Where do you hail from and where are you based now?
I was born in the small Belgian town of Poperinge in the western part of the country, a few miles west of the city of Ypres. Known for its hops used in beer, the town of 20,000 was also the site of Talbot House in World War I, a guest house used by British soldiers. Coincidentally, Poperinge is also the place where Barco was founded by Lucien Depuydt in 1934, when he began assembling radios with parts that he imported from the US. That’s where we get Barco’s name from – Belgian American Radio Corporation. I currently live in Kortrijk in Western Belgium.
How did you get started in the industry?
By accident, if you can believe it. I was working in an ERP consultancy and looking for a more creative challenge. By chance, I ended up moving to a marketing communications role for one of Barco’s business units. In this role, I was on the ground for the launch of our collaborative communications solution ClickShare – and the rest is history. I soon took up the role of product manager, sharing ClickShare on a global scale, before pivoting to my current strategic marketing position in 2019.
What advice can you give someone starting out?
Be yourself; know what you’re good at and do it. You’ll spend most of your life at work – make sure that you enjoy it, that you’re energised by it, and that you can give back. As with all things, it’s important to follow your intuition, so even for those starting out in their career, trust yourself and play to your strengths.
How did you fill your time during lockdown? Any new hobbies?
I’ve never taken a sabbatical, so at the beginning of the lockdown here in Belgium I really enjoyed taking a little more time for myself. I got out to explore the local area and now know all the mountain bike tracks in the region, and there’s rarely a footpath I haven’t trodden down!
What football/rugby/other teams do you support, if any?
Not so much support, but I really enjoy watching the Premier League (and yes, Kevin De Bruyne is fabulous), as well as local teams KV Kortrijkand RSC Anderlecht. I’m also a bit of a F1 aficionado as well so seldom miss a race.
Tell us something about you that may surprise people
I started my career as a journalist!
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
Even in retrospect, I don’t think I would have truly changed anything. I’m not the kind of person to look back on what could have been. Ultimately, you make the best possible decision when opportunities come along and just enjoy the ride. That’s my outlook on life.
How did Barco fare during Covid? What plans have you got for the business as we continue to move forward?
Like any company, we had to adapt to the reality of the ‘new normal’, moving from each day to the next navigating both global disruption and working from home. Maybe fortuitously, we had just launched our ClickShare Conference product before the pandemic, and are now seeing growing interest in the solution as individuals and businesses re-think their approach to work life.
As the pandemic enforced widespread working from home, many re-evaluated the work-life balance that had shaped their life before 2020. Fast forward to the present day, our research suggests that the majority of workers are unwilling to step back from the freedom that working from home has given them, with 80% of employees preferring hybrid. Yet 71% of them struggle with the frictions and technical challenges that come with hybrid engagement. As more individuals return to the workplace, Barco have plans to further embrace the industry trend of ‘bring your own meeting’ to empower individuals to easily and intuitively use their personal devices in a professional setting as more and more of them return to work.
We’ve actually recently announced a major software update to our ClickShare product range that aims to do just that, building intuitive, interoperable, automated meeting flows into wireless conferencing to bridge the human gap inherent in hybrid.