My personality and my goals are the matured result of the following personal engagements:
I want to become a great environmentalist and an outstanding democrat, and excelling in technology, in leadership, in sustainability and in personal balance are the means I chose to reach those goals.
(1) Open source software: I believe that software should be open source, especially when used to spread ideas. At 16 already, I created an open website and email platform for my extended family (300+ members). I also developed the Brussels section’s site for the World Youth Days, a global Christian event. Since University, I became webmaster of Planet-Libre, a platform regrouping over 500 bloggers reporting on open-source projects.
My conviction: The sharing economy, especially knowledge sharing through open-source contributions, is an extraordinary catalyst of technological innovation. Where would we stand if Gutenberg had “closed sourced” the printing press?
(2) Sustainability: I founded Mountain Wilderness Belgium, and since 2006 I joined the board of MW International, an NGO for mountain preservation. We lobby authorities for zonal protections, organize clean-up campaigns on heavily travelled climbing routes, and train local youth in Pakistani Hunza villages to become certified guides. In Belgium, we mostly educate the public through PR actions. I have often presented our initiatives on national media.
My conviction: Preserving wilderness is our best investment for future generations. This can be done through simple harmonious actions. My philosophy is to leave the mountain in better (wilder) condition after each trek, as I always collect some trash on the way down.
(3) Leadership: I acquired leadership skills through alpinism and my role of lead rope climber. Aged 18, I already took mountaineering clients under my responsibility. Joining the Army for 2 years, I commanded squadrons of 50+ soldiers, simulating attacks on strategic objectives, taking decisions under duress. I became a recognized alpinist in Belgium, organizing climbing expeditions in Kirghizstan, Mongolia, China and Bolivia. Nowadays, I belong to a special situations team uniquely qualified to rescue people stuck in inaccessible locations (Alpi-secours). On top of my interventions, I have prevented several dramatic accidents through my coaching on climbing risks.
My conviction: My type of leadership is the “no bullshit” attitude of experienced mountaineers. When you face the cliff, you cannot lie to yourself. You need to know exactly what you have, and work on surpassing yourself to reach the summit.
(4) Personal balance: I practice slackline, a rope-walking sport that reinforces balance and control. I pioneered the sport in Belgium, regularly giving interviews and demonstrating figures. Slacklining allows me to meet extraordinary people, as conversations engage easily. I even got sponsored to slackline over a glacier in Kirghizstan!
On a personal level, my wife Marie is my perfect complement, my Yang. Extremely rational, she challenges my creativity by diving deep into my assumptions. A spiritual partner, she is also my best friend.
My conviction: I refuse to enter the “rat race”, preferring to focus myself on quality and balance in all aspects of my life.