While studying Building Physics and Services, Lisette Draaisma came to the realization that the building industry wasn’t actually where she envisioned herself. ‘I wasn’t too down about having to start looking for other career options. In fact, I found there was a world of opportunities awaiting me.’

Lisette ended up being a Business Analyst at Accenture Technology in the Netherlands. ‘I am the oldest of four children: I have one little sister and two younger brothers. When I was five years old, my father was hired as a radiation expert for the Petten reactors, so my family moved from Breda to Den Helder. For my mother, a born-and-raised “Brabantse”, moving up north was quite a change. After having me, she gave up her work as a laboratory technician to be a full-time mom. She was the typical mother - always waiting for us with tea and biscuits when we got home from school.’

‘Although I never had a strong sense of what I wanted to do “when I grew up”, I developed a preference for technical subjects during high school. I considered a range of career options - from aviation to law. Ultimately, I took a few online vocation-discovery assessments and nearly all of them recommended two study programmes as a match for me: Earth Science and Engineering. I looked into both alternatives, but chose Building Engineering of Architecture when I found out that studying Earth Science would most likely limit me to a career in academic research.’

‘I’ve always been the sort who has a much clearer idea of what it is I don’t want than what it is I do. I remember during one of my first lectures at Eindhoven University, the professor asked who of us in the class wanted to become an architect? Nearly everyone raised their hand… except for me. Even though I wasn’t entirely sure where the course would take me, I knew which direction I didn’t want to head in. Throughout the six and a half years I studied in Eindhoven (yes, I took my time), the search continued. There were moments I considered studying something else, but ultimately, I figured I might as well finish what I’d started.’

What black hole?

‘After finally graduating, I decided to explore opportunities in other industries. Contrary to what people might expect, I wasn’t too keen about having to look for alternative career options. During my studies, I met plenty of people who had found work in fields that were completely different from those they’d studied in. If they could do it, why couldn’t I? When I attended a career day, my hopes were confirmed - I asked various organizations about what they look for in new hires, and as it turned out, many were interested in people who, like me, had an academic technical background. I applied to some of the companies and was invited for interviews at pretty much every single one. What black hole was everyone talking about? I found there was a world of opportunities awaiting me!’

He offered me a job before the interview was even over.

‘My interview at Accenture was by far the most “fun”. Instead of an HR manager asking the standard  “Why do you want to work here?” and “What can you bring to the table?” kind of questions, I had an extremely pleasant chat with the MD, who asked me about my background, how I spent my time when I wasn’t studying, and how I enjoyed Eindhoven, where he also happened to have studied. And the cherry on top? He offered me a job before the interview was even over. Getting that vote of confidence right off the bat - rather than having to wait weeks to find out whether the company wanted to hire me - combined with the very enjoyable interview did the trick: I knew then and there I wanted to work for this company.’

A scrum-mastering milestone for me

‘Since starting my job at Accenture Technology more than a year ago, pretty much everything I have come across has been new to me. The learning curve has been incredibly steep, but that’s one of the reasons I enjoy my work as much as I do. Our industry group Health & Public Service is relatively small, and as a result, we’re quite a close-knit group - something helped along by the fact that our managers make a point of organizing get-togethers every few months. We are all based at different clients’ offices, but these regular meetups ensure we stay connected. Being appointed scrum master of my team this past June was definitely a milestone for me. As I assumed that would only happen after I gained a few years’ working experience, it was really an honor to be given this opportunity.’

As someone who’s naturally quite introverted and modest, being stern with people isn’t really my forte.

‘An attribute that’s definitely quite central to who I am is my critical mindset: I tend to question pretty much everything. I consider it a strength, especially as a scrum master - thinking critically really helps me to contribute to the team. Where I struggle a little is with being strict when it’s required - especially because I’m the only woman and the most junior member in the team. As someone who’s naturally quite introverted and modest, being stern with people isn’t really my forte. That said, my brothers tell me I was always bossing them around as a child, so I guess it’s hidden inside of me somewhere - I just need to get it out more at work.’

Time to say goodbye

‘My boyfriend Luc and I met six years ago at the rowing club in Eindhoven. He was also studying at the university there, and it turned out we lived on the same student campus. One thing led to another, and we've been together ever since. When he graduated and had to leave his student home, we moved in together in an apartment in the area. Even though Luc works in Rotterdam, he has always been very set on staying in Eindhoven. However, during the past year, most of our friends have moved to Amsterdam, Utrecht or even abroad, which convinced Luc that it’s time for us to try out a new home base too.’

I love it when a city is small enough to navigate easily.

‘Luc is from Geulle (Limburg) and I’m from Den Helder, so neither of us are fans of big cities. I love it when a city is small enough to navigate easily - somewhere like Amsterdam is too large and complex for me. Recently, we bought an apartment in Utrecht. For us, it is the best of both worlds: it’s not too big, some of our close friends now live there,  and it’s central enough to make traveling virtually anywhere in the country easily doable. As our apartment is currently being built, we hope to move in this October. We’re both very excited about this next step.’

‘Living in Eindhoven for the past six years has also meant I’ve been quite far away from my parents. It’s funny that when you’re young, you don’t realize how much your parents actually do for you and how many sacrifices they make. Naturally, as a youngster, you’re way too busy living your own life and minding your own business. These past few years, I’ve learned to really value and cherish the relationship I have with my parents and siblings. My two youngest siblings still live with my parents, but all four of us like to spend time at the parental house whenever we can. Last year, I even joined my family on their summer holiday in the south of France. Moving to Utrecht will also make it easier to spend more time with them - I’m definitely looking forward to that, too.’

It’s funny that when you’re young, you don’t realize how much your parents actually do for you and how many sacrifices they make.

Lisette Draaisma (1992)

Studied: MSc Building Physics and Services, Eindhoven University of Technology (2017)

Started working at Accenture: September 2017

Relationship status: Living with boyfriend, Luc

Loves: Having dinner with my family; enjoying a cheese platter and a glass of wine, preferably in the south of France; catching up with girlfriends; shopping for shoes

Gets annoyed by: When I know something is doable but I just can’t get it right. The worst is computer software that doesn’t do what I want it to do. But I was also very annoyed recently when I tried to replace a tire on my bicycle and didn’t manage

Favorite food: Italian food

On my nightstand: Tissues and lip balm

Listens to: My taste is very diverse: I enjoy everything from easy-listening music in the morning to rock at the occasional festival

Last purchase: Shoes

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Doutzen Kroes. I would ask her what it is like to be in the spotlight all the time and how she manages to always look her best

Life-changing event: Moving out of my parents’ house

The best lesson life has taught me: To be a bit more assertive and realize you’re often capable of more than you might think you are

What I learned last week: That as a scrum master I could - and should - be a bit more stern

Most beautiful place on earth: Terschelling; I spent numerous holidays there and have some very fond childhood memories of my time on this island

Hobbies/passions: Cooking, ice skating, swimming

What nobody knows about me: That even though I say cooking is my hobby, I’m not always so good at it

Life motto: There’s always a reason to say ‘no’, so why not just see what happens when you say ‘yes’?

Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Renée van Brummelen and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Tu Ngo's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices did Sebastian Veldman have to make in his life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.