“I want to inspire women of all ages to get into technology”

If I’m passionate about something, I aim for the stars. This covers technology but also leadership skills, well-being and my latest passion, cycling. However, my passion for technology has always been there. Technology is risky, complex and creative, all at the same time. What’s not to like! It’s also how I first discovered Accenture thanks to a guest lecture on campus about Data Monetization. I then participated in the local round of the Accenture Master Class at Vlerick Business School in Ghent. It was a nice surprise to be selected for the national two-day final! That experience convinced me to join Accenture and after more than five years, I’m still convinced.

  • © Leyla Hesna

Meet Dorien Van Steenberge, Associate Manager in Technology Resources & Top 5 ICT Young Lady of the Year 2019 & 2021

I believe in connections between people, and I have nothing but good connections with Accenture people. I cut my teeth as part of a team working on the design of a major data exchange solution. When I started, I studied the content of the project from A to Z. This was noticed and my role evolved from content development and workshops with clients to coaching and managing a 20-strong team of developers in India as well as leading a local functional team in Belgium. I always want to excel in what I’m doing, while having a maximum positive impact on the people around me, taking them to a higher level. Only when I’m able to achieve the latter do I feel energized and consider myself successful. People are the only constant in a world that is continuously changing

"People are the only constant in a world that is continuously changing"

Sometimes, as a team lead, you can lose sight of your scope. I can’t chart my own progress; my progress is that of the team. To balance this, I have side projects. For example, I am a facilitator of Design Thinking workshops at Ghent University and I’ve recently become closely involved in Accenture’s Next Generation Female Leaders initiative, finding clever ways to inspire and motivate future female tech talent of all ages. Yes, you need an affinity for technology, but this can originate from anywhere. If you are openminded and eager to learn, you can definitely work in technology. And if you have a specialty industry, that’s an added bonus when it comes to connecting with people in that sector. At Accenture, I have colleagues from a wide variety of study backgrounds, ranging from bio engineering to design!

"Reaching the Young ICT Lady of the Year Top 5 - twice - is a great feeling"

In 2019, I was proud to reach the Top 5 finalists for Young ICT Lady of the Year. The nomination came as a surprise and I was very honored to see my professional mission being recognized by others, even outside Accenture. It was a unique opportunity to critically assess my technology career so far, define my ambitions for the future, and share my enthusiasm for technology with other young women.

In 2020, rather than participate again, I stayed in close contact with the winner, Julie Scherpenseel, supporting her in the organization of the Young Potential Boostcamp. In 2021, I was ready to take a second chance and once again I was honored to reach the Top 5! Being part of the Young ICT Lady of the Year journey is so much more than working towards a title. It’s mainly (and maybe only) about having a platform and endless opportunities to make an impact.

My ultimate goal is to become a high performing, people-centric woman leader at Accenture, with my own leadership style, serving as a role model for others. I’m convinced that we are entering a new leadership era, where expectations of leaders are shifting towards delivering more sustainability in its broadest sense. This topic is very close to my heart and I’m seizing all the opportunities I get to follow leadership training programs and seminars. I’m also working on a sort of “leadership playbook”. I truly believe that leaders should dare to be different and dare to stand out in order to be inspirational. Rational thinking will not enable you to give purpose to others, to motivate and move them. You need to feel it in your gut and make room for intuition, then you can make the magic happen.

I’m lucky that Accenture encourages me to look ahead, to evaluate how I feel, establish clear lines and when something feels wrong, to stop and talk about it. Our Future Leaders Program offers us the opportunity to take a six-month deep dive into defining our personal long-term vision and ambition. Accenture really invests in developing the DNA of its future leader and encourages us to recognize and live by our personal values.

My “Big Sister Initiative”

Having a sister now in her last year at secondary school sparked my idea to start an initiative supporting 18-year-olds in one of the most important choices they’ll make: What’s next for me? When I was 18, I wasn’t aware of the impact this choice could have on the rest of my life. I decided to study civil engineering, but my math teacher kept telling me this would be a mission impossible, saying “this is nothing for a girl like you”. Unfortunately, this got stuck in my head and I chose to study commercial engineering instead, a decision I still regret to this day. Ten years later, my younger sister has to make a choice and I’ll support her as much as possible. I didn’t have an older sister with this experience, nor do many other 18-years-olds. My “Big Sister Initiative” aims at addressing that. Watch this space!

I will definitely take inspiration from my role as a People Advocate at Accenture. This involves frequently connecting with colleagues and supporting them in their well-being, especially at present when we are all working remotely. I’m always looking for new ways to connect on a deeper level and encourage colleagues to make their well-being a top priority. We’ve even made company podcast about this, during which we discuss well-being as a shared responsibility and give tips on how to be the best version of yourself.

"The whole cycling experience was lifechanging for me"

I’m very passionate about road cycling and I’m currently training for a race in Italy called the Maratona dles Dolomites. It all started in 2019, when I cycled up the Passo dello Stelvio in Italy as one of 12 Accenture Fit At Work Ambassadors together with Climbing for Life to raise money for asthma sufferers. Being an asthma patient myself with an underlying lung condition, this was a very important and emotional challenge for me. The whole cycling experience was life changing for me, impacting my mindset and way of living. I learned about my limits and how to train healthily. I feel physically better and have more energy thanks to training, which also makes me more efficient!

At the end of the day, my creativity and interest in people nourish me. Exchanging ideas about technology and how it can help us build a better world and a better future, interacting with all kinds of different people each day, listening to multiple perspectives… That’s how I invest 200% in my career, and I’m in a good place to do that at Accenture.

Dorien Van Steenberge (1992)

Studied: Business Engineering – Operational Management
Started working at Accenture: 2015
Relationship status: In love and taking care of our puppy together
Loves: Being creative, in all kinds of ways
Gets annoyed by: Negative people
Favorite food & drink: A good pasta with a nice glass of red wine
On my nightstand: A big bottle of water
Listens to: Florence & The Machine, The National, Hot Chip and electronic dance music
Would like to sit next to in the plane: Kamala Harris, the United States’ first female Vice President
Life-changing event(s): Three knee surgeries during the last three years, impacting my daily (sporting) activities
The best lesson life has taught me: Don’t lose energy over negative people or events. I also believe that in life you should both take chances AND give things a chance
What I learned last week: During the launch event of the Accenture Next Generation Female Leaders, I learned how many great colleagues have joined in the last couple of months and years who I didn’t meet yet. I’m looking forward to finally going back to the office, reuniting with familiar faces and getting to know unfamiliar ones

Most beautiful place on earth: The top of Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in Lombok, Indonesia
Hobbies/passions: Cycling, swimming, painting, cooking
What nobody knows about me: I like writing poetry and playing with words
Life motto:  Go through life with a smile. It will energize yourself and others, and it will open a lot of doors