Pauwels Blog

Case: ISO 9001 training and audits for the Binding Site

26 Sep 2022

The essentials

  • The course: Practical training ISO 9001 and audit techniques
  • The participants: Internal employees of the Binding Site
  • The instructor: Luc Marivoet, QHSE Manager at Pauwels Consulting
  • The client: Amélia Bouzar, responsible for quality and regulatory affairs
  • The account manager: Koen De Borle, Training Program Manager at Pauwels Consulting
  • Format: Two-day workshop with theory and practice
  • Added value: Practical tips from the field
  • Added value: Coaching for the participants, even after the training
  • The result: The Binding Site can now evaluate its QMS itself.

What is the Binding Site?

The Binding Site researches, develops, manufactures and distributes specialist immunodiagnostic assays and instrumentation for clinicians and laboratory professionals around the world. The company has a strong focus on education, collaboration and innovation to improve the lives of patients.

Demand for ISO 9001 expertise

The Binding Site wants to be able to continuously evaluate whether their quality management system meets ISO 9001 requirements. Therefore, the company sought an experienced training partner to train internal staff on ISO 9001 and auditing quality management systems.

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ISO 9001 training and audits

Amélia, you are responsible for quality management at the Binding Site. How did you find Pauwels Consulting?

Amélia Bouzar: A few years ago, we were looking for an expert in ISO standards to train our people. Because we immediately felt that Luc truly understood our needs and wishes, we chose Pauwels Consulting as our external training partner.

Luc, you recently provided another ISO 9001 training course at the Binding Site. What exactly was that about and who was this course intended for?

Luc Marivoet: That’s right. I conducted a two-day workshop for the internal staff of the Binding Site. The purpose of the course was to educate the participants on the basics of ISO 9001:2015, the standard for quality management systems, and how to audit this standard according to ISO 19011:2018, the standard for auditing management systems.

Amélia: For us, it is very important that quality assurance is not the specialty of just a few people. We want to create multidisciplinary teams that can all talk about quality management. That’s why we opted for in-house training sessions with several participants.

What was the training like?

Luc: The training lasted 2 days. The first day we saw the most important theory behind the ISO 9001:2015 standard and solved practical exercises. Here the focus was mainly on the process approach and risk-based thinking.

On the second day, we introduced auditing. We shared tips on what to look for when planning audits and explained how to develop an audit program. We used case studies to teach how ISO 9001 audits should be conducted, what skills you need to do so, and the best way to report and follow up on audit results in an understandable way.

After the course, we will also guide and support the participants in conducting their internal audits.

What are participants capable of after this ISO 9001 training?
 
Luc: Participants will now be able to test whether their own (or an external) quality management system meets the ISO 9001:2015 standard. They now have the correct basic knowledge and skills to prepare, conduct, report and follow up on an internal audit.
 
Thank you for this explanation, Amélia and Luc! Koen, you brought the Binding Site in contact with Luc. What is the added value of this training?
 
Koen De Borle: This training is a good solution for companies and organisations that want to familiarise internal auditors quickly and properly with the theory and practice of ISO 9001 and audit techniques, or who want to refresh the expertise of their existing auditors.
 
The fact that the Binding Site can now evaluate their own quality management system strengthens their quality management. With the Pauwels Consulting certificate after the training, the participants can also demonstrate their suitability as internal auditors.
 
Luc is the ideal trainer for this, as he has obtained the additional certificate of QMS ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor. Just like all our other QMS consultants, he is therefore engaged daily in implementing and auditing quality management systems. We share these years of experience in the form of tips, cases and interactive exercises. We also guide and support the auditors during a ‘real’ internal audit. Thanks to this practice-oriented approach, the theory becomes much easier to remember.
 
Finally, an in-company or in-house training at the client’s is also cheaper and more practical than several people participating in courses with open registration. We can also tailor our in-company training more closely to our clients.
 
Can companies also count on Pauwels Consulting for other training courses? 
 
Koen: Of course. At Pauwels Consulting, we focus strongly on training, auditing and consulting. Through these types of training sessions, we want to further share our expertise and sharpen the skills of internal employees. Our training sessions are not just for beginners, but also for experienced employees who need a refresher.
 
We offer various in-house training courses that are guided by experienced experts from various fields within Life Sciences, Engineering and IT. We respond to current trends and needs, such as Lean IPD, (Site) Safety or MES. So don’t worry, there’s something for everyone!
 
That’s clear! Amélia, Luc and Koen, thank you for your answers, and good luck with your courses.   

ISO 9001 course

Would you like to give your quality management a boost, and follow an ISO 9001 course? Or would you like to organise an interactive training for a larger team in your company? Contact us below. We are happy to help!

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Pauwels Consulting celebrates graduates Acceleration Program

14 Jun 2022

On May 31, 2022, Pauwels Consulting celebrated the graduates of the second edition of the Acceleration Program. The Acceleration Program is a high-paced training program for ambitious Pauwels Consultants who want to further hone their professional skills. We organise this yearly program in collaboration with Ormit Talent, our sister company specialized in talent development.

Big shout out to all graduates and the superb trainers of this program. It was a pleasure working with you, feeling your energy, watching you grow and hearing your wonderful feedback on this program. We’re confident you’ll put your newly acquired insights and skills to good use, and we look forward to watching you thrive in your future projects.

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Join our next Acceleration Program

Are you an ambitious Pauwels Consultant and do you want to step out of your comfort zone to take on the bumpy road to growth? Invitations for the third edition will go out at the end of the summer, so keep a close eye on your email, or go ahead and send us a message below. We’ll get in touch with you shortly to discuss your candidacy.

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News

Stef Bal launches the Green Challenge 2022

24 May 2022

Last year Pauwels Consulting launched the Green Challenge. During the week of World Bicycle Day (June 3rd) we encourage our consultants to leave their cars aside and travel by bike or on foot as much as possible. 

To motivate our colleagues even more, we will donate to Think Pink an amount based on all registered ‘green’ journeys in that week. The more hours our consultants are active, the bigger the amount for Think Pink!

We spoke with Stef Bal, the Pauwels consultant who last year recorded the most green hours. We are curious to see whether he will defend his title this year!

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Stef, can you introduce yourself? 

Stef‘I am Stef Bal, 29 years old and I am a Quality Engineer and Validation Expert.’

Interesting! What exactly do those jobs entail? 

Stef‘I started at Pauwels Consulting as a Validation Expert. In that function, I set up complex analyses and performed risk analyses.

I am currently working as a Quality Engineer on my project. The first months I was lab supervisor. A very varied job in which you deal with many stakeholders and often need to be able to switch quickly.

In the meantime, since February, I have been responsible for Quality Assurance and I handle customer complaints, audits and all other tasks related to quality assurance.’

"Pauwels Consulting is a big player, and that opens the door to big companies and interesting training opportunities."

How did you end up at Pauwels Consulting? 

Stef: ‘In 2020 it was time for the next step in my career. Through my professional network I came across an interesting vacancy at Pauwels Consulting. And look, now I have been working here for 2 years!’

And that makes us very happy! What are the advantages of working for us? 

Stef‘First of all, Pauwels Consulting is a big player, which opens the door to big companies and interesting training opportunities. The internal team is always available and follows up on me, which I would like to thank them for!

Furthermore, I’ve been able to work on a lot of different projects. I could never have gathered that experience as an internal employee, and that is precisely what makes a Pauwels Consultant so valuable.’

Last year you were the winner of our Green Challenge. Are you going to defend your title in 2022? 

Stef‘Of course I am going to defend my title. (laughs) Unfortunately I have less time this year, so it will be more difficult. But in the end, it’s all about the idea behind it. Getting out more, enjoying nature and getting to know your colleagues… Participating is already winning in the Green Challenge.’

Last year you collected 29 green hours in one week. How did you manage that?

Stef‘Wow, I had already forgotten that I had spent 29 hours exercising. Quite crazy actually! 

I mainly walked. I didn’t have a bike at the time and if I had to run all those hours, I would never have made it to the end of the week.’ (laughs)

 

"The Green Challenge is the ideal initiative to bring consultants closer together."

Why did you take part in the Green Challenge? 

Stef: ‘I thought it was a fun challenge and of course I also wanted to do my bit for a good cause. We all know someone who has had to deal with breast cancer, and Think Pink does wonderful things. And of course, sustainability is also important.

Enough reasons to participate! What did you like most about the Green Challenge? 

Stef: ‘The connection with my fellow consultants. We are usually so spread out that we do not always know who our colleagues are. Thanks to the Green Challenge I got to know other Pauwels Consultants via Strava, LinkedIn and other social media. So this is the ideal initiative to bring consultants closer together.

And finally, one more question: what is your ultimate tip for colleagues who also want to participate?

Stef: ‘Everything is about planning. Last year, I worked a full-time job and had a flexi-time on Fridays and Saturdays. So I had to plan in advance on which days I had to perform more in order to move as many hours as possible.

Hence my advice: motivate yourself, make a good plan and go for it. Go crazy!

Stef, thank you for this interview and your tips!

Will you break Stef’s record this year?

Do you, as a Pauwels Consultant, also want to raise money for Think Pink? Quickly check your mailbox, register on Strava and start warming up for the week of 30/5 to 5/6. We wish you the best of luck!

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Koenraad Goddeau: an engineer with more than one passion

10 May 2022

Technical Engineer Koenraad Goddeau has now been a permanent member of the Pauwels Consulting team for nine years. But did you know that he also has a truly fascinating hobby?

We had an interesting conversation with Koenraad about engineering, childhood dreams and zythology, so if you are curious about what zythology is, find out below!

 

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Hi, Koenraad. Perhaps you can introduce yourself to our readers?

Koenraad Goddeau: Of course. My name is Koenraad Goddeau, I’m 50 years old and I live in Gooik with my partner and three children. I’ve worked for Pauwels Consulting since 2013, and at the moment I’m a Project Engineer.

What does a Project Engineer do exactly?

Koenraad Goddeau: I have a wide range of responsibilities in construction projects, both for new-builds and for conversions: method statements, material takeoffs, tenders, site organisation and site follow-up, safety and so on.

It’s all part of my day-to-day job. I’m also setting up a team that offers supporting engineering activities: the Engineering Technical Services Team.

How did you come to work at Pauwels Consulting?

Koenraad Goddeau: After I got my degree in Electromechanics, I took a one-year specialisation course in Control Theory. After a while I had the opportunity to join an international service team in the nuclear industry. That was a really great experience! 

After that, I worked as an international Commissioning Engineer for a company specialising in dust explosion protection. That was also very interesting.

After ten years of travelling, I decided to take on a challenge that was a bit closer to home. And that’s how I entered the exciting world of engineering consulting. I’ve now been a member of the Pauwels Consulting family for nine years.

"At the 2021 World Beer Awards in London, Goyck was awarded best beer in the 'Sour/Wild Ale' category."

You also have another passion besides engineering. What do you do in your spare time?

Koenraad Goddeau:

My hobby is beer brewing. My brewery Toots has marketed three beers already. The first beer is called Toots. It was named after Belgium’s national treasure, jazz musician Toots Thielemans. It’s a beer of high fermentation with a fairly low alcohol content and a subtle citrus aroma, which we achieved through dry hopping with Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand.

The second beer, Goyck, is the result of my collaboration with the Lindemans brewery. It’s a 5% blended beer that’s based on both Toots and a smooth Lambic. The last beer, the Belgian AmBassadeur, is a tripel made with green, freshly picked Saaz hop from the Czech Republic, which we brew only once every two years.

How interesting. So how did you become interested in beer brewing?

Koenraad Goddeau: I actually rolled from one hobby into another. (Laughs) About twenty years ago, I opened my own pub. It was my childhood dream, and I really wanted to expand my knowledge about beer. So I took a course in zythology, which is a different name for beerology, to become a beer expert. We brewed the Belgian AmBassadeur Beer as my graduation project. I loved it so much that I signed up for a brewing course.

And it paid off because you won a major award in 2021.

Koenraad Goddeau: That’s right. Goyck was named the best beer in the Sour/Wild Ale category at the World Beer Awards 2021 in London. It was a unique experience that I’m obviously very proud of. 

What’s also great is that it’s a collaboration with the Lindemans brewery. Geert Lindemans and I are both from Gooik and he’s a close friend of mine.

Do you have any special brewing plans in the near future?

Koenraad Goddeau: We celebrated what would have been Toots Thielemans’ 100th birthday on 29 April 2022, and we’ve launched a special edition of Toots in collaboration with the Toots Thielemans Private Foundation. We added a photo of Toots to our logo on the label and the foundation is selling the beer at a wide range of events. This autumn, we’re also launching a fourth beer: Saison Robert.

Before we say goodbye, could you tell us where our readers can buy the Toots brewery beers?

Koenraad Goddeau: Firstly, we have our own website and webstore: www.toots.be. Goyck is also available in the Lindemans brewery’s webstore. And of course, you can also find our beers at local specialised beer retailers.

I’m looking forward to tasting them! Thank you for this lovely chat, and good luck with the Toots brewery and your work at Pauwels Consulting, of course.

Would you like to drink a nice glass of Toots, Goyck or Ambassador? Quickly order your favorite at www.toots.be.

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Pauwels Consulting is a Trends Gazelle 2022

03 May 2022

Every year, Trends Magazine puts the spotlight on companies that have experienced remarkable growth. Per province 250 Trends Gazelles are chosen, based on their growth in added value, staff and cash flow. This year, Pauwels Consulting has been nominated again, for the twelfth time. And of course, we are very happy about that. We would like to give our employees the floor, because they made this possible!

Join the fun!

Would you also like to work for a company that is committed to healthy growth and the welfare of its employees? Then take a look at our vacancies page and apply. See you soon!

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Tailor-made talent development: The Pauwels Consulting Training Programs

22 Apr 2022

Finding talented employees for technical and technological bottleneck professions is not easy. That is why at Pauwels Consulting we consciously focus on talent development and competence training.

We do this by means of Training Programs, tailor-made for our consultants and our clients. From now on, we do not search feverishly for the perfect match between consultants and projects – we create that match by training and coaching the most suitable consultants in a goal-oriented way.

We caught up with Koen De Borle, our new Training Program Manager, and asked him about the advantages of the Pauwels Consulting Training Program for customers and consultants.

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Koen, you recently made a switch within Pauwels Consulting. You are now the very first Training Program Manager. Congratulations! Can you tell us more about your new role? 

Koen De Borle: Thank you! My new role is an exciting combination of new challenges and acquired insights in the consulting world. Previously, I worked as a Recruiter and Account Manager in the Engineering Unit. Now I am focusing on talent development and managing our Training Programs, through which we as a company aim to meet the changing needs and trends in our industry.

On the one hand, we see a scarcity of qualified personnel to fill the needs of our business partners in a timely manner. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates who have all the required skills, and who are quickly and fully available. On the other hand, we see the need for consultants to develop skills they currently lack.

Our Training Programs provide a solution for both parties. In an adapted service model, we now develop custom learning solutions for young & high potentials. This enables us to prepare them for specific projects in a targeted way. A win-win situation for our consultants and our clients.

"We constantly monitor our consultants and actively encourage them to continuously develop their talents so that we can ensure that 'perfect fit.' "

What exactly are these ‘custom learning solutions’? 

Koen: Our Training Programs are custom programs in which we optimally gear the knowledge, expertise and skills of our consultants to the needs of our clients. The duration of these programs can vary between a few months and 2 years. During this time, we guide our trainee consultants with a team of coaches, trainers, mentors and experts.

We have been stimulating active learning and talent development in our organization for some time. We have our own Pauwels Consulting Academy with seminars and webinars that our consultants are free to attend. We have also embarked on the digital road with some pilot projects in the field of e-learning. We have also been working for years with external training partners and a team of internal expert trainers.

And now we are literally going a step further. In our Training Programs we constantly follow up on our consultants and actively encourage them to develop their talents. In this way we can continue to guarantee the perfect fit with new projects.

Koen De Borle, Training Program Manager at Pauwels Consulting

That sounds interesting! What are the main benefits of the new Training Programs for the customer? 

Koen: Our new Training Programs enable us to prepare our consultants for new projects in a targeted way. So we no longer have to look for the perfect white ravens; we find suitable consultants and prepare them for their next projects.

Our clients get consultants who match their projects almost perfectly in terms of skills, knowledge and mindset, now and in the future. That is a strong added value at a time when the newspapers are full of the war on talent, and literally everyone is having a hard time finding suitable employees.

Because we have a strong network of consultants and can quickly set up Training Programs, we can quickly help our customers meet urgent needs. At the same time, we can also provide a good match for the long term because our clients have a direct say in the development of our consultant(s) in their teams.

"Our clients no longer have to search for the perfect candidate for their projects. You often can't find those anyway. We look for a good match, and we create the perfect fit through individual training and personal guidance from our consultants."

What skills are taught? 

Koen: Attitude is key, skills can be trained. At Pauwels Consulting we are completely convinced of that. Our recruiters therefore screen and qualify new candidates primarily based on their DNA. It has to match the DNA of Pauwels Consulting and the DNA and values of our clients. If we find such a high potential, we start up a Training Program.

We focus on 2 types of skills: knowledge and professional skills that need to be acquired to be able to do the job optimally, and soft skills that enable a seamless collaboration with the client’s team.

These professional skills, by the way, are constantly changing. After all, the current technological revolution means that our customers have to adapt even faster to an increasingly complex reality. Digitization, internet of things, AI, robotization and other developments constantly require new knowledge and skills from employees.

In such a changing environment, human skills are also becoming increasingly important. Emotional intelligence, modern communication and collaboration skills, proactivity, dealing with change and new digital tools, data and project handling… These are just a few key skills we can make a difference with. We ensure that our consultants are an optimal fit for our clients, in the short and long term.

Barbara De Greve, Account Manager Engineering at Pauwels Consulting

Sounds good! You’ve already indicated it a bit, but what are the benefits of the Training Programs for consultants? 

Koen: Our consultants receive in-depth coaching, training and mentoring with a strong focus on talent development. In this way they acquire skills that are currently scarce on the market. Here you can think of technical skills such as IT development, process validation and CSV, design engineering, prototyping, automation and project management, but also soft skills such as stress resistance, resilience, communication and collaboration.

Because every consultant is different, we work towards individual learning goals. We provide personal guidance and test the acquired knowledge and skills in modern and demanding settings by working together with professionals, peers and fellow trainees.

Young potentials get the chance to develop their talents through a tailor-made program, and high potentials can also further develop their career and gain additional knowledge and experience. At Pauwels Consulting, the growth and talent development of our consultants is more central than ever! This creates a win-win-win for our consultants, our clients and Pauwels Consulting as a company.

"We screen candidates to check whether their DNA matches that of Pauwels Consulting and the DNA and values of our clients. If that click is there, we make sure that our people's talent is developed further. Attitude is key, skills can be trained.

You mention young and high potentials. Who exactly qualifies for the Training Program?  

Koen: We focus for these programs on candidates who want to develop further or transform themselves within a particular expertise. These can be people of 25, 37 or 44 years of age. Age is not a deal breaker with us. We are looking for consultants who want to build on their level of knowledge at leading companies and give their best.

Some tips for interested candidates: curiosity and the ability to learn quickly will be decisive selection criteria, as will perseverance and a positive mindset. We screen for the skills that are key to success today: emotional intelligence, collaborative skills and the ability to handle change. If candidates have the right attitude, we can further develop the right skills with our Training Programs.

That’s all completely clear, Koen! Thank you for this interview and good luck with the roll-out of the Training Programs within Pauwels Consulting!

Maarten De Soete, participant Training Program

At Pauwels Consulting we are proud of our newest service that meets the scarcity in the candidate market and the development needs of our consultants.

Would you like to participate in a Pauwels Consulting Training Program? Check out our webpage, discover the benefits and contact us today to develop your talents.

Are you interested in discussing the benefits for you as a business partner? Contact our Training Program Manager Koen De Borle via the form below.

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We did it! Pauwels Consulting takes part in the Ghent Marathon 2022

11 Apr 2022

On Sunday 27 March, Pauwels Consulting joined 10,500 keen runners from 39 countries in the Ghent Marathon 2022. Consultants and back-office colleagues stood on the start line ready for the event they’d spent months training for. And boy, were they ready!

Unlike the glorious weather we enjoyed the day before, it was grey, foggy and chilly on Sunday morning. Runners warmed up on the start line with a chill in the air, but that couldn’t spoil the fun.

Practical organisation

Just like every year, the Ghent Marathon 2022 was very well organised. Participants could again rely on the help of pacemakers – experienced runners who all ran at a different, regular pace. They displayed their set speed on their backs and acted as a reference for runners. For inexperienced runners in particular, this was an excellent way of maintaining the pace and not getting too carried away by the music and supporters.

Runners’ times were also recorded using a chip that detected when they passed certain checkpoints, such as the start and finish line, allowing participants to track their time to the second. Supporters could also follow the runners on the Ghent Marathon 2022 website to help them cheer on their favourite athletes at several locations along the route.

The marathon gets underway

7,000 marathon and half-marathon runners were first to start. The starting gun sounded at 10:00, and they were off. Loud, uplifting music was played all along the route, with everyone in great spirits and cheering the runners on everywhere you looked. Runners also received a well-deserved reception in Ghent’s historic city centre.

An hour later, it was time for the 11km run. This route didn’t go through the city centre, but the runners did follow the half-marathon course along the Leie River for the last two kilometres. The race finished with a lap of the Topsporthal arena, where the runners could complete the marathon with music, cheers and applause ringing in their ears.

A great end to a great day

Lahcen El Matougui won the Ghent Marathon 2022 in a time of 2:27:37. The runners that followed were often emotional when crossing the finish line, proud that they’d reached the end. We saw grimaces of pain and tears of joy as well as a whole host of smiles. We had huge respect for all the runners, some of whom had been tackling the route for over five hours.

Once all of our colleagues had finished, we ended the day with a bite to eat and a drink. Tired but satisfied, we returned home that evening with stiff legs and huge smiles on our faces. Congratulations to everyone who took part, and here’s to next year!

Fancy taking up the challenge next year?

If you would like to take part in the next Ghent Marathon, the Corporate Cycling Challenge, the Green Challenge or another event, keep an eye on your mailbox as there are several fun challenges coming up in the near future. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Pauwels Consulting has made the Best Workplaces™ 2022 list

05 Apr 2022

After being recognised as a Great Place to Work® for a second time, we have also made the top 10 of Best Workplaces™ in the category ‘medium companies’ in Belgium. A feat we are very proud of!

Thank you to all of our colleagues and consultants for your enthusiasm and honest feedback. Of course, this doesn’t mean that our work is done. We will always strive to improve our organisation. Let’s continue to shoot for the moon!

What is Great Place to Work®?

Great Place to Work® measures the trust, pride and camaraderie within an organization to determine how well an organisation takes care of their employees. Employees fill out a survey ‘Trust Index’, in which they answer questions about their experiences working for the firm, and a Culture Audit maps the organisational practices. These scores are combined to determine if an organisation deserves the Great Place to Work® label.

Pauwels Consulting received the Great Place to Work® label for the second time in a row in January 2022.

What is Best Workplaces™?

In the category ‘medium companies’, 19 institutions received the Great Place to Work™ label. Of these certified organisations, the very best places to work also feature on the list of Best Workplaces™.

Pauwels Consulting placed 6th on the list of Best Workplaces™! We are very proud of this feat and we hope to do even better next year. Together, we can make Pauwels Consulting the absolute Best Workplace!

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Brent Ghijs supports Lopen voor Lyme

18 Mar 2022

Did you know that a tick bite can change your life from one day to the next? Unfortunately, Brent Ghijs’ sister, Tiana, can testify to that.

Tiana’s life has been dominated by Lyme disease for the last three years. Chronic fatigue, ailments and a hefty medical bill make Lyme disease a cruel disease.

That’s why this year, Tiana is organising a walk and run in Steenhuize-Wijnhuize for Lopen voor Lyme, a walking and running event held by the Lymefonds (Dutch Lyme Disease Fund) to help patients pay for their medical bills.

And it goes without saying that our colleague Brent wants to help his sister. So, he’s looking for sponsors or supporters to walk or run with him on 9 April. It’s a very heartwarming story!

Brent, would you briefly introduce yourself?

Brent: “Hello, I’m Brent Ghijs. I’m 26 years old and I’ve recently moved to Munkzwalm with my girlfriend. I work as a Fibre Engineer Consultant for Pauwels Consulting.”

Nice! How did you come to work at Pauwels Consulting?

Brent: “I tried a lot of courses at university, from ICT to health and well-being sciences, and eventually graduated as an industrial electrician.

In May 2021, Daniel from Pauwels Consulting asked me if I’d be interested in becoming a Fibre Engineer Consultant. And I’ve been working at Pauwels Consulting for almost a year now.”

And we’re very happy about that! What does a Fibre Engineer actually do?

Brent: “I take care of troubleshooting errors on the customer’s fibre network. I go on site if there are any network faults or outages, and once I’ve located the problem, I send subcontractors to fix it.

I also measure fibre-optic cables in head-end stations around Antwerp, Limburg and Brussels, and I do rack checks so work on the customer’s network can run smoothly.”

"Since my sister was diagnosed with her illness, she's no longer the cheerful person she used to be."

Interesting. Brent, we recently heard a great story about you. You’re organising a walk and run for the benefit of the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund. Can you tell us more about that?

Brent: “Well, my sister Tiana has had chronic Lyme disease for three years now. In that time, the disease has affected her body in its entirety. Since Tiana became ill, she hasn’t been the same. She lost her joy and enthusiasm for life, and she’s no longer the person she used to be. She lost her job due to the illness, so she also spends much less time out of the house.

At the same time, my sister is very strong-willed and, despite the fatigue and many pains and ailments, she’s still fighting the disease. As her big brother, I can’t let her do that alone. That’s why I’m supporting her ‘Lopen voor Lyme’ campaign.”

Why is Lopen voor Lyme needed?

Brent: “Treatment for chronic Lyme disease is different for each patient, which makes everything rather complex and expensive. The health insurance fund reimburses part of the costs for treatment for many illnesses, but in Belgium chronic Lyme disease is not recognised as a chronic illness.

In the past, Lyme disease was thought to be ‘just’ an acute infection that could be resolved with a four-week course of antibiotics. These treatment guidelines have never been updated, which means that the health insurance fund doesn’t help to cover the costs of treatment.

That’s why the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund created Lopen voor Lyme. Patients can register a team of runners and walkers for this event, and that team then raises money for both the patient and the charity.”

"Tiana often had to deal with 'medical gaslighting'."

Splendid, Brent. Let’s take a step back. You said your sister lost her joy for life. How does chronic Lyme disease affect your sister’s life?

Brent: “The disease has a huge, but also partly invisible impact on her life and on those around her. Tiana has virtually no immune system left, and several of her organs have been damaged. The disease affects her eyes, digestive system, muscles, joints, bladder, lungs, heart and even her brain.

As a result, she now has problems concentrating and can’t sit still or stand up for long, for example. At the same time, there have been days and months when she’s slept 22 hours a day and didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.

Unfortunately, outsiders can barely see how much the disease affects her as she doesn’t look ill. What’s more, Tiana is still trying to hide her symptoms from the outside world. Consequently, she often pushes herself beyond her own limits and has to pay for it afterwards.”

"Tiana is forced to watch her young life pass her by."

That’s really tough. Especially for someone so young!

Brent: “That’s right. The disease has a severe mental and emotional impact on her life. It took three years for my sister to get the correct diagnosis, and that hellish search has left deep scars. Tiana often had to deal with ‘medical gaslighting’, where doctors sweep patients’ complaints under the carpet. Nobody recognised Tiana’s symptoms, so she was often told that there was nothing physically wrong with her. One doctor even suggested it was basically all in her head.

At the moment, Tiana sees her friends and peers moving in together, getting married or having children. She’s forced to watch her young life pass her by. It’s also a grieving process: Tiana mourns for who she was and for the things she can no longer do. I hope that after the treatment, she’ll be back to normal and be able to continue her life as any of us should be able to.”

And that’s why you’re helping to organise the walk. How did you come up with that particular idea, Brent?

Brent: “My sister follows the Dutch Lyme Disease Association (Lymevereniging) and the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund closely to stay up to date on the latest breakthroughs and to get to know fellow sufferers. The Dutch Lyme Disease Fund organises an edition of Lopen voor Lyme every two years, and Belgians can also take part for the first time this year.

That’s convenient, because Tiana’s treatment is due to start in April. My sister signed up as soon as she heard about it. And I’d love to help her.”

Brent: “Lopen voor Lyme will take place on 9 April 2022. We’ll start at the ‘t Berghof café (Bergestraat 1) in Steenhuize-Wijnhuize between 12pm and 2pm. You can sign up at https://www.lopenvoorlyme.nl/brent-ghijs-team-tiana.

It only costs €5 to sign up, but you can choose to donate more if you wish. And if you can’t make it on 9 April, you can simply make a donation.”

Tiana

"The treatment takes about a year and will quickly reach €12,000."

And the money raised goes entirely to your sister?

Brent: “75% of the money raised goes directly to Tiana. The money will be used to pay for her treatment, which takes about a year and will quickly reach €12,000. That’s a huge sum, especially for someone who can’t work due to their illness.

The other 25% goes to the Dutch Lyme Disease Fund to fund research and prevention campaigns for the disease. Hopefully, we can make sure that future patients won’t have to suffer in the same way as Tiana.”

Can you tell us a bit more about the event itself?

Brent: “The walk or run is definitely worth it. Tiana and I have set a course in the cosy town of Steenhuize, where we grew up. It’s a farming village with lots of fields, so it will be a nice walk and run through nature and the neighbouring villages.

We walk or run together. You can walk or run quickly if you wish, but what’s important is that we want to send a message to the government that Lyme disease is a serious illness that wreaks havoc on your life.

We’ll also try to separate those taking part out a bit, however, to make sure the event is Covid-secure. That’s why we’ve chosen a free start between 12pm and 2pm.

Afterwards, there will also be some live music and a tombola, where people can enjoy a drink and some entertainment in ‘t Berghof, near the start and finish line.”

Sounds good. Who can take part?

Brent: “Everyone! Young or old, it doesn’t matter! The walk or run is 10 kilometres, but you can adjust your route if that’s too far or not far enough. It’s the taking part that counts, and the message we’re sending is even more important!”

"Every contribution is one step closer to my sister's healing process."

Brent, thank you for sharing your story with us. Do you have a final message for everyone?

Brent: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank Pauwels Consulting for their contribution and support in this project! Pauwels Consulting promised a family atmosphere and working environment when I started, and now they’re really putting their money where their mouth is. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who helped make this happen!

I’d also like to thank everyone who supports me and my sister, both with sponsorship and by coming along to walk or run. Each contribution is one step closer to my sister’s healing process, and is another step forwards in treatment.

And finally, I’d also ask everyone to enjoy life each and every day! For most of us, getting up in the morning to go to work, playing sport or doing other things is a given, but that’s not the case for everyone.”

Thank you, Brent. We wish you and Tiana every success with the event and the treatment!

You'd also like to support Tiana and Brent?

Visit https://www.lopenvoorlyme.nl/brent-ghijs-team-tiana to register for the running and walking event or make a donation. Pauwels Consulting is a warm-hearted family. We're grateful for everyone's efforts!

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Pauwels Blog

From colleagues to running buddies: an extra challenge for Lize and Lisa

04 Mar 2022

Besides being colleagues at Pauwels Consulting, Lize and Lisa are fast friends and running buddies. Together, they run 5 km a few times each week in Ghent, while at the weekend they both train for the 11K event that is part of the Ghent Marathon. We asked them about their motivation, experiences and aspirations.

Hi there, Lize and Lisa. Can you briefly introduce yourselves?

Lize: I’m Lize. I’m 27 years old and I live with my partner and 2 cats in Ghent, just 3 minutes from our office by foot. I’ve been the Recruitment Lead of the Life Sciences team in Flanders since the start of this year, making me responsible for all our recruitment activities.

Lisa: And I’m Lisa. I’m 25 years old and I work as a Recruitment Consultant at Pauwels Consulting. I also have 2 cats, and I also live in Ghent (laughs).

Nice to meet you, Lize and Lisa! How did you end up at Pauwels Consulting?

Lize: After doing my Master’s in Social Economics and teacher training, I started looking for my first ‘real’ job in the summer of 2019. I wanted something fast-paced and ambitious, which is why I ended up setting my sights on recruitment. Pauwels Consulting jumped out from the pack. The young, enthusiastic energy here really won me over.

Lisa: For me, it was the company culture at Pauwels Consulting that appealed to me immediately. After my Master’s degree in History and Communication Sciences, I was not exclusively looking for a job as a recruiter. But then I took a kind of fun test on the Pauwels Consulting website,  after which I was contacted to submit my application. So I did, and now I’m here (laughs).

That’s great. Have you been running together for long?

Lisa: No. Neither of us is very sporty. We both started feeling pretty down in summer 2021, and thought it would be a good idea to exercise. Unfortunately, we don’t exactly have the time or energy to work out before or after work. That’s why we now go running in the Zuidpark during our lunch break. Through the ‘Start to Run’ programme, we’ve slowly improved our conditioning, and we now run 5 to 10 km in one session.

Lize: I sometimes jokingly say that I like to eat, so I go running in order to keep eating. On a serious note, though, we work high-stress jobs where we sit all day long. We both felt that we needed more movement in our lives.

Thanks to running, I now have more energy and I feel better about myself. ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’ is a saying that rings true for me. After all, it’s not just about exercising. Running for an hour is also a way to relieve stress during a busy work day.

Lisa: That’s exactly right! Evy from Start to Run also always says that you know you’re setting a good pace when you can talk while running (“the talk test”). Getting some air while having a positive effect on your body and your conditioning are all good things that come from running!

What’s more, getting started is easier than most sports. All you need are some good running shoes. Once you walk out that door, you’re on your way.

You’ve now both registered for the 11K section of the Ghent Marathon. How did you come around to doing this?

Lisa: They always say: “If you can run 5 km, you can run further.” We signed up to take on an extra challenge. It’s something to look forward to and train toward.

Lize: It’s the first time I’ll be participating in a running competition, so my expectations aren’t especially high. I would just love to reach the finish line, preferably more alive than dead. (laughs)

Are you specifically preparing for the Ghent Marathon?

Lize: Not really. I bought a good sports watch a few months ago, and I mainly use it to monitor my heartbeat. In the meantime, I know my own pace and if I can keep up I’ll be really happy.

Lisa: We’re training just the same as we did before. For us, the pace doesn’t matter much. Monitoring our heartbeats is the most important thing. Sometimes we do interval training or train at a higher heart rate. Above all, we believe it’s important to maintain our conditioning so that we stay in good shape.

Have you gotten to know Ghent better during your training?

Lize: I’d say I’m finally getting to know Ghent. I’ve lived here for two years, and during our countless coronavirus walks, I’ve been down virtually every street in the city. I find genuine enjoyment running here, especially when the sun is shining. I never thought I’d say it, but it gives me energy.

Could you do without running anymore?

Lisa: It depends. I get a runner’s high if I run more than 5 km. The first 5 km are always the hardest, but after that, I just keep going. I also feel the itch to run. If I can only run once in a week, I find myself really looking forward to running more the following week. It gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

Lize: It’s the same for me! Sadly, I don’t get a runners high, and the first few kilometres are always a battle for me. That’s something I still need to get over. Still, I’ve never regretted running after a run.

How do you motivate yourself to go running?

Lize: Our recipe for success is to run together in the afternoon when we’re both in the office. That allows us to spur each other on. Or, if I’m being honest, it’s mainly Lisa dragging me along with her (laughs).

I also like to listen to upbeat music. That gives me energy. When I’m having a longer running session, though, I prefer to listen to a podcast. It makes me forget that I’m running.

Lisa: I can’t run while listening to a podcast. I just chat with Lize or listen to music. I need something with a beat to give me energy.

Do you have any final tips for other consultants who would like to start running?

Lisa: If you’re not used to it yet, it’s best to build up your fitness through a programme like Start to Run. And be sure to buy a good pair of running shoes!

Lize: It’s not hard to get started. You just have to get out there and do it. Then it’s just a matter of sticking with it. My biggest tip: if you find it difficult to motivate yourself, find someone with whom you can run at the same pace together. That helps me enormously. Good luck!

Thank you for the interview, Lize and Lisa! We wish you every success and enjoyment in your training. I’ll see you on 27 March at the Topsporthal in Ghent for the 11K. Looking forward to it!

Ghent Marathon 2022

Feel like signing up for the Ghent Marathon as well? Join Team Pauwels Consulting and run with us! Contact us for more information.

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Joke Roggeman Welcome Officer