How does a lawyer working at a notary end up being a digital transformation consultant? Why would someone make this decision, and what new challenges does this present? Meet Jade Heuts, she has taken the leap to switch careers and wanted to share her experiences at ProjectiveGroup.
Hi Jade, you recently joined ProjectiveGroup but this wasn’t your first professional experience. Can you tell us more about where you come from and what made you change?
Well, I’ll start at the beginning. When I was in high school, I studied human sciences which comprised of a wide range of disciplines such as psychology, history, philosophy, economics and political science. With that broad interest, majoring in law seemed like a logical choice for me. At that time, I really wanted to become a notary or a lawyer (but perhaps I had watched too many “Suits”?). At first, I really liked law but when I started my master’s degree, I began to have doubts about where I was heading. I think I just didn’t feel passionate enough about it.
After my graduation, I therefore decided to start a management traineeship programme at one of the largest banks in Belgium to broaden my skill set and get some more business background as well. During the management trainee programme, I was assigned to a project with a start-up that focused on Blockchain technology. This was completely new to me, as was working with a team of developers. And I loved it.
My gut feeling told me to continue on that career path, but my brain told me that I didn’t study for 5 years to go and do something completely different. So, I decided to go back to my roots and start a new job at a notary. Nonetheless, life is too short to hitch your wagon to a profession that doesn’t allow you to be fully yourself. So, as you can expect, I quitted the legal profession and started to search for a new career opportunity at a company that focused on innovation, change and digital transformation. I wanted to build solutions for my clients, not just provide them with (legal) advice. And through a LinkedIn search I came across ProjectiveGroup.
Quite some defining decisions and risks you took there. What did you do after that?
I didn’t know anyone at ProjectiveGroup which also resulted in not having any expectations. Honestly, who would hire someone with barely any project management-, nor transformation experience?
Nonetheless, I was invited for a first chat and we immediately clicked. My first meeting with the People team – ProjectiveGroup’s HR team – went very well as did the follow up interviews. The team understood why I wanted to leave the legal profession and noticed my drive for digitalisation, innovation and change and thus, my overall ambitions. I was offered a contract and the decision to join ProjectiveGroup was an easy one.
So, you’ve been at ProjectiveGroup for several months now and you are working on a digitalisation project. Can you tell us more about what it has been like?
I started as a product analyst on a digitalisation project for a well-known Insurance company in London. Currently, I’m reviewing the as-is business processes and making them future-proof. Next to that, I’m also working on a new solution to (partially) automate their contracts. So, I actually work a lot with legally trained people, for which my background is a great help.
What I like about my current job is that I can approach client issues with the analytical skills of a lawyer, while at the same time feel the freedom to design and implement innovative and creative solutions.
I started as a product analyst on adigitalisation project for a well-known Insurance company in London. Currently,I’m reviewing the as-is business processes and making them future-proof.
Another cool thing about this project – next to realising my own ambitions and working in the digitalisation space – is that I also work with DTSQUARED colleagues who joined ProjectiveGroup last year.
Next to my client work I’m also part of ProjectiveGroup’s wellbeing team. And that’s what I also like about working here. I have my project, but if I’m interested in something else, wellbeing in this case, there is the possibility to help on the existing initiatives or even start new ones.
That’s a nice situation to be in. So, you’re working for a client in London, does that mean you often have to travel?
I mostly work from my home country, Belgium, but once in while I travel to London and work from the client’s site or from the new ProjectiveGroup London office. I am given a lot of flexibility and they trust me to do my job no matter where I’m working from. But I admit that it’s always nice to see the people you work with face-to-face once in a while, and our London office has a great bar and terrace so I’m not complaining.
That’s cool. So do you think that ProjectiveGroup’s way of working and culture influenced your decision to join the company?
Yes definitely. At ProjectiveGroup, everyone is equal. I know, that sounds like a cliché but it’s really the case. Even without previous consulting experience, a junior profile is valued as much as a senior profile with more than 10 years of experience. The flat structure is not just a sales pitch, I can confirm this. For example – on my current project I’m working with a DTSQUARED colleague that has lots of experience in the field of digitalisation. So, hierarchically speaking, he’s several tiers above me. Yet, he has never treated me differently. This is how it should be in all organisations, but ProjectiveGroup really makes it happen. This makes me feel good and motivates me to improve my skills and knowledge.
Also, ProjectiveGroup gives me a lot of freedom. I’m in control of my own career. They don’t force me to do anything – except keeping the client happy – and every employee receives an annual training budget which we can use on whichever training we want. Not many companies allow that. Today I might want to learn more about change management, design thinking or blockchain technology and next year that might be DevOps. And that’s ok.
Alright, so now we know your past and present. What does the future hold?
I haven’t defined my long-term career goals yet. But what I do know is that I’m very interested in innovation, change management and new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and would love to work even more in product teams. Next to that, I would like to start my own company one day. The fun thing is, ProjectiveGroup is actually also super supportive about that and will help me in whichever way they can.
Thank you for the chat Jade! Clearly, the legal profession’s loss can be the financial services sector’s gain.
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