03 09 2023 at 14:00
Interview Jacques Neyns
Let me continue the series “Everything you wanted to know about the Past Presidents”, with a very active past president…
I would like to introduce you to Jacques Neyns, President nr 10.
Jacques was President of the PMI Belgium Chapter from 2020 to 2021. Jacques is my current past president.
As a first question I would like to ask you: how are you doing?
I am fine, still teaching at Odisee and trying to keep involved with PMI.
How did you come to PMI BeNeLux/Belgium Chapter? And why do you decided to take the mandate as President?
I came to PMI Belgium after following the project management course at EMS in Brussels, they promoted PMI and I decided to join.
I started in the Board for the Education part where I launched the VDAB project.
I was a member of the Board for already more than 4 years when the president approached me to become his successor. Considering my age, it took quite a while before I decided what to do. Looking back on my experience and knowing the Board members good, at last I decided to give it a try. It could be a good idea to share my experience with the younger Board members.
What do you remember from that time?
Once I took the decision, I was eager to start and had some ideas about events and bringing members together in more social events, not always PMI related, more open also towards the family.
During your mandate, what is your good experience?
I was happy to be able to restore the collaboration with the Netherlands and Luxembourg for our virtual PM Fair.
We had a very strong team organizing the virtual PM Fair with more than 1000 participants.
And what do you identify as a bad experience?
That is very easy: the lockdown. I became president and was not able to see my members during the entire presidentship. Being a social person, that was very hard and not at all what I was aiming for, I called myself “the invisible president”.
If you look into the mirror, how do you evaluate your mandate? What would you do differently?
We tried to do our best during the sudden lock down. We were not at all prepared for that, who was? But, the way we handled it was very good, much better than the Belgian government for example ;-)
Doing something different was almost impossible, I would organize more open talks over Teams with members who feel the need for it.
How to attract members to become presidents?
The only thing we can do is communicate about the roles and show the fun it brings. It is indeed a lot of work but joining the Board gives a lot of satisfaction and that is something members don’t know. It is our mission to bring this more forward.
What do you advise to the current president and to the coming presidents?
Be open, be honest, communicate a lot. Try to look the entire time for people who can support the Chapter, even outside of the Board and the PMI community.
Any anecdote to share with us?
One of the funny things we did during the virtual PM Fair was the talk with the “invisible president”, a title I gave myself. It was an hour of open discussion where members were very open to share their ideas. The fact that I had a whisky next to me also helped towards the openness of the talk.
It was not a Duvel? 😊
How do you imagine the PMI Belgium Chapter in the future? And how do you imagine Project Management?
PMI has to open to other project management organizations. Belgium is too small to host 4 or 5 different organizations competing with each other, we need much more collaboration. That way we will be able to attract also younger people, working together with students will become crucial. At the current prices this is almost impossible, students should be allowed for a really minimum price (40 Euro max. per year)
What can I wish you for in the future?
Good health, lots of fun with my family and friends.
I really wish you.
Do I miss an important question for you?
I don’t think so.
What do you want to also share with us?
Joining the Board is a real commitment, you get out of it what you put in it. The president has to be a people manager, you handle a lot of different characters with their own ideas and wishes. You learn a lot from the Board that can be used in your professional life, don’t be afraid!
I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to share your experience with our members and I am looking forward to welcoming you at the PM Fair on 13th of October 2023.