An’s story: Balancing professional growth with well-being

An’s story: Balancing professional growth with well-being

I am An De Lafonteyne and I would like to share my personal story with you on why I joined sparkle as a Senior Data and Information architect. Additionally, I like to share why I enjoy working for Sparkle.

But first let me give a little bit of background about my professional life.

My career so far: Balancing professional growth with well-being

When I graduated in Computer Science, I honestly had no career plan at all. I accepted the very first concrete job-proposal at a large Belgian Bank in a very IT-technical department, responsible for the communication between different internal and external systems. I learned a lot, also that you absolutely don’t know much when you’ve just graduated😊.

After two years in that banking environment, I got the feeling I was not really growing anymore. I got a bit stuck … and in that same period, my car also got stuck – it did not pass the required car inspection anymore. So looking around, a nice job proposal came up – with a brand new car 😊 – and I jumped. I’m not materialistic by nature, it was just a really practical advantage at that moment.

I’m still glad I did, because that job taught me that working with data was really my thing and that I loved being a consultant. I’m a service-minded person by nature and delivering solutions that bring real added value to organizations gives me positive energy.

When I became a mother, my private context changed of course, and since remote working was out of the question at that time, I looked for a job where I could further grow in the field of data and analytics but was close to home. Being sufficiently present as a mother has always been a priority for me.

The choices in my professional life have always been the result of seeking the balance between professional, personal growth and my wellbeing. It made me switch a few times between consultancy and internal jobs.

Why I joined Sparkle

My last job before Sparkle, as data & analytics manager, was at a very nice international company, where I always thought I would retire. Unfortunately, after a big reorganization, a new management with some strong ego’s was put in place. As middle management I was not really listened to, and decisions just got pushed through. That sandwiched position caused me so much negative energy that I decided to leave and go back in the consulting business with a focus on data and information management.

With the DMBOK as my bible, learning how to make sure that data is handled correctly at every step of its lifecycle, looking at data in a holistic way. Because I really believe that’s the only way for organizations to get the most value out of their data and obtain and keep a competitive advantage. Data as a first thought, not an afterthought.

I first came across Sparkle on a Dataminds connect event in Belgium. Besides the fact that I thought ‘Sparkle’ was a cute name, I also had a very pleasant conversation with Kristof and Lien at their booth.

Half year later, when I was looking for a new opportunity, I also went to talk with Lien and Kristof again. In a cozy restaurant, Lien and Kristof told me about Sparkle as an organization. And as the conversation progressed, I became more excited.

Sparkle’s core values: enthusiasm, humility and teamwork, are the same values I pursue so there was for sure a good fit on the culture part. Also, the fact that there are a lot of senior consultants working there, where I can still learn from, was a plus. I’m still eager to learn. And then, when they told me they strive to become an end-2-end trusted data partner for their customers, I got completely convinced and I decided to join them.

Why I enjoy working for Sparkle

I have been working at Sparkle for several months now, as a Data Strategist and Project Manager for two large clients, Atlas Copco and Aquafin. In addition, as part of the leadership team, I am trying to contribute to further shaping and growing Sparkle.

During that time, I have been able to experience that Sparkleers really live according to Sparkle’s 3 core values. Sparkleers always try to help each other out, humility is truly expressed and there is surely room for fun!


An De Lafonteyne

An De Lafonteyne

Senior Data Strategist

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