• Get to know a couple of BDO's Wonder Women

Get to know a couple of BDO's Wonder Women

08 March 2022

Anne Belleflamme

Tax – BDO Liège

My name is Anne and I am 35 years old. I started my professional career at BDO in 2009. I’m currently a Partner at BDO Tax and I’m responsible for the tax departments of the offices in Battice, Namur and La Hulpe.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

A female leader is often more empathetic, sympathetic and willing to listen to her team, which promotes cohesion, dialogue and employee involvement. However, diversity is important: having both male and female managers in the same structure is definitely a strength.

What is your top tip for working women?

"To be happy in your work as well as in your private life, it’s important to find a good balance and to take time for yourself."

Running is my way of relieving the stress of the day and freeing my mind. 

Sofie Ceulemans

BDO Digital - BDO Brussels Airport

I am Sofie, I’m 29 years old, and I live together with my boyfriend. I have been working at BDO Digital since 2017 within the Enterprise Solutions team as an expert and project manager. In my private life, I try to relax mainly through sports. Volleyball, running and walking in nature is where I can best unwind. I also love to travel.

Do women have a different leadership style?

I think so. I think diversity is important within a working environment. By nature, women may typically have a more caring and empathetic personality which can help to motivate and coach a team in a good way. Especially during the corona crisis, this has proven to be very important!

What is your top tip for working women?

Daring to step out of your comfort zone as a person really makes you grow. I recommend it to everyone! It is also important to indicate what your limits are so that you can maintain a healthy balance for yourself. This has become more open for discussion during the COVID crisis and I can only applaud that!

"Believe in your dreams and believe that you can achieve them, then it will work."

Anne-Charlotte Lelièvre

Legal – BDO Namur

My name is Anne-Charlotte. I started at BDO ten years ago and I am currently Senior Manager at BDO Legal, specialising in M&A. I am also responsible for the Corporate Legal team for Wallonia and for the development of Corporate Legal products on a national level. I have two young children (2,5 and 1,5 years old).

Do women offer a different leadership style?

I think that women can have different leadership qualities than men and vice versa, but that this is also intrinsically linked to the personality of each individual. There are different types of leadership regardless of gender. A team with diversity at all levels (gender, age, background, etc.) will be more successful than a team of individuals who are almost perfect copies of each other.

What is your top tip for working women?

Find solutions to combine your professional life with your family life.

"Believe in yourself and in your abilities. Take a chance and accept that not every day can be perfect."

Sara Farias De Carvalho Martins

Risk Advisory – BDO La Hulpe

My name is Sara, I was born and raised in Brussels, but have an international background since my mother is Mexican and my father is Portuguese. After graduating, I joined the BDO Risk Advisory team as a consultant and have also been part of the development of BDO Belgium’s Sustainability service offering. When not at work, I enjoy traveling, spending time with my loved ones, learning about wine and horse riding.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

I don’t believe leadership quality is defined by gender type, but by people’s hard and soft skills, character traits, personality and ambitions. Women often do have different leadership styles than men. We show more emotions at work and focus more on building trust and confidence instead of on control and short term planning. I don’t believe one style is necessarily better than the other, they are just very different.

What is your top tip for working women?

"As women, we should support and empower each other to achieve “Leadership Diversity” in our organisations and environments."

I believe that bringing complementary skills and leadership styles together can result in stronger teams, since everyone can learn something from each other. We should embrace our feminine traits rather than hide them.

Audrey Orlans

Accountancy – BDO Brussel-Centre

My name is Audrey, I have been working in Accounting and Reporting at BDO for 10 years and I recently started my training as a people manager. I am also a mother of two children aged 4 and 2.5 years old, who I try to pass on my positivity and joy in life, just like in my professional life. My greatest passions are travelling (especially in the mountains) and music (piano).

Do women offer a different leadership style?

I think women have a different (not better or worse) approach to leadership than men. I don't like extreme - both feminist and women-hating - rhetoric. However, to me, characteristics such as empathy, caring and listening to others are more easily found in women's leadership styles.

What is your top tip for working women?

Use your passion to stay curious and to keep learning. Don't be afraid to share and defend your opinions. Or according to Dr Susan Inglis:

"Surround yourself with people who believe in you, support you and remind you of your strengths. It’s easier to lead when doing what you love."

Romina Caruana

Admin Sales - BDO Hasselt

I am currently 32 years old and live together with my boyfriend Stefan. I have been working at BDO for almost 10 years now. I originally started as a receptionist. Recently I decided that I wanted to develop myself more professionally and make more of a difference in my work. That is why I started a new challenge four months ago as Admin Sales at BDO Hasselt. Besides work, I regularly take time for myself by going for a daily walk or hike with my dog Bongo. I love good food, cooking, wine, socialising, gardening, getting lots of sunshine, …;

Do women offer a different leadership style?

I think that the leading women I come into contact with generally work with a good structure. They are more direct but also empathetic when needed. But in the end, I think we should not judge people by gender, but by personality and skills.

What is your top tip for working women?

"Try to take enough me-time, a woman can only do so much in one day! Be kind to yourself!"

Aurore Brevers

Business Support Process Coordinator – BDO Namur

I grew up in the Belgian Armed Forces in Germany, where my dad was an officer. Now I am lucky to be surrounded by my own family and children Lina (3 years) and Lucian (6 months). I have been working at BDO for 11 years now, currently as a Business Support Process Coordinator. I work closely with the department heads in implementing and monitoring procedures.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

For me, gender does not determine leadership behaviour. I am convinced that there is no typical female or male way of leading. A man's promotion will not lead to an authoritarian, direct and dominant management style, and vice versa. It’s not because a woman gets a management position that she will have a specific leadership dynamic based on gentleness, benevolence and empathy. After all, you are not born a leader, you become one.

Wat is your top tip for working women?

"Find solutions to reconcile professional and private life as much as possible."

Think about things like flexible working hours, occasional telecommuting, a childcare system nearby…

Leen Lefevere

Legal – BDO Ghent

I am Leen. Both professionally and privately I am a bit of an adrenaline junk. Professionally I am a Senior Manager for Legal at BDO Ghent. I like deadlines and a healthy amount of pressure. Privately I like "active weekends and (outdoor) activities". My motto is "work hard, play hard". I don't mind working a lot, but I also like to let it all go once in a while.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

Yes, and there is nothing wrong with that! I think women in general have a broader view on things. They are more open to nuance and take into account all aspects and consequences of a certain decision. I am convinced that this will lead to more balanced and, above all, more sustainable decisions. Women are less likely to be real "shouters" but I am convinced that the world would be a better place if more women were to be "heard".

What is your top tip for working women?

"You don't have to do it all yourself and certainly not all perfectly. Choose your battles!"

Think carefully and be selective about what you put your energy into. No one has ever died from wearing an unironed T-shirt or (occasionally) eating a pizza from the freezer.

Bianca Sim

Audit & Assurance - BDO Antwerp

I am Bianca. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and hopefully one day, a mother. In life, I am the happiest if I can make those around me happy, especially when I can cook a nice meal for those dear to me. I am BDO, born and bred. I started my career at BDO South Africa, met my husband at BDO South Africa and then moved to Belgium 3 years ago, and have been at BDO Antwerp ever since. I am a qualified financial auditor, but recently started pursuing a career in IT audit, as I believe the days of just ticking invoices for assurance, are long gone.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

Without a doubt! If I look at the strongest woman I know, my mother, I know that it takes a special kind of leader to lead and support someone with the same kind of love you can discipline and teach them. I believe that females have a natural ability to empathize with people, which creates a complete different type of leader.

What is your top tip for working women?

My top tip is a quote from one of my favourite movies, it is a baseball reference:

"Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game"

We all grow differently, so do not be intimidated by the success of someone else.

Léa Sonnet

Legal – BDO Namur

My name is Léa and I am 24 years old. Six months ago, I joined the Corporate team of BDO Legal. I love travelling and I recently joined a women's football team in Brussels. Even though my dribbling skills leave something to be desired, the team spirit and the atmosphere there have won me over completely.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

In my opinion, there are no differences between female and male leadership. The important thing is to find the right balance and invent your own leadership style. For me, leadership is a mixture of empathy, listening, communicating, assertiveness, firmness and benevolence.

What is your top tip for working women?

I think the world we live in is evolving - slowly but surely - towards equality between women and men at all levels.

"Continuing to encourage the evolution towards equality and breaking down prejudices are essential steps in changing the place of women at work."

Chaima Ben Haddouch

Audit & Assurance – BDO Antwerp

I am Chaima and I am 28 years old. I am a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am at my happiest when I am travelling to soak up different cultures and discover new traditions but also when I see the people around me happy. In 2017, I started my audit career within BDO Antwerp. Besides being a financial auditor, I am also proud to be one of BDO’s sustainability ambassadors. I think it is important that everyone feels welcome regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

Absolutely! As I grew up with 7 sisters and 1 brother, I was able to look up to a strong and patient woman from a very young age. My mother is my example. Female leaders naturally possess character traits such as patience, caring and empathy. This allows us to lead and take charge in a different way.

What is your top tip for working women?

"Help each other, support each other, motivate each other and cheer each other on! “Real queens fix each other’s crowns.;"

Focus on your goals and never forget why you are doing something. Keep yourself busy with other activities besides work. Make time for yourself, your partner, family and friends. Enjoy the small moments in life.

Laura Dewez

Tax - BDO Liège

My name is Laura. I am 40 years old, married and have two children aged 9 and 5, Leo and Rose. In my private life, I am often described as a good-humoured and optimistic person. I like to organise gatherings with family and friends. At work, I am organised, conscientious, but above all enthusiastic. I like to keep things moving and give the team the feeling I have while working at BDO: doing exciting work in a fun and caring atmosphere.

Do women offer a different leadership style?

Definitely! I think that women's intuition is not a myth. We always subconsciously pay attention to our surroundings: our colleagues, our customers… When you understand your surroundings, it is easier to lead a team.

What is your top tip for working women?

"Give your best at work and fully relax with your family when you get home."