Caroline Janssens: ‘BlinkLane offers exactly why I returned to the sector’

21 December 2023 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read

After 16 years holding different management roles and leading transformations in the airline industry, Caroline Janssens joined BlinkLane Consulting this summer. Looking back on her first six months, she explains to Consultancy.org how the consultancy firm has enabled her to work on some of the most exciting organisational challenges around.

“To me, the consultancy world is about helping organisations when something is to be discovered, something they want to improve but don’t know exactly how” Janssens kicks off. “When I started exploring my next challenge, I know I relished the chance to help companies deal with the big questions of our time.”

The move to join BlinkLane Consulting was something of a return to the consulting sector for Janssens. She commenced her career with a brief traineeship at MSR Consulting before shifting into the aviation sector.

Caroline Janssens: ‘BlinkLane offers exactly why I returned to the sector’

“I crossed paths with the traineeship at KLM which checked all boxes the boxes for me,” she recalls. “During my time as a student, obtaining a Master in Change in Rotterdam, I had a brief internship at Shell, and realised a lot of the stuff I had learned was only seen as theoretical. I was a bit frustrated that the theory I learned did not always translate to practice.”

“At KLM, my role was focused on problem solving and required an analytical nature. It also focused on the people side and on implementation of theory, giving me the chance to see the results of solving a problem and implementing a working solution. In essence, it was a role which closely resembled consulting work.”

After four projects over six months, she decided to stay with the airline for the long-haul. In 2020, this saw Janssens promoted to lead KLM’s data and technology programme amid the Covid-19 pandemic – a complete reshape of the organisation of data and technology activities supporting business processes aiming to create a more cost effective and value-adding organisation.

After playing a leading role in a number of strategic digital transformations, Janssens had worked with many people in different parts of the organisation, all of whom had enriched her experience and knowledge. This gave her insight into many different perspectives – and fed her curiosity to apply her knowhow amid new experiences, at other organisations.

A new beginning

To decide how best to pursue those ambitions further, it was at this point that Janssens decided to take a sabbatical – during which she created new networks and expanded her view on different industries and organisations. All this led her to the idea that a return to the consultancy world could kick-start something new, and engage with “the pioneering moments” across a range of different industries.

Janssens rcalls, “I already knew BlinkLane Consulting as they did some work at KLM while I was there – and what they did was quite impressive. I actually used their approach as a best practice in my own work later.

That approach she is referring to has become somewhat of BlinkLane Consulting’s signature on projects: a no-nonsense, can-do attitude that delivers lasting change by building bridges between the old and new way of working. 

Having re-connected with the consulting firm, “the topics that BlinkLane Consulting works on really attracted me. Digital and agile transformations, and the innovations and sustainability components which I see a big future in.”

Something else also drew Janssens to BlinkLane Consulting: the ambition to grow as part of the Highberg Group. BlinkLane joined the European transformation group in 2020, and Janssens finds it an exciting prospect to work for a firm with an international reach, as it looks to bring value to more companies beyond its home-base in the Netherlands.

Hitting the ground running

After her “warm welcome” in August, Janssens was quick to make the most of these international connections. She travelled to a client site in Spain in her first month, has landed a role on “a very exciting project”, and witnessed Highberg Group’s inaugural ‘The Highberg Festival’ – an event to encourage cross-pollination among the six members of the group. 

“The festival was really memorable. Meeting all the people who will be part of Highberg Group and experiencing the different boutique consultancies part of our group was impressive – everyone is so on, alert, present, all the time.” 

Other memorable moments with BlinkLane Consulting in her first half-year range from an “atmosphere and culture that really stand out”, to the flexibility offered up to new joiners, which has enabled her to settle seamlessly.

Perhaps most of all, though, that diversity of talented people from Europe and beyond – and the variety of “cultural backgrounds, different educational levels, and wide-ranging personalities” that work at the firm are “amazing”. Looking ahead, Janssens is keen to see how this diversity, mixed with her own professional journey, can help the firm reach new heights. 

“I am very eager to discover new propositions and seeing where new challenges may arise from. Consulting is about getting into the ‘cold water’, and being comfortable with the uncomfortable – getting insights into the new contexts and organisations. But then it is also about taking that experience, and connecting it to people – to help them address the challenges of the present and future, and ultimately benefitting the wider market, by assisting our clients in their efforts to remain competitive and innovative. That’s exactly what I got back into this sector for.”