Junior entrepreneurship at delaware with the Starters Initiative

Dec 13, 2021

At delaware you can always find support for creative new ideas, even if you’re one of our youngest colleagues. A prime example of this is the Starters Initiative. This spontaneously formed group of juniors offers opportunities to new #peopleofdelaware to meet and bond with each other during the pandemic. These casual, low-key activities are a great addition to our existing range of onboarding and teambuilding activities organized by HR during the Analyst Bootcamp.

The Starters Initiative saw the light at the end of 2020, when three engaged starters joined forces to organize corona-proof events for their fellow juniors. Meanwhile, Leonie Degandt, Senne Eeraerts and Jordi Cools have received the support from Lisa Commerman, and with several successful events under their belt it was high time for a chat about their experiences so far.

How did the Starters Initiative take form?

Senne: “We all started working at delaware during the pandemic, so there was a lot of demand for ways to get to know other starters or colleagues in general. That’s why I launched the question in the starter group to see how we could organize starter events in these difficult circumstances. Leonie and Jordi immediately jumped on the wagon and together we started brainstorming for new ideas. 

Leonie: “After two weeks of remote brainstorms, we had a meeting with HR, and they were very enthusiastic about our concept of organizing ‘teambuilding’ events for starters, from starters. A few weeks later, we even had the chance to pitch our ideas to Patrick, our Managing Partner and the rest of the management, who were likewise quickly on board and willing to help us logistically and financially.

That didn’t take long! Which events have you organized until now?

Jordi: “When we had our ‘go’ from HR and the management, we immediately got to work. As an internal workforce at delaware, we had a lot of support to organize our events from start-to-finish. The first events of 2021 were still online, but, in June, we could finally organize a real-life after-work drink, in the Blaarmeersen in Ghent, and right away we had a great turn-out. Everyone was of course dying to get out of their home-office, and the fact that we had free pizza might have helped as well 😉.”

Senne: “It was a great way to get the ball rolling, and since then, we organized another successful after-work in the pop-up bar Bar Bizar in Bruges, set up by Jelle Cattrysse, one of our own #peopleofdelaware. Personally, I thought it was amazing to see how people from different teams and solutions naturally clicked together, even though they might not even have met otherwise.”

Leonie: “When we saw what we could achieve through the Starters Initiative, we thought about other ways to share our own experiences as a starter with others. Fortunately, we were asked by Joyce Mervielde, one of the organizers of the delaware starter bootcamp, to help set up the live session ‘Life as a Consultant’, during which we talk about our life as a consultant – what’s in a name – and share fun anecdotes about working at delaware. This live session is now a part of the annual starter bootcamp, and together with Joyce we also added a podcast to it in which we interview starters from every delaware domain.”

The main thing we learned from all this, is that everything is possible at delaware if you show entrepreneurship and have a vision to help others.

You must still have something up your sleeve for the end of 2021 and beyond?

Lisa: “That’s right! Up next is our Christmas Drink for the starters of 2020 and 2021, but we’ll have to see in which form we can organize it in line with the current Covid-19 guidelines. We’re certain that, now more than ever, starters need these networking opportunities to reconnect with their peers, so we’ll figure out how they can still mingle, have a warm drink and chat away in cozy Christmas setting – even if it’s in a digital setting. And we’re also very busy planning the Starters Drink ‘20/’21, which will probably take place next summer. It will surely be a blast!

You guys really give it your all for others, but what have you learned yourself from this experience?

Senne: “The main thing we learned from all this, is that everything is possible at delaware if you show entrepreneurship and have a vision to help others. Right off the bat we felt the genuine support from our direct colleagues, HR and right up to Patrick to make our plans a reality.”

Lisa: “And even when you just joined the company, like I did in January 2021 and the others in September 2020, you feel that delaware can be a really encouraging environment, even if it’s a global enterprise. I think we’re the living proof of the values of delaware and the care they put into giving everyone a warm welcome in their teams, right from the first day you step through the door, even if it’s the one to your home office.”

That’s wonderful to hear! Is there a way other starters can join or support the Starters Initiative?

Jordi: “If you are a starter and you want to share your ideas how we can improve the experience of other starters at delaware, we’re always happy to hear you out! Fellow starters can give us a shout when you happen to spot us at the delaware office in Belgium.”

We wish you all the best with the next events Leonie, Lisa, Senne and Jordi!

Eager to experience the Starters Initiative for yourself? Start your career at delaware!