Interview with Marie Delvaulx

Sustainable Development Goal(s): 17. Partnerships for the goals

Priorities for change:
Interview with Marie Delvaulx

The start of a new school year brings change and excitement. That applies to The Shift as well. No one is better suited to kick-start the upcoming year's impactful projects and inspiring partnerships than our new Director, Marie Delvaulx!​

Why did you choose The Shift?

"Up until now, I'd had a rather classic career: after graduating from the ICHEC Brussels Management School, I started working at Ernst & Young as a financial auditor. It was fascinating, because it both taught me how to work meticulously and effectively, and helped me understand the challenges of the different organisations I performed audits for.

After a few years at EY, I embarked on a nine-year-long adventure at Delhaize. When I became pregnant with my first daughter six years ago, I realised I wanted to do more meaningful work and make a bigger difference. That was when I was given the opportunity to take on the role of 'Sustainability Manager'. What an adventure!"

"When you feel you've fulfilled one mission in life, it's time to find another one. So I began looking for a new challenge, one that would allow me to create greater impact and change our society at large for the better. I already knew The Shift well, because I'd taken part in a lot of the network's activities. Taking up the torch of this wonderful organisation felt perfectly aligned with my mission to facilitate change within other organisations."

What was your experience as a member of The Shift?

"I got to know Business&Society and KAURI and experienced their merger, which led to The Shift. The final project my team and I worked on was 'Beyond Chocolate', which was partly made possible by bridges built by The Shift. I felt so proud of involving my organisation in that process. The Shift really plays a crucial role in bringing together different stakeholders to work on important issues, and facilitating dialogue and partnerships to offer practical solutions. The Shift's unique selling point is the fact that it is a Belgian sustainable development network with an incredibly diverse member base. That diversity makes a very broad range of partnerships possible."

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

"To answer that question I'll refer to my mission in life, as it summarises rather well who I am and what the driving forces are behind my personal and professional choices: Be a positive change agent, inspire and engage people on new ways of doing business in the most innovative, sustainable and human way."

Where do you see The Shift in one year?

"Both in Belgium and the wider world, I see a lot of momentum right now to evolve towards greater sustainability. Organisations realise more and more that we need to change the way we work if we want to make sure the next generations will have a future worth living. The question now, is 'How?' I'm convinced The Shift needs to be a catalyst and facilitator behind this change, in particular by entering into dialogue and proposing projects and programmes that offer solutions to our members' challenges. No organisation can do this alone: creating partnerships is an essential element of speeding up change, of reinventing the way we do business and simultaneously taking into account the challenges of different stakeholders.

So The Shift one year from now? I would say: a strong team, an ambitious strategy with very clear choices (we can't fight battles on all fronts!) and an even more diverse network."

What is your motto in life?

"1 degree change at a time."

"We humans often want to change everything all at once. But I believe that for change to be sustainable it needs to happen step by step; every success along the way – no matter how small – should be celebrated as a step in the right direction."

If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

"Whether we see them as failures or successes, it's undeniable that our experiences enrich us and challenge us when making personal and professional choices. So I would advise myself to be more open to these experiences, to see them as opportunities to learn and develop in life."

What makes you feel truly passionate and enthusiastic?

"People and travelling. I enjoy meeting new people. They help me see things from a different point of view and expand my knowledge. Travelling too is a great way of opening yourself up to different cultures and gaining a better understanding of the world in all its diversity."

Who inspires you in life?

"I wouldn't say there's one single individual who inspires me on a day-to-day basis. When I face challenges or important decisions, I look to the people and organisations who are (or have been) most influential in that specific field. They strengthen my belief that change is possible and that I can make a difference and get the ball rolling."

What do you love to do in your spare time?

"Cooking and travelling!"