For the past 18 years, Elke Bossaert has been a manager at Mobiel21, a centre for knowledge development, education and behavioural influence in the field of sustainable and safe mobility. With the support of a social profit grant, Elke took the Executive Development Programme at Vlerick.
“A board member of the Sustainable Mobility Network told me about the social profit grant,” begins Elke Bossaert. “He had used it himself and found it a valuable way of gaining access to otherwise unaffordable training in the non-profit sector. In the case of a non-profit organisation, the financial resources are usually quite limited and you cannot use SME portfolio subsidies either.”
“As I feel it is important for managers to keep developing their professionalism, both for themselves and the organisation they work for, I applied for two programmes. I was immediately pleasantly surprised by the in-depth discussion with the Vlerick coordinator that followed. She examined my needs, background and experience and recommended the Executive Development Programme. A correct analysis, as it turned out.”
“One of the most important insights I acquired was the importance of a clear focus. Get a super-clear picture of your core business and convey your USP effectively in your communication. You also need to know what other players are doing: not only does it help you to clarify your position in the market, it also helps you to make a financial difference. These are the kinds of insights which you read about, but at Vlerick you learn to actually apply them. Sometimes the emphasis was rather too much on commercial cases and I felt that the programme lacked a few examples from the non-profit sector. They might have been interesting for my fellow students as well. Perhaps we could consider developing a case together with Vlerick and integrating it into the programme?” she says, laughing.
“There were around 20 participants, all with very different backgrounds and that also contributed enormously to the value of the programme. We now have a WhatsApp group together where we still ask each other questions and exchange tips on a regular basis. Yes, I expanded my network with some very relevant contacts.”
“The only thing I regret is not having done it before. I'm not from an entrepreneurial family, both my parents worked for the government and as a student I would never have considered going to Vlerick Business School. I enjoyed getting back to studying and exchanging knowledge, and I learned a lot from the course, but also realise just how many insights I have overlooked during the past 18 years as a manager. There is also a major impact for Mobiel21, because I know that we can now position ourselves more firmly in the market and in particular how we should do that. I’m also trying to transfer the insights that I gained to the staff as much as possible, because if you want to move forward you can't do it alone. You need to create support. I’m certainly also going to try to get a colleague to attend a programme. It was a great experience! I'd do it again right away.”
Elke Bossaert, Strategic Accessibility Manager at Brussels Airport Company