It’s only a crazy dream until you do it
Some of you might know I’m a passionate marathon runner. At the time I’m writing this piece, I’m training for my 24th. When running a marathon, there’s a lot going on with the body, but at least as much with the mind. And the entire journey, from preparation until finish, is accompanied by a lot of different emotions.

In the months before you start the race, you define your training schedule and execute on it, as meticulously as you can. And as your training distances grow, so does your confidence. At race day, when you are queueing up before the starting line, the healthy tension builds up. You know you’ve prepared well, but nevertheless, you’re getting a bit nervous. You want to go for it, because this is what you’ve been training for so long, however, you start to question whether you’ve really done enough to prepare. Then, when the starting signal finally goes off, you feel liberated, ready to go, and enjoy the first half of the race really well. It’s the ‘discovery round’ : this is when you read the circumstances (no rain, hopefully? Not too much head wind coming up?…), when you experience how your legs and body are feeling. Overall, you (still) feel great. Halfway New York City marathon is a short moment of absolute silence : the Queensborough Bridge, taking you from Queens to Manhattan, is closed for traffic on marathon day, and there are no sidewalks, so no supporters either. And for a few minutes, it looks like you’re all by yourself. Silence before the storm, that is, as when turning onto First Avenue, thousands of cheering supporters go crazy. What an impressive moment. But that’s also when the race gets more difficult. In this third quarter of the race, you feel the fatigue growing, the legs become heavier, and the mind starts protesting. The last quarter, from km 32 upwards, is the tough one. That’s when everything hurts, you develop tunnel vision, your eyesight is blurring and you set your mind on one mission only : on pushing and pushing and pushing towards the finish. And then, when having crossed the finish line after 42,195 kms, the first thing that pops into your mind is : ‘this was fun, let’s do it again!’. What an interesting set of emotions, running a marathon!



Passion = emotions
On Feb 1st, 2018, I started a different, passionate race in my life. I founded the branch office for ITQ Consultancy in Leuven, Belgium, extending the home territory of ITQ from Netherlands into Benelux. And where there’s passion, there are emotions.

A few months before, I agreed with ITQ’s owners, Francisco and Paul, that we would found the Belgian branch, and I have been planning and preparing to get ready for the start. The first half year was very comparable to the first half of a marathon race : the discovery round where you match reality with your preparation, where you execute on the plan and put so many different things in place (offices, contracts, HR stuff, GTMs, …), hire your first team members and sign your first assignments. Such an interesting time, steep learning curve, enthousiasm from so many people around you (just like the supporters cheering on race day) and lots of fun whilst doing it.

And then, just when business starts to boost, the summer holiday period arrives, leading to a few weeks of … silence. Made me think about Queensborough Bridge, assuming it would be the silence before the storm. And right after summer holidays, our business also seemed to turn onto First Avenue, kicking off great projects, with our consultants. What a great feeling! At the same time, this is when the idea becomes serious business and you go with that flow. The last weeks before Christmas have been dual : on one hand I knew that the first year of ITQ Leuven was already a success, but on the other hand, I was pushing, pushing, pushing myself to get to the finish line of the first fiscal year and officially nail those great 2018 results, but also get us in best shape possible, with a bucket of assignments confirmed for the team in 1Q19, to get us a kick start into 2019.

When I crossed the finish line, with a glass (bottle) of champagne in my hand on New Year’s eve, the first thing that popped into my mind was : ‘this was fun, let’s do it again!’.


As opposed to running a marathon, I am not running the ITQ race alone. On the contrary, I am surrounded by great people who accompany me on this ride! The local team is growing fast, with dedicated, motivated people, who are helping each other to get the best out of them. The entire ITQ Team in Benelux is enthousiastic and supporting the local team on a daily basis : ‘OneITQ’ is not just a catch phrase, it’s the real thing!
The key differentiator of ITQ are the people. And they all share the same DNA : passion, ownership, quality, authenticity.


Will you join us on this ride?
To fuel our growth, we will be hiring several new colleagues in the coming months. Will you join our team?
Last year, I recorded a LightBoard session, explaining the WHY-HOW-WHAT of ITQ and the ITQ DNA ( Make sure to check it out, and if you recognize yourself, then don’t wait any longer and reach out : [email protected]

Tom Vallons Strategy Officer

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