Marc and his foundation: GavoorGeluk
Interim managers are often professionals with many years of experience in management functions in multiple sectors. At some point in time, they switch careers from executive/manager to freelancer. They typically want more freedom, independence, variation and the possibility to share their story and experience with others.
A successful interim manager is able to quickly switch between projects, deal with the insecurity of being a freelancer, sense and capture the company culture very fast, gain credibility, and is able to start in a moment’s notice.
Still, interim managers are confronted with prejudices.
They are perceived to hop from one project to another, charge steep prices, and to show little social involvement.
Here at AUSY, we see how our interim managers provide proof to the contrary every single day. They often use the experience they have gained to devote themselves to social projects alongside their job. That's why over the coming months we will be telling you the stories of Inke, Pierre and Marc.
Who is Marc?
Marc tells us that he got to know AUSY by accident. Someone in his network introduced him, and that’s how he got started as an interim manager. A career that he’s been building for the last 17 years.
He uses the experience that he gained as an interim manager to manage his own project: the foundation GavoorGeluk, which he started in 2005 together with Jan Toye.
Apart from being an interim manager and managing his own project, Marc also finds the time to write. His third book was just published: Collega in hoofd en hart.
“In 2005, I founded GavoorGeluk together with Jan Toye,” Marc tells us. “It’s a very personal project: we’ve both lost a child to suicide. The goal of this foundation is the prevention of suicide in children and adolescents. Everyone always thinks it won’t happen to them, but that’s far from the truth. Every year, 1200 people commit suicide in Flanders. This means more people die by taking their own lives than by getting into a car accident.”
“To start our foundation, Jan and I got together with scientists from the KU Leuven,” Marc continues. “A thorough scientific basis is necessary for this project. It’s the only way in which we can actually help our target audience. Even today, we never start a project without looking into the scientific research.”
On the one hand, GavoorGeluk invests in what they call “good practices”. Those are projects that strive to prevent suicide in children and adolescents, that work according to a scientifically proven method. On the other hand, the foundation created some of its own projects, for example: Warm schools, Warm William, Warm cities.
A warm school is a school in which every child feels good. A school that, apart from the cognitive development of the child, also focuses on the mental health of its students.
Marc: “Mental health starts in kindergarten. Warm schools want to give children the tools to deal with difficult moments and to be resilient. We want to make them aware of the importance of being mentally healthy.”
What does a warm school look like? “In a warm school, the entire team strives to strengthen the well-being of its students. Furthermore, a warm school doesn’t just focus on its students, but rather on the well-being of everyone involved: teachers, parents, partners …” Marc explains.
Warm William is a big, blue bear that wants to convince people to talk about their problems.
Marc goes on: “It’s often very difficult to tell someone that you’re not doing well. Warm William wants to convince kids and adolescents to talk to their environment. In different primary schools, we’ve placed a bench that the blue bear sits on. If a child goes and sits next to warm William, he sends a message to his friends saying that he wants to talk about something.”
“For the adolescents, we’ve developed an application,” Marc continues. “In the app, they can read stories and testimonials of others that went through a difficult period and found comfort in talking to someone else about it. Through the application, you can also thank the warm William in your life, or read tips and tricks on how to become a warm William yourself.”
A warm city pays attention to the 8 pillars of resilience in children and adolescents. Because even though 1 in 5 children struggles with psychological problems, 4 in 5 indicate that they are doing well overall. These kids can help their struggling peers. The 8 pillars of resilience are:
- Pay attention to the basic needs and rights of children.
- Encourage a warm, supportive environment.
- Support their personal development.
- Create a connection between children, adolescents and their environment.
- Maximize the odds of physical well-being.
- Talk about vulnerability in a safe environment.
- Make sure children and adolescents know where to ask for help if help is needed.
- Include children and adolescents in these policies.
Time management is everything
How does Marc combine the work on his foundation with his full time job as an interim manager? “Time management, time management and time management,” he tells us. “I put a lot of time and effort into the foundation. What’s more, Jan and I do this work on a voluntary basis. However, as an interim manager I’m used to giving companies a clear structure to work with and to organize them in a sustainable way. I take that experience with me when I’m working for GavoorGeluk.”
“Most of my free time is spent working for GavoorGeluk,” says Marc. “I put my heart and soul into this project. What’s more, I think of guiding this organization as my duty. I believe we don’t realize just how good we have it. For everything we receive, we should give something back. Some do this in silence, by donating money, others do this by building something. Like Jan and I did 15 years ago.”