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Monday, May 7, 2012

Who is Sandrine van den Oudenhoven?

Last month, Sara Santacroce a friend of mine who is an expert in social media marketing and the Managing Owner of Simplicity, posted a blog about who she was. First I was a bit surprised but while I was reading it, I realized that it was an excellent idea as there is no other place on the social media where you can have a full picture of the person you are connecting with. Good ideas are there to be followed! So here I am…

I’m Sandrine van den Oudenhoven…
I’m Sandrine van den Oudenhoven, this name that few can pronounce and even less can write, is coming from my husband who is Dutch.
I am French, born in the south of France (Lozère) and grew up in the north of France close to the Belgian border.
I am in my late 30’s (very late 30’s actually….) and the happy and busy mother of 2 little girls of 4 and 7 years old which tend to make me good at planning and organizing ;-)
At home we speak French, Dutch and also English for business topics or when we do not want the girls to understand (a strategy which failed since we realized that the oldest one understands it all….) and German sometimes too as we are living in the Swiss city of bilingualism: Biel-Bienne.

My background…

My initial idea was to speak first of the personal and then of the professional background but these 2 are too much related to be kept apart…

My original education is in Mathematics and Engineering with a specialization in packaging technologies.
From the very first months of my career (my first job was as Project Engineer for 3M in France) I’ve been wondering how I was going to manage in a dual career couple, together with my aspiration to become a mother. Things did not get simpler as career mobility added to the equation….
I was Key Account Manager for Henkel, a very exciting job with a lot of traveling around Europe, when my boyfriend had a proposal from an international company to take a job in Lausanne. This was the first time for me to be the accompanying partner (before upgrading to trailing spouse :-) and first challenge to pursue my career development while relocating to Switzerland.
After a few acrobatic moves, a change of job and a change of boyfriend…it went direction Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to follow the one who would, a few years later, become my husband. This experience has been a real learning for me and for us as a couple! We both got our Master in “ability to cope with uncertainty” ☺ and ended up for a short time in …the Netherlands and soon after in Brussels in Belgium where I finally managed to learn a bit of Dutch.
Working then for WABCO, despite the wonderful possibilities I had been given there which kept me progressing in my career while working part-time and enjoying the first months of my first daughter, I realized the limits; the ones I set for myself when I refused to consider an opportunity in China and in Poland without thinking that there were maybe solutions for my husband’s career to be considered….

Anyway, either you’re a trailing spouse or you’re not! In 2007 I resigned from WABCO, where I was then Indirect Material Global Purchasing Director to follow my husband who was promoting …to Switzerland!

My business

By now, you have understood where I’m coming from…and where I get my energy from….. and my motivation for my business job4U2.
All along the way, not only I have been several times a trailing spouse with a career, but also I know what it is to refuse mobility opportunities. And very importantly, I met many couples who where in comparable situations and whose needs and problems were not addressed.

In 2010, I founded job4U2 in Biel-Bienne a city in canton of Berne located at the junction between French and German speaking Switzerland.
Job4U2 offers companies in Switzerland support to their international employees involved in a dual-career relationship. We support the employees’ partners to deploy his/her career project here in Switzerland.
We guide them through the cultural differences of the application process, support their personal branding and marketing and help them building their social and professional network at their new location place.

I am lucky to be passionate about my work and about the people I meet while working.

Oh and I forgot to say, I am very curious and would love to read WHO YOU ARE…so please, tell me something about you on this blog.

Join me on the new job4U2 blog!


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