“I love the fact that I can clearly see the impact of my work”

When she’s not solving complex IT problems and learning new programming languages, Pascale is on the Lacrosse field, coaching and inspiring her Belgian national teammates to perform beyond their abilities.
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Meet Pascale D’Huyvetter, Technology Consulting Analyst in Health & Public Services at Accenture Belgium & Luxembourg

What’s your background?

I studied at the University of Ghent and have a master’s degree in Business Engineering. It was during my studies that I first started playing Lacrosse, and it quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. So much so that I now play in the Belgian national team and most recently, I became team coach! What I love most about coaching the national team is that I get to motivate everyone to perform at and beyond their abilities. It’s really rewarding to get all these players from competing teams together to represent our country. I put a lot of effort into setting up game strategies and I really enjoy it. I’m not a tough coach, but I am strict when necessary! 

How and why did you join Accenture? 

After graduating, I decided to continue my studies with a PhD. However, after a couple of months I began to feel it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea. So, I decided to explore other opportunities in the private sector. Around that time, Accenture organized a Meet and Sign event on campus. I had already thought about working for a consulting firm, but choosing which of the many companies to work for was not an easy task. What I found great about the Meet and Sign event is that I could talk to Accenture consultants and ask them what it’s really like to be a consultant and hear their personal impressions and experiences. These conversations gave me a good impression of Accenture. One of the deciding factors was Accenture’s corporate culture, its efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in the workplace, and its strong focus on the wellbeing of people working there. I was also happy to learn that Accenture organizes a lot of fun initiatives for doing sports together through the Fit at Work program. 

I was specifically interested in the Health and Public Services sectors and I was given the opportunity to join this practice, where I am still working today! 

What inspires you about your job?

What I like about consulting in general is that you get to work on lots of different projects. And because every client is unique you also get to experience different types of work and work cultures over the course of your career. You learn how to adapt to different environments, and you build important skills that are applicable in other areas of life.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

My daily goal is to always do my best and bring added value to our clients. I aim to learn as much as possible and to continue growing so that in 5, 10 or even 15 years’ time, I can look back at my career with pride and satisfaction.

Picture : VatArt Photo

What does a typical day look like?

I love to work out in the mornings and have a healthy breakfast. Then I cycle to the train station where I usually meet up with one of my best friends. We always try to take the train to Brussels together, which makes starting the day a lot more fun. 

I usually arrive early at the office and prepare for my day. Every morning, we have a standup team meeting to discuss tasks, ask questions and stay tuned to what everyone is doing before continuing with our daily work. 

My team is close, and we usually eat lunch together. Once a week some team mates also go for a run during lunchbreak in a nearby park. Although I haven’t been able go along yet, I plan to get in on that action ASAP! 

After work, I disconnect by doing sports or meeting up with friends. Following a knee injury, I still have a lot of physiotherapy sessions plus I have two Lacrosse practices per week, so my time is pretty full, but I still try to make as much time for my friends as possible. I always feel reenergized after an active evening although I must admit staying in to watch TV every once in a while is also fun.

How are you making a difference at present?

I am currently assigned to a project at one of our government clients, helping them to transition to a new HR & payroll system. Our job is to build an interface between the two systems so that all new data entering is compatible with existing applications. We are currently at the final stages of development. Building an interface between two systems is complex. The fact that my analysis and research help the developers and the client to achieve their goals is very fulfilling. I’ve experienced the complete life cycle of this project and love the fact that I can clearly see the impact of my work at the end.

What gives you the most energy in your work?

Finding solutions to complex problems and seeing all the different parts of a project coming together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Plus of course, making a positive contribution to our clients’ organizations and people.

Any professional milestones that make you proud?

I’m particularly proud of a reporting tool I created to follow-up personnel changes at our client. This tool is now used by our client on a weekly basis to catalog recent changes, such as new joiners, absences, retirements, etc. The biggest challenge was that I had only two weeks to develop this tool in SQL (structured query language) and Excel Power Query, both of which I had only taught myself the month before. It was the ultimate test of my – at that time – fairly limited SQL skills and I was very happy when I succeeded!

What key skills have you learned so far at Accenture?

I’ve learned how to work with several project management tools, and I intend to keep learning more programming languages in the future. I’m currently doing a lot of data analysis and (as mentioned above) I taught myself how to use SQL, which I now use on a daily basis.

In terms of the soft skills, the main one is definitely diplomacy! People you work with may not always see the added value of your project. I have learned how to read people’s emotions and how to address their concerns in a positive way to reassure them about the way forward and the value of collaborating as one team. 

Is there a particular skillset Accenture looks for in new joiners?

Regardless of your studies, I think an analytical mindset and good communication skills are key. It’s not only important to deliver improvements and good work at clients, it’s also important to make them believe in your work. Other than that, I believe that Accenture is open to all types of people with different skill sets.

Picture : VatArt Photo

How would you describe the atmosphere at Accenture?

Very positive, especially our Health & Public Services community. We are a relatively small group, and this makes it easier to get to know each other and build friendships. Our community is full of fun and interesting people and it’s a pleasure to work with them all!

Pascale D’Huyvetter (1991)

Studied: Business Engineering

Started working at Accenture:  May 2018

Loves: Any sport, especially Lacrosse and winter sports. I also enjoy swimming and sailing. Then there are café sports with friends, reading all kinds of books, from historic novels to thrillers…

Last book I read: The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. 

Gets annoyed by: My younger siblings can annoy me sometimes, but I still love them a lot! 

Experience as the eldest: I’m the most organized and initiative taking sibling, more of a leader. 

Favorite food & drink: FRIES like all Belgians. And rosé wine.

On my nightstand: A book and my cellphone to wake me up.

Listens to: All kinds of music. This weekend I listened to rap songs by Eminem.

Would like to sit next to in the plane: My best friend because we always have great fun together and can talk for hours.

Life-changing event(s): The day I discovered Lacrosse. I’ve always been sporty, but this is the first sport I feel so much passion for. 

The best lesson life has taught me: Even when things aren’t going your way, maintaining a positive mindset can open up new opportunities.

What I learned last week: Last weekend, I was coaching the Belgian team during the European Lacrosse tournament. Unfortunately, we had bad luck and lost a very close game. If I had been more decisive at the end, maybe I could have swung that game our way. 

Most beautiful place on earth: I don’t believe I’ve seen it yet, although I believe it to be the Northern Lights. I plan on going to see those soon! 

Hobbies/passions: Lacrosse! Also, hanging out with friends and a party once in a while.

What nobody knows about me: I really love rap music. As a teenager, I had a huge crush on Eminem.

Life motto: Always stay positive. During the last two years, I have suffered from one injury after another. I’ve seen many teammates get demotivated by injuries and quit the game. And yet, if I hadn’t been injured, I may never have become the coach of our national team.

Author: Liz Morrison