Loves: Changes, challenges and doing things I’ve never did before
Hates: People who claim to know everything. I feel it’s completely narrow to claim you know everything all the time.        
Favorite food: Anything I don’t have to cook myself (and if possible spicy, with just a little meat).
Expert in (at work): ERP functional consultancy
Expert in (outside of work): Bringing all kinds of people who don’t know each other together. I just enjoy the exciting mix of people.
Expert in (at university): I always took beautiful written and well-organized notes, so every student who did not attend the lectures wanted to copy them.
On my nightstand: A notebook and a pen so I can write down all the thoughts and ideas I have when I’m asleep. I’ve been doing that for about 18 years now; intelligence seems to come to me at night (laughs).
On my iPod: Jazz
What gets me going in the morning: A nice, strong cup of coffee
Would like to sit next to on a plane: Me on a plane? You must be joking: I absolutely hate flying. But let’s say that on a train I would love to sit next to Hungarian-American business magnate, philanthropist and political activist George Soros.
Life-changing event(s): Meeting my husband at the North Sea Jazz festival in the Netherlands.
Best lesson life has taught me so far: Nothing is simply black or white; grey is the most nuanced color.
What I learned last week: I learned that my car has a touch pad and I can use it to look up a phone number or address in the GPS.
Most beautiful place on earth: The mountains with the lakes
Hobbies/passions: I love reading (mostly non-fiction: political books and (auto)biographies) and am fascinated by politics. I love going to concerts (jazz, symphonic), and walking in the mountains, back in Transylvania. I still can’t get over the fact that Belgium is so flat!
What nobody knows about me: I once stopped a train by pulling the emergency break because as the train was leaving the station I realized I had left my luggage with my wallet, ID-card, train tickets et cetera on another train. Luckily that train was still in the station. So, I had no other choice but to pull the break, open the door and run for my life.
Life motto: There are no good or bad choices. There are just choices.

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