Let me continue the serie “Everything you wanted to know about the Past Presidents”, with a very active past president…

I would like to introduce you to Stéphane De Vroey, President nr 9.

Stéphane was President of the PMI Belgium Chapter from 2018 to 2019. After his mandate Stéphane is still active with the Grow program.

Hello Stéphane,Stephane1

As a first question I would like to ask you: how are you doing?

Excellent, As I retired from the board after 9 years, I finally found the time for a personal project that some members may know😊… But as volunteering is deeply anchored inside me, I recently launched a new initiative more in the social responsibility domain with ill children; I keep being involved with the chapter and the profound engagement to keep developing the Belgian project management expertise. I’m really enthusiastic about the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our chapter.

It's a fantastic gift you are offering to ill children.

How did you come to PMI BeNeLux/Belgium Chapter? And why do you decided to take the mandate as President?

To make a long story short, I followed a PMP training given by the Vice-president of the Switzerland chapter in 2006, he insisted I connect immediately with the Belgium Chapter; that I did… But he also made a prediction… He said “You will become a chapter member and within the next 10 years you’ll become president of the chapter”. This simple sentence has guided me all along the years and I was then elected in 2017 for my mandate of 2018-2019. This is the real force of the PMI network, you have high opportunity to meet a mentor who, with a simple sentence, will drive your career over a decade …

What do you remember from that time?

A great team of engaged board members and volunteers. Also, all the work done with the previous presidents (and their team) for working on a 10-year strategic plan (initiated by Guy under the presidency of Dirk) that we followed under our 3 consecutive mandates building a stronger chapter each year, with additional services to our members, growth in the number of events and membership, up to the 20th anniversary of the chapter. And this would have certainly continued without the pandemic …

During your mandate, what is your good experience?

I’ll always remember the quality of the board members and volunteers. I’m very proud of the perfect gender balance and a board of 7 different nationalities. I profoundly believe this was a key success factor during the year 2018-2019. I’ll also remember how much the past presidents Chris, Dirk and Guy have been there all the time supporting me and if I may support, the same way, any future president I’ll do it with great pleasure.

And what do you identify as a bad experience?

Honestly, none… the learning curve is so huge that any obstacles or impediments are seen as minor compared to the personal development you get from this experience. I really encourage all our members to consider a board position as a development path.

If you look into the mirror, how do you evaluate your mandate? What would you do differently?

Thanks to the preparation work we did during the previous years, 2018-2019 have been full of success regarding finance, membership, 20th anniversary, additional services to members… Still, I found that the chapter always suffered from modesty (maybe a Belgian trait?) and could have been more visible on the market with stronger marketing and advertising; This was identified in the strategic plan but our actions there have been, from my point of view, not a great success …

How to attract members to become presidents?

Simply because it is the best career development path you can imagine; within the “relatively safe”(1) environment of a non-profit organization, but still with real Legal engagements you can experience the responsibility of being a kind of CEO, and this is not just a little simulation in a 3-day bootcamp… In fact, I wonder how possible it is that we don’t see hundreds of candidatures each year if we consider this opportunity.

  • Also considering the coaching/mentoring of the past presidents and the support of PMI Global.

What do you advise to the current president and to the coming presidents?

After the pandemic, the chapter had to rebuild/relaunch a few services. We see members are coming back and this is a positive signal. I profoundly believe that the Chapter has a mission at the local level and towards the chapter members much more than towards PMI global. Considering the development of the EU project methodology (PM²) I think the chapter should not be too dogmatic and find opportunities to open the chapter to that emerging community even more since the Belgian public sector has started adopting PM² (e.g.: NMBS) …

Any anecdote to share with us?

I’ve not checked for all chapters, but I think it is quite unique to know that two partners in live have been both chapter presidents 😊

Indeed, according to PMI EMEA, we are the only country in Europe having two partners being chapter presidents 😊

How do you imagine the PMI Belgium Chapter in the future? And how do you imagine Project Management?

With 2000+ members of course 😉. My vision for the chapter would be towards the “Belgian Association of Professional Project Managers” as we see for the lawyers, pharmacists, doctors etc. and getting to a point where any starter in the career of project management would naturally connect with this association.

Recently we have seen excellent speakers such as Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, Peter Taylor and many others talking about AI in project management and this drives me to a single conclusion, project management will be about humans!

What can I wish you for in the future?

Plenty of new adventures in the world of volunteering at large as it is the best school you can imagine…

Do I miss an important question for you?


What do you want to also share with us?

Nothing more.

I would like to thank you very much, Stéphane, 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.

Christine Dassy

President 2022-2023

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