Jade Heuts: A lawyer turned digital transformation consultant

14 September 2022 Consultancy.eu 6 min. read
Profile
More news on

With a background in law and experience in notary, Belgium-based Jade Heuts had little expectations on making the career switch to management consulting. But now at Projective, a financial services focused consultancy, Jade is working on some of the industry’s most pressing digital transformation challenges.

Hi Jade, can you tell us a bit more about your background?

Well, I’ll start from the beginning. When I was in high school, I studied human sciences which comprised a wide range of disciplines such as psychology, history, philosophy, economics and political science. With that broad interest, majoring in law seemed like a logical choice for me.

At that time, I really wanted to become a notary or a lawyer. At first, I really liked law but when I started my master’s degree, I began to have doubts about where I was heading. I think I just didn't feel passionate enough about it.

Jade Heuts: A lawyer turned digital transformation consultant

After my graduation, I therefore decided to start in a management traineeship programme at a one of the largest banks in Belgium [Belfius] to broaden my skill set and get some more business background as well. During the management trainee programme, I was assigned to a project with a start-up that focused on blockchain technology. This was completely new to me, as was working with a team of developers. But I loved it.

My gut feeling told me to continue in that career path, but my brain told me that I didn’t study for five years to go and do something completely different. So, I decided to go back to my roots and start a new job at a notary. Unfortunately, life is too short to hitch your wagon to a profession that doesn’t allow you to be your full self.

So, I quitted the legal profession and started to search for a new career opportunity at a company that focused on innovation, change and digital transformation. I wanted to build solutions for my clients, not just provide them with (legal) advice. That’s when I came across ::projective.

How did the recruitment process look like?

I didn’t know anyone at ::projective and as a result I did not have any expectations. Honestly, who would hire someone with barely any project management or transformation experience?

Nonetheless, I was invited for a first chat and we immediately clicked. My first meeting with the::projective’s HR team went very well as did the follow up interviews. The team understood why I wanted to leave the legal profession and noticed my drive for digitalisation, innovation and change and thus, my overall ambitions. I was offered a contract and the decision to join ::projective was an easy one.

You’ve been at ::projective for six months now and you are indeed working on a digitalisation project. Can you tell us more about what it has been like?

I started as a product analyst on a digitalisation project for a well-known insurance company in London. Currently, I’m reviewing the as-is business processes and making them future-proof. Next to that, I’m also working on a new solution to (partially) automate their contracts. So, I actually work a lot with legally trained people, for which my background is a great help.

What I like about my current job is that I can approach client issues with the analytical skills of a lawyer, while at the same time feeling the freedom to design and implement innovative and creative solutions.

Another cool thing about this project – next to realising my own ambitions and working in the digitalisation space – is that I also work with DTSQUARED colleagues who joined our group last year.

Next to my client work I’m also part of ::projective’s wellbeing team. And that’s what I also like about working here. I have my project, but if I’m interested in something else, wellbeing in this case, there is the possibility to help on the existing initiatives or even start new ones.

That’s a nice situation to be in. So, you’re working for a client in London, does that mean you often have to travel?

I mostly work out of Belgium but once in while I travel to London and work from the client’s site or from Projective’s office in London. I am given a lot of flexibility and they trust me to do my job no matter where I’m working from. But I admit that it’s always nice to see the people you work with face-to-face once in a while, and our London office has a great bar and terrace so I’m not complaining.

So do you think that ::projective’s way of working and culture influenced your decision to join the company?

Yes definitely. At ::projective, everyone is equal. I know, that sounds like a cliché but it’s really the case. Even without previous consulting experience, a junior profile is valued as much as a senior profile with more than 10 years of experience. The flat structure is not just a sales pitch, I can confirm this.

For example - on my current project I’m working with a DTSQUARED colleague that has lots of experience in the field of digitalisation. So, hierarchically speaking, he’s several tiers above me. Yet he has never treated me differently. This is how it should be in all organisations, but ::projective really makes it happen. This makes me feel good and motivates me to improve my skills and knowledge.

Also, ::projective gives me a lot of freedom. I’m in control of my own career. They don’t force me to do anything – except keeping the client happy – and every employee receives an annual training budget which we can use on whichever training we want. Not many companies allow that.

Today I might want to learn more about change management, design thinking or blockchain technology and next year that might be DevOps. This is all supported by the learning & development team.

Finally, what does the future hold?

I haven’t defined my long-term career goal yet. But what I do know is that I’m very interested in innovation, change management and new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and would love to work even more in product teams.

Next to that, I would like to start my own company one day. The fun thing is, ::projective is actually also super supportive about that and will help me in whichever way they can.