In celebration of International Women’s Day, we sat down with Elly De Bruyn, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at the QbD Group, to talk about her experiences and views as a power lady in the life sciences industry. Elly has been with the company for many years, now holding the position of CHRO of the international life science consultancy group.
Hi Elly! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Elly: Sure! I am a 40-year-young lady who loves to take on opportunities that come my way. I enjoy life and all that it brings, with its ups and downs (because there are no ups without downs). I consider myself a very happy woman, given the opportunity to combine different responsibilities and roles and enjoying them all. Being an ambitious colleague, a wifey, a loving mom, and trying to be a good friend. I also have the luck to stand next to an ambitious businessman (Bart Van Acker, CEO of the QbD Group) and took the opportunity to put my stamp on his entrepreneurial dreams, making it our dream!
What achievement as CHRO at the QbD Group are you most proud of?
Elly: Creating a working environment where people have the opportunity to blossom and grow continually, regardless of seniority, location, or even expertise (as long as it is in the life science industry, of course).
And by “grow” I mean continuous growth: the possibility to redirect your career in the way you want, as long as you speak up and communicate about what you want to achieve or expect from your career.
Looking at myself, I’m proud that I’m able to grow together with the company. I started as a recruiter 10 years ago and am now the CHRO of an international life science consultancy group.
Curious about what the next 10 years will bring…
“Embracing equity means actively working towards creating a world where everyone has equal access to opportunities, resources, and rights regardless of their gender. It also means valuing and celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity, and challenging stereotypes that limit individuals based on their gender identity.”
Which women inspire you the most?
Elly: Women in my day-to-day interactions who combine different roles in their lives (the same goes for men, by the way).
Women taking up responsibilities in their working life and stepping up. In my experience, we often withhold ourselves from doing so. Often we don’t undertake certain things because of mentally blocking thoughts. Overboard with it and just do it!
Lastly, women, and people in general, with a positive and getting-things-done mindset – which is not always that evident.
How do you create an impact on colleagues within Life Sciences?
Elly: By ensuring a healthy work environment with an eye for the work/life blend, well-being, training and development, providing a strong internal and external network.
I hope that our colleagues can focus on their job content. If we are able to unburden our colleagues and let them focus on their job content, the core of their activities, we – as a group – can make a difference in the life science world and answer the complex challenges our customers face.
In this way, we can also make our colleagues think beyond today and already make them think about the challenges and solutions for the future. If we succeed in this, we will be well on our way.
The International Women’s Day 2023 campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity. What does this mean to you?
Elly: Well, I actually think it’s a shame that there has to be a separate women’s (and men’s) day. Of course I understand where it comes from, but it feels a bit polarizing. For me, it is not so much about “being the same” or “getting treated the same”, because we are not the same. There are biological differences and thank goodness for that! It’s rather about being equal and being treated equally, taking into account individual differences (regardless of gender).
For me, it is about being able, allowed and daring to be ourselves, daring to work on the best version of ourselves. Embracing equity means actively working towards creating a world where everyone has equal access to opportunities, resources, and rights regardless of their gender. It also means valuing and celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity, and challenging stereotypes that limit individuals based on their gender identity.
Apart from that… I love being a woman and embrace it with great pleasure!
Thank you, Elly, for sharing your experiences and insights as a successful woman in the life sciences industry. Your commitment to creating a positive work environment and promoting equal opportunities for all is truly inspiring. Let’s all work towards embracing equity and celebrating diversity in all aspects of life (not just today!).
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