YPC in 2020

How AmCham Belgium’s young professionals thrived in 2020

Hannah Van Deun, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Edwards Lifesciences

Hey, 2021 is here!

Almost two months into the new year, AmCham Belgium’s Young Professionals Committee (YPC) members look back on 2020 for one last time.

Where the YPC is all about networking and connecting with peers, the pandemic put the Committee, like most of us, in front of a challenge. It was a challenge that we ultimately embraced, learned from and even enjoyed. Virtual coffee breaks with senior leaders, short conversations about hot topics streamed live on LinkedIn and online coaching sessions about leadership skills became the new reality.

Virtual networking

From the comfort of our homes, the YPC made it its mission to make every meeting a virtual experience. Events like the Young Professionals Coffee Break series were launched online and, in collaboration with A Seat At The Table, the team was able to connect students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds with senior leaders in the AmCham community. The discussions were interactive, and the Q&A sessions were filled with insightful interplay between the speakers and the audience. While digital gatherings have proven to be very efficient to maintain networks despite the physical distance, the YPC is convinced that face-to-face interactions are needed to create strong connections, in particular with new contacts.

Confession alert! We miss the natural conversations, the random ‘bumping’ into acquaintances and the nibbles offered at physical events.

Reprioritization, resilience & flexibility

Both professional and private lives were impacted by the pandemic. Many of us went back to basics and realized the value of taking care of ourselves first, the joy of reading a good book and taking relaxing walks in nature.

When times get tough, we find a silver lining in reprioritizing life's essentials: staying healthy, going at your own pace and spending quality time (even via Zoom!) with family and friends.

- explains YPC member Anaïs Laporte of FTI Consulting.

With uncertainty about the coming months, flexibility in adjusting to changing circumstances and resilience are, more than ever, very desired qualities. The year 2020 presented the perfect occasion to practice creativity, tech skills and remote teamwork. Despite the pandemic, AmCham Belgium’s young professionals continued learning, developing their skills and channeling the power of mindset. Whether the lessons learned were related to the pandemic or not, we are convinced that they will help us overcome future challenges.

YPC Vice-Chair Amédée de Radzitzky of Whyte Corporate Affairs shares:

At the Young Professionals Coffee Break with Olivia Natens, then Country Director Benelux at Medtronic, I learned about the value of having a mentor and a promoter to help you grow professionally. I found this very insightful since both can inspire you and help you develop your skills, but also increase your visibility within the company.

Straight out of 2021

At the beginning of this new year, AmCham’s young professionals feel inspired to continue our journey of self-development, while creating new opportunities to empower others to do the same. We look to 2021 with great curiosity, but regardless of its intentions, we are filled with energy, new ideas and fully prepared to make it work!

2020 was an interesting journey. Each week brought new events in new formats. There was a lot of passion and creativity to help us stick together and that is perhaps one of the greatest COVID take-aways.

- says Nicolo Spadari from Dow Silicones Belgium EDC.

Are you a young professional? Then join our first virtual Coffee Break of 2021 with Elke Grooten, Head of EU Relations at Novartis, on March 9. Find out more and register.

About the author

Hannah Van Deun, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Edwards Lifesciences

Hannah Van Deun is a Regulatory Affairs Specialist at Edwards Lifesciences, a global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, as well as critical care and surgical monitoring. In her role, she interacts with policy actors at the national and European level connecting the company with the regulatory bodies. Being passionate about fostering an inclusive cooperative culture, Hannah oversees the Diversity & Inclusion Program for the Benelux region. In July 2020, she joined AmCham Belgium’s Young Professionals Committee where her focus is on supporting the PR and communications activities of the Committee. Hannah holds a MSc in Applied Economic Sciences with a specialization in Economic Policy from the University of Antwerp in Belgium and a MSc in European Politics and Policies from the University of Leuven in Belgium.