by Astrid Ruts, Internal Communication Lead EMEA, Cargill and Vice-Chair of AmCham Belgium’s Young Professionals Committee
On May 17, 2018, AmCham Belgium’s young professionals were joined by Cis Van Doninck, Vice President of Finance for the Food Ingredients & Bioindustrial Enterprise at Cargill, for a Young Professionals @ Noon luncheon to talk about Cargill, his professional journey and moreover to ask the young professionals’ thoughts on three important statements.
Cis Van Doninck joined Cargill straight out of university as an Accountant at Cargill’s soy and rape crush facility in Antwerp, Belgium. At that time, Cis did not expect to stay with Cargill for the rest of his career, but Cargill had a different plan. At the beginning of the 90s, Cargill had a growth spurt and Cis grew along with it, taking up more responsibilities and accepting roles in the UK and the US. In 2004, Cis returned to Belgium to become Regional Controller EMEA for Food Ingredients Systems, and today, he’s the Vice President of Finance for the Food Ingredients & Bioindustrial Enterprise at Cargill and the Country Representative for Cargill Belgium.
People don’t trust the food business
Now, Cis is known to enjoy a good discussion, and so he presented the young professionals with three statements and asked for thoughts on the matter. The first one was “people don’t trust the food business”. The general opinion in the room was that it would be naïve to say that all food producers are crooks but that indeed, there have been issues. Consumers are increasingly looking for healthier food options, a trend that is especially noticeable on social media, while food companies are becoming more and more integrated. In the end, it will come down to a balancing act in which food producers take up their responsibility and continuously strive for quality while managing the willingness of consumers to pay more for healthier, natural, traceable products.
Young people want to work for an on-trend, modern business
When Cis asked what young professionals are looking for in a job in a company, the group shared the following items. Young professionals are looking for a company with a purpose they can relate to and a culture of inclusion & diversity. They are willing to work hard and be flexible for an employer that invests in their development and recognizes their contribution. But most importantly they want to have an impact.
When you mention mobility in Belgium people automatically start talking about their work commute. Yet, commuting to work was not exactly what Cis had in mind when he said mobility. As you noticed from the introduction, Cis has moved quite a few times for work and he wanted to know if young professionals are still open to relocate for the job. When he asked who is willing to move tomorrow if he’d offer them an interesting job, the hands in the room quickly went up. The young professionals are still more than willing to move for work, but the expat experience has lost some of its past glory and also the career of their partner and family life is an important factor in the decision.
I guess most things in life are a balancing act, whether it’s balancing mobility and your family, or balancing traceability of food products with the costs involved. Yet, from time to time, one needs to step through the sliding door and see where destiny takes you!