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Nancy VandeGehuchte lives with an eternal smile and a love for people

  • Posted on April 24, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 8 minutes
Nancy VandeGehuchte
Going where life takes you has proven to be a successful strategy for Avanade finance consultant Nancy VandeGehuchte. From wondering teenager to determined forty-something with a busy work life – and an equally lively home life – she now plays an important role at Avanade tackling daily professional challenges, and connecting colleagues while doing so. Nancy: ‘My unwavering optimism is what keeps me going.’

"I’m not a 9 to 5 person, but my weekends are sacred"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
I wouldn’t say I was a good student when I was younger. As a teenager I just lacked ambition; I never felt stimulated by my parents to go out and pursue that ‘One Great Job’. My dad would say that IT and economics were the future. Consequently, at 18 I got my first job in IT, and my second job was actually with a customer of my first employer. It was only then, when I started working, that I discovered where my strengths were. And as it turned out: I really liked bookkeeping!

After a couple of months, I decided to go back to school to study accountancy. It was tough. Going to school for four nights a week over a three-year period while working a fulltime job during the day wasn’t easy. However, I still feel it was the best decision of my life! Pursuing that accountancy degree allowed me to truly develop my professional skills, and to this day I feel it’s one of my greatest accomplishments.

"Going back to school was the best decision of my life"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
I had been employed by a small Belgian IT company for many years. Quite randomly, back in 2011, I decided to create a LinkedIn profile. Just one day later, a headhunter approached me. I had never heard of Avanade before, so I had no idea what to expect. Being able to work in an international environment caught my attention, though. I was 38 at the time, and to be honest: my gut feeling told me that if I wanted to change careers, it was now or never. Long story short: one week after that, I had signed my contract with Avanade. Going with my intuition really paid off!

As a finance consultant, I’m part of the Managed Services Team. That’s Avanade’s ‘support’ department, meaning we deal with clients in whose companies the Microsoft ERP software (Dynamics AX) is already up and running. In case of any finance-related issues, they will be directed to me. I then assist them to the best of my abilities, and will offer solutions, or even additional training.

Traffic jams
My job actually gives me the opportunity to combine my love for IT and bookkeeping, in an international environment to boot. Although I don’t really travel, I work with a lot of international colleagues, from the Netherlands to the US. I might, for instance, help set them up companies abroad. Contrary to what you might expect of people working in IT or finance, most of the time I deal with people, and not with numbers. I’m not stuck behind a desk all day long, which I love. On the other hand, I’m really glad I’m not stuck in the infamous Belgian traffic every day! (laughs) I’m really sociable, and need to interact with others as much as I can.

"I deal with people, not numbers"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
Apart from the human aspect, and the international reach, what I love most about my job is the fact that it’s challenging. Every single day at Avanade is different, and I’m never bored. That’s why I’m happy where I am: this is the position for me until the day I decide to retire! (laughs)

It is busy, though. Our department has a lot on its plate. My ambitions therefore lie in training a junior colleague to help us deal with the current workload. I’m really looking forward to handing over some of the knowledge and expertise I’ve been lucky enough to acquire over the years to younger people. I do realize that the profile we’re looking for, i.e. someone with knowledge of both IT and finance, is quite rare. But I’m hopeful we’ll be expanding our team soon.

Power to the employees
Apart from my day-to-day tasks as a finance consultant, I’m also involved in a People Advocate’s Session. Recently, a colleague and myself have been organizing these, focusing on a specific topic which concerns all Avanade’s Belgian employees below manager level. We listen, we take notes and we report our findings. The idea behind it is that at Avanade, every employee gets his or her say. In other words: every opinion counts. The best thing about this is: management are actually making changes. It’s incredibly rewarding to play a part in bringing about changes, however small, in our company.

"It’s incredibly rewarding to play a part in changing our company"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
The fact that Avanade encourages this initiative is part of the company DNA: there’s a positive can-do attitude, which encourages all colleagues to be treated equally. Our management is not only open-minded, they actually really listen. And that’s quite unique for a large, international company such as Avanade.

What also helps is my unwavering optimism; that keeps me going. I love to laugh, and I’m convinced that’s important in your work environment as well. You simply have to be able to laugh, especially when doing a demanding job.

When it comes to my work-life balance, I believe in working hard during the week, and putting in all the hours necessary from Monday to Friday. I’m not a 9 to 5 person. My weekends, however, are sacred. Even though it’s not always possible, Saturdays and Sundays are to there be spent with my family. At Avanade, a healthy work-life balance is high on the list of priorities. People management has always been important but management actively encourage employees to protect their work-life balance.

"During my ideal weekend, no laptops are allowed!"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
Over the weekend we always plan fun activities, whether we have the kids or not. No laptops allowed! (laughs). I also love to travel with the family. We go abroad as a family every summer, and in winter we love skiing. I’m a strong believer in learning something new every single day, and when we’re on holiday, I always want my children to be educated in some way, apart from having the usual fun. I’m not a different person at home and at work: I love to laugh, but have the same high standards.

Spring rolls
Things do get quite hectic with a couple of teenagers and a demanding job, but in order to relax, I love to cook dinner for my friends. I once took a Thai cooking course, and can make some truly outstanding spring rolls. Sushi is another one of my specialties. To get rid of some of my stress, and to work off all of that delicious cooking, I work out. Power training and step aerobics might not be my all-time favorite activities, but my body really craves some exercise after a working day.

"Becoming a single mother and leaving my comfortable job was a leap in the dark, but I’m still incredibly proud of myself for taking that chance"

Nancy VandeGehuchte Finance Consultant, Avanade
I’ve been a single mother for ten years now. Looking back, it was one of the toughest decisions of my life, but one of the best for me personally, next to going back to school. Having to move the children every other week is tough, but I know that in the end, it’s for the best. Becoming a single mother and leaving my comfortable job to embark on a new adventure at Avanade was a leap in the dark, but I’m still incredibly proud of myself for taking that chance.

nancy-vande-gehuchte-vertical

Name: Nancy VandeGehuchte
Born: 1972
Studies: Accountancy
Started working at Avanade: 2011
Relationship: I live with my boyfriend
Children: Two teenage boys (15 and 17)
Loves: My boys and my boyfriend, shopping in Antwerp
Hates: Arrogant or negative people
Favourite food: Thai food
Expert in (at work): Solving a variety of issues, on a daily basis
Expert in (outside of work): I’m really skilled at planning vacations with my family
Expert in (at university): Combining a fulltime job with school; my plate was pretty full!
On my nightstand: A light that makes bird noises and wakes me up with ‘sunshine’ every morning. Does it make getting out of bed any easier? No way!
On my iPod: My favorite band is The XX, and right now I’m listening to the latest Editors album. I also love Motown music, and anything retro really
What gets me going in the morning: A nice cup of coffee
Would like to sit next to on a plane: Barack Obama
Life-changing event(s): Going back to school when I was already working fulltime, the birth of my first child, becoming a single mum
Best lesson life has taught me so far: Carpe diem, because you only live once
What I learned last week: I finally realized that I have to stop multitasking… it’s not efficient at all
Most beautiful place on earth: Venice, if you take away the tourists. On my bucket list: exploring the rice fields in Vietnam, Thailand, and New Zealand
Hobbies/passions: I’m not a natural but I still love to cook for friends
What nobody knows about me: I can’t actually think of anything, I’m an open book… Not all of my colleagues might know that I became deaf in one ear seven years ago. And I once had a very narrow escape when a bull on a farm in the South of France attacked me!
Life motto: We are all so privileged… We should never forget to enjoy the little things

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