Solange De Bondt, HR Director at LACO, celebrating her 35 years at LACO

March 2023 marks our HR Director Solange De Bondt’s 35th year at LACO. This calls for an in-depth profile of this seasoned ICT woman, who actually vowed never to work in ICT in the first place. Let’s dig into her career path!

Solange started her career as a consultant in business intelligence at ADP and she looks back on those times with fond memories. “The term Business Intelligence (BI) still had to be invented back then. Customers transmitted their data via floppy disks or over the net. And it was up to me to analyze, structure and put them into reports and then deliver those listings to the customers. It really was BI and data analysis avant la lettre.” she recalls.

Putting down the cornerstones of LACO

Pretty soon after the founding of LACO, in 1988, an opportunity presented itself. Solange brought her BI expertise to help build the IT consulting company as we know it today. Where LACO initially worked around application development on IBM systems mainly COBOL and DB2, the company opted for SAS solutions under her impulse. Her technical knowledge on the one hand and her affinity with the business and the broad know-how of various markets she acquired in all her projects on the other, made her a bridge builder between business and IT. Solange always had an eye out for the business approach and pretty soon she offered clear added value to the company and her customers.

Getting involved in the people business

During one of her last projects as a consultant, Solange became increasingly involved in the people business, in addition to coaching and training colleagues and interviewing potential new employees. “It became clear to me that I could also make a difference by supporting and guiding people in their daily jobs. That’s how I moved to the HR side of the business.”

The importance of Human Capital

In her current role as HR Director, she puts all consultants first. The fact that she grew up on the IT consulting side allows her to align the company’s strategy perfectly with the needs of the consultants and customers. Also under her guidance, LACO established a flexible organizational model to easily respond to the ever-changing ICT world. “That way we can quickly meet and take into account the changing demands and wishes of our employees and our customers,” Solange says.

That’s one of the reasons she’s thought of so fondly by her young and experienced colleagues. The importance of Human Capital, both LACO colleagues and customers, has always been central to her.

A solemn vow

So how come such an ICT powerhouse as Solange vowed never to set foot into the ICT business? As a young woman in STEM, Solange obtained an academic degree in mathematics where ICT and programming was only an elective and pretty boring. However only later she discovered the beauty and joy of building business solutions with ICT; like building a house where people love to live.

Bridging the gap

Luckily for us, that vow ended up turning out slightly different because in 2018, Solange was even nominated as ICT Woman of the Year and ended amongst the last 3.

On the one hand, she has the technical ICT background as a former BI consultant herself, and on the other hand, she knows the ins and outs of the business world. Not many people in HR are equipped with through business insights and the experience of the joys and struggles of being a consultant, and Solange does it so very well.

And that is how Solange De Bondt became a seasoned ICT woman, in a true Belgian ICT company. She grew from a consultant at the cradle of Business Intelligence to a leader in HR who values people before anything else.

Solange… We salute you! 🍾

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