interview

Four TriFinance power women are boosting their careers at BeNe Rail

Three key points

Career development in a non-hierarchical structure

Learning the ins and outs of project management, advisory and training

Growth opportunities created through the cultural fit between BeNe Rail and TriFinance

The author of this articleBoudewijn Vanpeteghem - Editor
TriFinance is present with four Project Consultants at BeNe Rail. One of them, Leen Dewicke, is an outsider because she has been working there for eight years already. Admittedly in various projects and roles in which she evolved from Project Management Officer (PMO) to a managerial position just below the board level. Meanwhile, the criminologist and business economist is working on a third master's degree: Public Management.

BeNe Rail is a collaboration between the Belgian and Dutch railroads - NMBS and NS - for the online sale of international train tickets. "A very competitive market in which France and Germany are the big players," says Leen. She is working at BeNe Rail as Project Consultant of the Blue Chip Boutique (BCB) 'Public' together with her BCB colleagues Sanne Boone, Julie Stroobants, and Rosalie Andries. The latter is the youngest in the line of Me inc.®'ers who worked and are working at BeNe Rail. 

Rosalie Andries: "Leen gives me a lot of space to do what I like, to learn, and to try things out."

Like Leen, Rosalie, who has a master's degree in Business Administration, started out as a PMO. In the year she has been working at BeNe Rail, her job as an assistant evolved from user management issues to issues related to risk management. "With Sanne, I participated in the creation of a dashboard on which Project Managers can follow their budgets in detail. I have already learned so much about project management and complex software in the past few months".


Speaking of software: Rosalie participated in the migration of BeNe Rail's data center, for the transfer of the collaboration and documentation platform. The intention is to manage it internally. "I drew up a plan for that: what to do and by whom. I drew up the agenda for the biweekly meeting, which I led. It's nice to work with many people. Leen gives me a lot of space to do what I like, to learn, and to try things out."

Julie Stroobants: "Project management was something new for me. I find it very interesting."

Leen is the direct supervisor of Rosalie and Julie, who has already evolved from PMO to Project Manager. Julie joined TriFinance in 2016: "I have a Master's degree in Law and despite my, for a financial environment, atypical degree, TriFinance invested in me. I can always turn to BaseCamp and the other Project Consultants. That is a particularly pleasant experience."

Julie emphasizes that it's a nice feeling when they invest in you as a person and take into account what you want. She finds TriFinance's online tools to help shape your career convenient and effective. "After my first year at TriFinance, I felt that I didn't want to go down the path of purely financial projects." At Bose, the builder of audio equipment, she took matters into her own hands. She started there in the bookkeeping department, but by taking on more tasks herself, she had the opportunity there to take on more advisory and training roles. "I coordinated the transfer to the Shared Service Center in Lisbon where I trained the colleagues. I went to live and work in Portugal for four months. I then informed my BaseCamp that I wanted to advise and manage and would be happy to train people. Project management was something new for me. I find it very interesting." 

Sanne Boone: "I co-write the financial part of the story: budgets, reporting, financial business cases and scenarios, investments..."

Sanne, who has a master's degree in Public Administration & Public Management, explains that BeNe Rail terminated the contract with the external partner. "That is the starting point of my work. BeNe Rail chooses to make a big change and I co-write the financial part of the story: budgets, reporting, financial business cases and scenarios, investments..." 

Sanne had few notions of bookkeeping when she started working for TriFinance in 2018 and notes that she could quietly grow into it. As a financial advisor, Sanne then took on the bookkeeping control function. She reports to the finance committee and the board of directors. She is very pleased with the manager of BeNe Rail. "He is very accessible and believes in the vision of TriFinance. I also like the fact that there are other Project Consultants from TriFinance working at BeNe Rail."

Leen Dewicke: "I help determine who BeNe Rail hires."

"The culture at BeNe Rail is non-hierarchical, just like TriFinance. The employees here are pretty much all consultants and secondees," Leen points out. "I started here as a 'rookie' and got successive roles, with a lot of international contacts, gaining more and more responsibilities like for example when I became head of the Project Managers."

"As Project Manager, I set up a new database for hosting trains, among other things, and during my position as Release Manager, I coordinated the continuous process of putting software live: building, testing, production. I supervise the new strategy and elaboration in the business plan for the marketing of BeNe Rail and I help decide who to hire in my team. As a manager, I ask the employees about their ambitions and my experience in project management makes me a mentor. Apart from the executive, I am supervising a new strategic cooperation project with a partner in the UK."

"I am definitely working on my career trajectory. I've learned so much here already and realize that one day my progress at BeNe Rail will end. Staying in a role when the work becomes routine and the learning opportunities disappear is not my cup of tea. The client has always looked for new growth opportunities within my area of interest and my current role, as a Project Consultant, is the final and most far-reaching growth step possible within BeNe Rail."

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