#ProudConnector Unveiled: Ilse Tack | Founder
What is your function within YouConnect?
I founded YouConnect in 2013. Today, we are a team of 14 professionals, and my role is that of Managing Partner.
What did you do before you started YouConnect?
I had a passion for this profession way back in 2005—before starting YouConnect. I already boasted over 7 years’ experience in the legal staffing sector. This is a job that really suits me: connecting with talent and connecting talent with interesting positions at great companies.
What motivates you to come to work each day?
I would have to say, my natural positivity, a constant striving for quality, and a "go for it" attitude.
What do you think are the most important skills a recruitment consultant should have?
In the first place, you need to have an innate interest in people. You should also be good at assessing people so you can spot the candidates with the necessary skills to fill particular roles in different companies.
Perseverance is also important because, as a specialized service provider, we mainly handle difficult searches, outsourced to us by companies that value our experience and expertise. Finally, you have to be resilient and inventive, and determined to go that extra mile to achieve your goals.
How would you describe the working atmosphere at YouConnect?
We’re a strong, close-knit team. We all enjoy our autonomy. At the same time, we work together really well and take our responsibilities seriously. It’s a great working atmosphere with no internal rivalries. We focus on quality, and we all like to win.
Which characteristic do you value most in your discussion partners?
I like to talk to people who structure their thoughts before they speak so that their words are concise and clearly express their message or point of view.
What’s the best way to ensure a successful working day?
Define your objectives in the long-, medium- and short-term and keep them clearly in mind. The success of any working day will largely depend on how well you prepare the day or night before.
What are your ambitions within YouConnect?
I’m proud of where the company stands today in both the legal and the HR staffing market. We still have ambitious plans for growth in both. By continuing to build on our strong reputation and further strengthen our position as a quality player, our ultimate objective is to become a market leader with a sustainable business model.
Which interview question do you find the most productive?
I learn a lot from questions about the mistakes someone has made, and what they have learned from them.
What are your strengths within the team?
I believe in leading by example. I'm a Managing Partner who is part of the team, and who likes to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty. Also, as management, setting out guidelines and courses of action, it is important to have a self-managing team like ours – one whose members enjoy a high degree of autonomy and who take their responsibilities very seriously. That works well in a professional services company.
What's your favorite season and why?
I love all the seasons. I can’t imagine living without them. But my favorite one has to be spring because of the longer days, the soft sunlight, the birdsong, and the blossoms!
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A real early bird! I find my proverbial early morning gold in a morning run or in 30 lengths of the pool before breakfast. Especially during the holidays – I never miss a single day.
What's your record for 5 kilometers?
I tend to reach record-breaking speed when I meet dogs running loose in the southern English countryside. It’s no laughing matter! It’s a phobia I developed after a frightening experience as a child, and I’ve never gotten over it. But in general, I find the 5 km ideal, given that I don’t often have much time. I do like to run: I never go anywhere without my running shoes in my suitcase.
What was your last online purchase?
Books we gave as gifts to our freelancers. Because it’s an ideal period to pamper people, and because I see that in this – ever-lengthening – Corona period, you make extra time for books. It's a little bit more fun to give than to get. But, whatever the case, a new book always cheers me up.
What is your ultimate dream for yourself? Or for the world in general?
The end of extreme poverty. In that respect, Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness is very encouraging. According to the author, "The race to end extreme poverty has been a marathon, for which the starting shot was fired in 1800. This next generation has the unique opportunity to finish the job and take over the baton, cross the finish line and raise their hands in triumph."
What would you like to spend more time on?
Reading, sports, and family and friends.
What's your strongest sense?
My smell is very highly developed. A deliciously fragrant rose or the smell of rain on warm asphalt... mmm… bliss!
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Yogurt ice cream from Talamini (Ghent).
If you were going to a desert island, what would you definitely take with you?
Sunglasses – amazing how different and more beautiful the world appears through color-tinted sunglasses. And books, of course – food for the mind.
Which celebrity would you most like to interview?
Barack Obama. He has the gift of gab. And with Michèle Obama, too. That would be one amazing, warm, inspiring conversation.
Would you rather cook for yourself or order out?
I like to cook for myself: I love healthy food, and Mediterranean cuisine – Ottolenghi for example. But I also enjoy eating out, because everyone stays at the table, so you can enjoy pleasant conversations with no domestic distractions...
What did you want to be when you were little?
A nurse. "Taking care of people," I guess that typifies me. I think I'm in the right profession now, too. It's pretty much written all over me.
What moves you emotionally?
A dance performance can touch me deeply. Years ago, in the ruins of the abbey of Villers -la –Ville, I saw a performance of Cesena by Anne Teresa Dekeersmaeker. It started at 5 o'clock in the morning. It was magical.
I also had the privilege of seeing a choreographed performance Ravel’s Boléro, danced by Wim Vanlessen of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. Performances like these take you out of yourself and the present for a moment. After them, you can get back to your life with renewed energy.
Is there any day of your life you’d like to relive?
Yes, the days my sons were born.
Suppose you woke up tomorrow and suddenly you had a new quality or skill, what would it be?
A talent with words and for acting. I have enormous admiration for eloquent people. I would love to write the words down, take them with me in my handbag, reread them, and, above all, share them with others.
I definitely like to share a beautiful theatrical or dance performance with other people. The downside is that you have to be well organized with booking tickets on time, and unfortunately there are often only a limited number of performances.
Do you like music? If so, what's your all-time favorite?
I love classical music, French music, and music from the 70s and 80s! Kim Wilde, Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes, Simple Minds.
At home, we listen to classical all day long on Klara Continuo. I’m a bit of an opera lover too. Special moments sometimes call for specific music. Holy Week, for example, includes the Saint Matthew Passion. Erbarme dich, is breathtaking. I had the privilege of seeing the Passion live at the Clara Festival, two days after the attacks of March 2016. That was very special.
What was your last holiday destination?
Cordoba. It was the world’s biggest city in the 10th century! We visited the Mezquita-Cathedral de Cordoba three times. It’s a very special building – a fusion of architectural styles and religions, with a unique atmosphere. It’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
My most beautiful big trip has undoubtedly been to Japan. An amazing country, characterized by beauty and simplicity combined.
Which three words describe you best?
Action-oriented, water (and action in water), discretion.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
Very relaxed: I enjoy taking breakfast in the city, sport is a big part of it (jogging and swimming), and on Saturday evenings we like to take in a play or a show, an opera maybe, or some form of dance. But we also like to invite friends round for a barbecue.
Are you a country person or a city person?
A combination of both. On holiday, we prefer a mix of culture, architecture, and tranquility in nature. If you try to combine these ingredients in one trip, you will never get to any really unspoiled places, off the beaten track, like the Norwegian Fjords.
What's your favorite city and why?
Difficult choice. In general, the most beautiful cities for me are the ones with water in the city center. Our own city, Ghent, has that. A few years ago, we discovered Lucca, a very special walled town, with lots of churches, and water in the city.
I love New York, too. It always feels a little bit like you’re in a movie there. The view from a high skyscraper, a coffee in the street at five in the morning, and the atmosphere! I always get super energized whenever I’m there.
Jerusalem is very special: a city with over 3,000 years of history. It’s a very interesting and at the same time very complex city.
What book do you think everyone should read?
“Factfullness” by Hans Rosling, because it lays out a very positive world view, based on facts and data.
Which is your favorite day of the week?
Saturday! Because the weekend’s just beginning!