14 Years of Excellence: Pauwels Consulting Named Trends Gazelle Ambassador in Flemish Brabant’s Extra Large Companies Category

25 Mar 2024

Pauwels Consulting celebrates its 14th consecutive year as a Trends Gazelle, this year achieving the Ambassador title in the large companies category in Flemish Brabant. Through rigorous evaluation of growth metrics like value addition and workforce expansion, Pauwels Consulting reaffirms its commitment to excellence and innovation in the region’s business landscape.

CEO Bert Pauwels proudly received the award, as this year marks a milestone that's particularly close to our hearts—it's the first time we've been judged in the category of large companies in Flemish Brabant, and we've been awarded as the # 1 Trends Gazelle Ambassador!

Achieving the Title of Trends Gazelle Ambassador

In a remarkable achievement for the 14th consecutive year, Pauwels Consulting has clinched the prestigious title of Trends Gazelle from Trends Kanaal Z. This year, however, holds special significance as it marks our inaugural evaluation in the large companies category in Flemish Brabant, where we proudly secured the top position as the #1 Trends Gazelle Ambassador!

The Path to Becoming a Trends Gazelle

The journey to becoming a Trends Gazelle is not paved with flashy presentations or dynamic sales pitches; rather, it is forged through robust growth metrics: increased value addition, expansion in workforce, and enhanced cash flow.

Objective Selection Process

Unlike typical awards where companies vie for recognition, Trends Gazelle selection operates on an objective premise. Every company filing its balance sheet with the National Bank automatically enters the reckoning. Trends Business Information meticulously analyzes financial data from the past five fiscal years to create an impartial ranking.

The Significance of Hard Figures

According to Jozef Vangelder, a respected journalist at Trends, “The Gazelle competition thrives on hard figures, which is its inherent strength. It’s not a beauty contest; subjectivity plays no role. The ranking is solely determined by the company’s growth over the last five years—measured in terms of value addition, cash flow, and workforce. The top-ranked company earns the title of ‘Ambassador,’ provided it maintains operational independence, excluding subsidiaries of multinationals. Pauwels Consulting’s top spot in the category of large companies in Flemish Brabant this year underscores its status as the highest-ranked independent Flemish company, rightfully earning it the accolade. It’s a well-deserved win; Pauwels Consulting’s fourteenth nomination as a Gazelle is a testament to its phenomenal performance.”

Quantitative Analysis by Trends Top

Trends Top’s quantitative analysis categorizes companies into three groups based on their value addition:

  1. Small companies (with value addition less than 1 million euros)
  2. Medium-sized companies (with value addition ranging from 1 to 5 million euros)
  3. Large companies (with value addition exceeding 5 million euros)

Criteria for Evaluation

Trends Gazelles are the fastest growing companies. To evaluate their growth, a period of five years is analyzed. To obtain this year’s results, the 5 years between 2022 and 2018 are being considered.

Their financial records from the past five years are then scrutinized against three growth criteria, and a ranking is established based on:

  • Increase in value addition
  • Expansion of workforce
  • Enhancement of cash flow

There are minimum requirements to qualify. The first is that the company has been founded over 5 years ago. Another criterion is that companies must have created at least 10 job positions since inception to qualify. Furthermore, Trends’ editorial team ensures that the companies exhibit sufficient operational independence.

Recognition and Commendation

The company topping the list earns the esteemed title of Trends Gazelle Ambassador for a year and receives commendation. All other qualifying companies are recognized as nominees for Trends Gazelle 2024.

A Testament to Dedication and Excellence

In essence, the Trends Gazelle award isn’t just a badge of honor; it’s a testament to unwavering dedication, relentless growth, and operational excellence. As we celebrate this milestone, Pauwels Consulting remains committed to driving innovation, fostering talent, and contributing to the dynamic business landscape of Flemish Brabant and beyond.

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Pauwels Consulting is a Best Workplace in 2024

20 Mar 2024

Pauwels Consulting is in the top three Best Workplaces in the Extra Large Organisations category! We achieved second place among top companies striving for an ever-improving workplace where everyone feels at home and where there is room to excel. What does this mean for us, our employees and our customers?

Pauwels Consulting ontving de award van Best Workplace in de categorie extra grote bedrijven.
Pauwels Consulting is a Best Workplace 2024 in the category extra large companies

What does Best Workplace mean?

The ‘Best Workplace in Belgium’ award is awarded to organisations that excel in creating a positive working environment for their employees. This recognition is awarded based on various criteria, including employee surveys, culture, working conditions, leadership, and other factors that contribute to employee well-being and satisfaction.

A work environment to be proud of

For us, this recognition is not only a prestigious title, but also a confirmation of our efforts to provide an excellent working environment. It means that our employees can enjoy a working environment where trust, pride and fun are central. This not only has a positive impact on their well-being, but also on their performance and engagement.

Great Place to Work 2024

Earlier this year, we were named Great Place to Work in the Large Organisations category for the third year in a row. We are extremely proud of this title, particularly because we are actively working on improving our organisational culture on a continual basis. By regularly collecting feedback and listening to our employees, we can continue to grow and develop as an employer. This enables us not only to satisfy our current workforce, but also to remain attractive to future talent.

What does Great Place to Work mean?

The title is the result of a positive review by research and consultancy firm Great Place to Work. In Belgium, the organisation chose to collaborate with Vlerick Business School. This is where the researchers can be found who analyse our results and report back to us with a clear overview of the outcomes.

Pauwels Consulting prepares the survey itself by conducting an extensive culture audit based on predefined questions. This audit is carried out by the internal Great Place to Work team, consisting of employees from different teams with a lot of experience. The topics we cover in the audit include our characteristics as an employer, our approach to creating a unique work environment, our strategy and philosophy, and how we maximise the potential of all our employees. All services, the aspects we are proud of, and what sets us apart from other companies are also covered.

The second part of the survey involves the Trust Index Survey, a standardised questionnaire that Great Place to Work provides to all our employees. This measures the level of pride, trust and satisfaction within our organisation. This structured approach gives our employees the opportunity to share suggestions and feedback anonymously, contributing to a culture of transparency and continuous improvement.

Pauwels Consulting is a Best Workplace

How do you become a Best Workplace? We achieved a highly positive result in our culture audit and Trust Index Survey as part of Great Place to Work, ranking in the top ten of all participating companies in the Extra Large Organisations category. This meant we received an automatic nomination for the title Best Workplace.

And the verdict came in last week – we were ranked second in the Extra Large Organisations category for Best Workplace in Belgium! We are extremely honoured to be among great companies such as Bank van Breda (first place) and Torfs (third place).

Specifically, this means that our score in the Great Place to Work survey came second among all companies in our category.

Always learning

The Great Place to Work and Best Workplace labels help us to stand out in the market as a great place to work. They are a sign of quality that build trust with both our current and future colleagues and customers. We are therefore determined to continue to earn this recognition and to maintain and strengthen our position as one of the best workplaces in Belgium.

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Ambassadors bring the spirit of Pauwels Consulting to its clients

05 Mar 2024

Pauwels Consulting is known for its high-quality approach in the world of consultancy, as well as for its personal touch where human connections are key. Our ambassadors play a crucial role in cementing this reputation. Who are the ambassadors of Pauwels Consulting? And what does it mean to be an ambassador, exactly? In this blog article, we tell you all about ambassadors, their role and their impact on our company culture.

Our ambassadors received an award at the annual Pauwels Consulting New Year's Party for going the extra mile and creating valuable connections.

A need for stronger connections

The world of consulting can be a revolving door of new faces when it comes to carrying out projects on clients’ premises. We wanted to create a more personal approach for the consultants, which is how the idea of appointing ambassadors came about in 2019. The rapid growth of Pauwels Consulting also meant that we needed other ways to provide new colleagues with a warm, personal onboarding experience.

In addition, we became more aware of the separation between the daily life of the consultants on site at our clients and their connection with Pauwels Consulting. How could we better communicate our values and DNA? Ambassadors serve as essential links between the on-site work, the company and our core values, enabling us to establish a stronger connection with the consultants.

As the first point of contact, I'm ready to support my fellow consultants. I also organise a monthly on-site lunch, so I can ask the participants how their project is going and how they feel.

A personalised, on-site approach

We asked several consultants with a proactive mindset who embody the values of Pauwels Consulting whether they wanted to become ambassadors. They were duly appointed as the point of contact for all consultants who work as consultants through Pauwels Consulting.

Céline Van Puymbrouck, L&D Coordinator and the driving force behind this concept, explains: “We wanted to offer new employees a warm, personal onboarding experience  at the client’s premises as required  while appointing an ambassador who fully embodies our Pauwels DNA.”

What do our ambassadors do?

Ambassadors at Pauwels Consulting play a unique role. This role is not specifically defined; it varies based on their own level of motivation and commitment.

What do they do, exactly? The ambassadors are the point of contact for the Pauwels colleagues who work for the same client. They facilitate the smooth flow of information, for example by relaying onboarding information from the client, informing others of standard conduct on the shop floor, or simply showing consultants around all the buildings. For larger groups, such as those in the pharmaceutical industry, ambassadors regularly organise events and dinners to reinforce team spirit.

They also build bridges between Talent Managers, consultants and clients, helping to identify any issues and, on occasion, find business opportunities.

“Ambassadors are clients’ eyes and ears for talent managers.” Melina Uyttebroeck, Talent ManagerOur Talent Managers are committed to regular personal contact with each consultant. In addition to regular follow-ups and their involvement in evaluations, Talent Managers are always available to consultants who want to request training, coaching or mentoring.

Well-being among consultants

An ambassador’s role can also be more in-depth. For example, they can have a significant impact when it comes to mental health. As a point of contact on the same site, they tend to notice more quickly when something is going on within the team. Listening to each other and offering support makes a real difference to the well-being of the consultants.

As Charlotte Bryssinck, an ambassador at a leading pharmaceutical company, makes clear: “As the first point of contact, I’m ready to support my fellow consultants. I also organise a monthly on-site lunch, so I can ask the participants how their project is going and how they feel. This enables you to respond quickly and pass on any issues to the relevant person in good time or even help solve them yourself.”

In short, ambassadors are closely involved in cultivating a healthy company culture and are invaluable at maintaining the human touch within our growing organisation.

What makes a good ambassador?

What makes someone a good ambassador at Pauwels Consulting? It goes beyond having professional skills. A good ambassador is very sociable, acts as the default ‘go-to person’, opens up easily, is willing to listen, and can connect well with people.

“If there’s something on your mind and you want to discuss it with someone, the person you picture doing that is a good ambassador.” Melina Uyttebroeck, Talent Manager

The ambassador’s method

Ambassadors support our consultants in their own way. Valentin and Toon are good examples of what it is our ambassadors are doing.

Valentin Jacobs is an IT security consultant and our ambassador at a multinational pharmaceutical company. He has arranged for the creation of a web page where new consultants can find all the information they need about working with the client. This includes practical details, policies, parking information, lunch arrangements and more. This results in a warm welcome for newcomers, ensuring they settle quickly in a large company environment.

Toon Budeners, who works as a Digital Engineer consultant and is an ambassador at a leading company in the pharmaceutical industry, reveals his commitment to our onboarding approach: “I try to help with onboarding when needed. […] From the moment someone starts working with the client, I try to build and maintain a sense of the ‘Pauwels Consulting Family’. […] It is important to feel part of the Pauwels family, more than being part of the client’s family though both are important, of course.”

Other ambassadors have also created Teams groups and email groups for their fellow consultants who are working for the same client. This makes it easy for them to organise meetings or lunches and keep in constant contact with each other. This also fosters cameraderie between colleagues and allows them to organise after-work sessions or simply chill out with each other.

Ambassadors have an impact on the company

The ambassadors contribute to Pauwels Consulting in other ways, too, providing valuable input that we can use to improve things internally. We regularly organise meetings where they share their ideas on all manner of topics. These workshops are important because they allow ambassadors to talk directly to management. This, in turn, enables us at Pauwels Consulting to look at what could be improved and understand how we can grow thanks to the feedback from the ambassadors.

These workshops have led us to identify around fifty action points, with roughly five per department. This really shows how much impact ambassadors have on our policy of continuous improvement at Pauwels Consulting.

Examples of action points 

Thanks to the action points that we established during a meeting with all ambassadors, we now organize two intervisions every year. These are a kind of round table discussions where real cases are brought forward, and the group comes to a solution together. This was an idea that came out of the workshop. At such an intervision, all ambassadors come together with a Talent Manager, who acts as moderator. 

Another example of an action point that has already been realized is that we are now committed to more effective communication with the consultants through social media and a new and more up-to-date intranet. For this, the ambassadors also gave concrete ideas about what information is communicated such as company news, information about training options and new employees in the support internal team.

The ambassadors also passed on that there is a lot of interest in the afterwork events and events on-site at the customers. We are now organizing more targeted afterwork events spread across the regions where the Pauwels consultants operate.

Become a consultant at Pauwels Consulting

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Stef looks back on his Training Program

27 Jun 2023

Stef made a career leap with a Training Program

We followed consultant Stef through his experience in a Training Program. The program came to an end and he can now call himself an upskilled MES system engineer consultant working for a major player in biotech. How does Stef look back on his Training Program and more importantly, how does he look to the future with new skills and knowledge in his pocket?

What did you expect from the Training Program at first?

I was looking forward to deepening my knowledge of MES and taking my expertise to the next level. I was indeed trained in MES and could already gain a lot of experience hands-on on the job. But I also learned many other skills that allowed me to settle in faster and allow me to work more efficiently, I didn’t think business skills could have such an impact.

What else did you learn during the Training Program?

I learned about the DISC model in training sessions and then put it into practice. It is a tool to better understand the behavior of the people around you and consequently make it easier to work together. I had never really considered that communication skills could be useful before. Furthermore, I enjoyed the training sessions on MES and Troubleshooting, which I was particularly skilled at.

Was your Training Program challenging?

Being able to focus on training sessions, your new project and your personal life at the same time was challenging sometimes. But the program was not constantly as busy, overall, I found the schedule very reasonable. You also notice that you are moving forward.

In what sense did your career improve in the Training Program?

I am now an MES system engineer. I believe that the scope of my position has expanded faster than my client’s own expectations and I can now handle more responsibilities. I owe that progress to the Training Program. And my own efforts, of course!

What will you take with you into the next steps of your career?

I have learned new ways to approach the people around me, and I find that this improves my collaboration skills. This, in turn, also improves my self-confidence. With more self-confidence, you dare to tackle more.

Who would you recommend applying for a Training Program?

I think I would recommend the Training Program especially to people early in their careers. They tend to be younger and the most flexible, which gives them room for rapid growth and they are able to put in some extra commitment. But more experienced people who want a change or want to specialize can also get real value out of a program.

Are you curious about where you could be next year? Let’s talk! We look forward to getting to know you and seeing your potential.

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Pauwels Blog

What is Pride Month?

07 Jun 2023

What is Pride Month?

During Pride Month we celebrate the acceptance, equality and the work of LGBTQI+ people. You will see parades, people marching the streets and organize many events to discuss the theme. June has become the month to create more awareness around LGBTQI+ history and related themes.

History plays a big part in Pride Month because LGBTQI+ history hasn’t been recorded until recent times in our modern society. We think back to the Stonewall riots, but also remember the HIV pandemic that cost many lives in the 80s and 90s and take a moment to recognize discrimination and violence.

Why do we celebrate Pride Month in June?

Pride Month has its origin in June 1970, when the first annual commemoration of the Stonewall riots took place. The New York City Inn had been harassed by police raids and aggression for years before the mainly LGBT-guests stood up for themselves. Never before had the LGBTQI+ community fought back in large numbers against the violence they systematically faced. Newspapers, protest groups and a clear call for acceptance emerged from this moment.

Pride and inclusivity each day of the year

June is a good month to put an extra spotlight on this topic, especially as we are surrounded by celebrations like Brussels Pride and read more news on LGBTQI+ issues. But awareness is a stepping stone, of course. How can we make sure we all feel safe and welcome at work?


Don’t make assumptions about someone’s gender or orientation and try to challenge your own prejudices. You can do this by looking up information and showing interest in someone else’s view of the world. Got any questions? This LGBTQI+ glossary can help you look up answers or open a conversation.

Stand up against exclusion

Do you hear that someone uses derogatory language, excludes people or deprives them of opportunities? Challenge this or contact a responsible person. It is a challenge to educate everyone about inclusion and diversity and fortunately we have the means to do so. At Pauwels Consulting, we highly value inclusiveness and diversity. We attach great importance to everyone being able to be themselves and we provide a safe environment for all employees.

Listen to real stories

Pride is not a distant concept. In 70 countries, homosexuality is criminalized, only 11 countries have LGBTQI+ rights included in their constitutions and all over the world LGBTQI+ persons are victims of violence. In an increasingly diverse society, the need for awareness and acceptance is rising and public polarization is increasing. Belgium fortunately did rise to second place this month, May 2023, on the Rainbow Index, an annual assessment of legislation and policies around gender and sexual diversity. 

These are all facts that affect people’s lives. When you learn and talk about this, you are already doing much more than just putting a rainbow flag on your desk. On this website, çavaria, you can read news, facts and more.

Let your LGBTQI+ colleagues have their say

As colleagues, we learn from each other every day and encourage our teammates to express themselves as they wish. Pauwels Consulting wishes everyone the freedom, conviviality and acceptance to be themselves. Read a great testimonial from last year here. For example, our colleagues say, “We don’t want everyone to dress up specially in a rainbow jersey at all and tell us that ‘being gay is okay’, instead we want every colleague to feel treated equally and to be seen, involved and appreciated.”


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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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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels Blog

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: 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

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer

Pauwels Blog

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

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.”


"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!

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Visit 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

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Pauwels Blog

From overweight teen to sportaholic: a wonderful story

25 Feb 2022

If you had told Stephanie at 15 that she would be running, horse-riding and boxing at the age of 25, that she would be sweating her way through HIIT sessions and that she would participate in the Ghent Half Marathon, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.

We had a wonderfully honest conversation with Stephanie about her difficulties with obesity in her youth, and the passion for sports and dietetics that came from it. If you need some inspiration for your next sporting challenge, keep reading.

Stephanie, would you briefly introduce yourself?

Stephanie: I’m Stephanie De Sterck. I’m 25 years old and I live in the countryside in Lierde. My partner lives in Lede, and I work as a complaints analyst in Puurs. Each day, I investigate and follow up on complaints for a major pharmaceutical company.

Interesting! How did you find your way into this job?

 Stephanie: After completing my studies in Nutrition and Dietetics, I started working as a quality manager at Solina in the food industry. It was a nice job, but I wanted to take on a new challenge. Last year, Maxime from Pauwels Consulting contacted me for an interesting project and voilà – now I’m here. I investigate complaints on a daily basis, I check whether they are justified, I look at samples, and I investigate where potential errors have occurred.

What do you do to clear your head in the evening?

 Stephanie: Exercise! It can really calm me down. I used to want to challenge myself by seeing if I could run faster within a specific time. I was very focused on figures and results at the time, and I was meticulous with my diet. I weighed everything. Now I exercise more for fun and to find a sense of inner peace.

My brother renewed my motivation to eat and exercise a lot.

Weighing up your diet… it calls for discipline! Have you always been so conscious about sport and health?

 Stephanie: No, and this is perhaps my greatest intrinsic motivation. Up until my 15th birthday, I was always obese. As a result, I developed an eating disorder when I turned 15. My brother gave me the motivation to start eating again and exercising a lot at 16.  Strength training, high-intensity interval training, boxing, running… I did it all – and I still do. I’ve also taken up horse-riding in the last year. Most days I don’t sit still.

On 27 March, you’ll be running the Ghent Half Marathon with Pauwels Consulting.

 Stephanie: That’s right! I’m looking forward to it. I like to challenge myself to try new things and I like to set goals. After a few viking runs, it’s now the perfect opportunity to take on a longer distance and also meet my colleagues at Pauwels Consulting. I expect that I’ll have a hard time because I’ve just been out with a fracture for two months, but a good mindset can do wonders.

You’re right! Do you do any specific preparation for a half marathon like this one?

 Stephanie: Yes, I do. While injured, I’ve been walking around inside or outside four or five times a week. Now I have to build up my strength. Luckily, I recover quickly, so I think I’ll be ready in time.

In any case, I try to run at least three times a week in preparation for any run. I alternate this with HIIT routines, and I took up horse-riding last year. In the last two weeks before a run, I also increase my carbohydrate intake to make sure I have sufficient carbohydrate reserves at the start. The day before a run I usually rest, eat some spaghetti and go to bed early.

Close the laptop, throw on some clothes and get out there.

How do you combine this with your work schedule?

 Stephanie: I still work a lot from home. That’s perfect for getting plenty of exercise in. I prefer to run in the morning, but if I start at 7am then I’m not too keen to get up to go for a run at 5am. In that case, I’ll just go running after work. Close the laptop, throw on some clothes and get out there. And if it’s too cold, I just jump on the treadmill. With the right music, I can always motivate myself.

Do you have any tips for other consultants who want to start running?

 Stephanie: Above all, try to enjoy it. Sport doesn’t have to be a competition. It’s the perfect way for me to relieve stress. That’s why I don’t have Strava or any other app. I’d like to see my distances, but my times aren’t as important to me as they used to be. Pay attention to that kind of thing for too long and you’ll have a sports burnout, and then the fun’s gone.

I would also say: be patient in building up your stamina and take regular breaks. Don’t just go out and run 20 kilometres if you haven’t trained for it. Start by jogging for 10 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes and build it up from there. Even if you have a strong intrinsic motivation, you should also look for external factors that make running (even) more fun. A pleasant environment, a fun playlist or a fun dog that can join you: it can make a world of difference.

Thank you for the tips, Stephanie, and for your great story and openness. I wish you every success and enjoyment in preparing for the half marathon. See you at the Flanders Sports Arena in Ghent on 27 March! Train hard!

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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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer