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The person behind the position 

The 5 anchors of CEO Lies Taerwe 

Lies Taerwe is managing director at The House of Marketing, wife, and mother of three. She’s often asked the question “how does she manage it all?” but she never gave it much thought herself. For this behind-the-scenes look, she is willing to do just that. A down-to-earth, personal look at 5 anchors she draws support, strength and drive from. 

Anchor #1: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People 


“This book by Stephen Covey was a real eye opener for me. It changed my outlook on life. It gathers years of research on to the fundamental values in life, and the most important principle for me is that of the driver’s seat. The realization that, no matter what happens to you, you always have a choice in how you deal with it. Everyone faces setbacks. Trying to make the best of it is not always easy, but if you succeed, it changes everything.” 

“That can be about trivial things, like an outing that can’t happen because of rain. Some people would get in a bad mood about that, but you can also laugh about it. Our son was born with a disability. As a couple, standing next to his hospital bed, my husband and I made a pact to never see him as a victim. Since that day on we have focused on what he can do rather than what he can’t; driven by a fundamental belief that if we manage that, everyone will benefit from it. On a professional level, being able to make that switch to what is possible is also invaluable.” 


Anchor #2: Meditation 


“This is a relatively new thing in my life.  I also see a direct link to the first point. Understanding the ‘theory’ is one thing, putting it into practice is another one. In the rat-race we live in it is such a challenge to unwind, to quiet your head at night. Living truly in the moment has always come very natural for me; when I am with my kids, I am with my kids; when the weekend starts, i switch off until Monday morning. As CEO however, I’ve seen and still see my job becoming more and more complex, with greater responsibilities; and mastering these skills is becoming more challenging.  

“That’s exactly what meditation helps me with. My personal big AHA moment with regards to meditation came when i understood that meditation is not really about relaxing, but about taking control of your thoughts and emotions. About being able to honestly say “this is what I’m feeling right now, this is what I’m thinking and I’m going to set that aside for now.” Because knowing what to do is one thing, getting your head calm enough to actually do it is another thing. I have the feeling that as a professional, my learning went from time management to then energy management, and now to thought or emotion management. A friend once told me, “If I were a politician, I’d make meditation a mandatory course at school”; well, I think I agree with her. 


Anchor #3: Enneagram 


“I’ve always struggled with personality tests. I often came out as a chameleon with different characteristics depending on the situation. I never fit into a box where I really thought “this is me!”. The difference with the Enneagram test is that it digs into the why of your behaviour, not the behaviour itself. The results were so confronting that I initially put them aside for six months. The most painful feedback is often touching something real and yes, I felt it 🙂

“You see yourself through totally different glasses and that gives you insights that you can actually work with. You understand yourself better and that makes it easier to look for solutions when you are stuck. I recommend this test to everyone. What comes out is not always pleasant, but you can move forward with it in a constructive way. I strongly believe that you can only truly understand something if you understand yourself. 


Anchor #4: “Op de vrouw af” 

“Op de vrouw af” is a podcast created by a former employee here at The House of Marketing and her colleague at Telenet. A podcast aimed at women helping, supporting and inspiring each other. I don’t really call myself a feminist. I believe in qualities and talents rather than male or female characteristics. Yet, this podcast resonates with me as the fact remains that we are currently still in a transition towards real equality.” 

“As much as today I resent female/male quota’s in leadership positions, I see them as a gift for us as a society to give to our daughters and their daughters. If our generation of women ‘bites the bullet’, we can break the pattern and create the role models of the generations to come. And to ‘bite that bullet’, yes, we women do need some extra ammunition at times; and supporting each other is essential.”

Anchor #5: Sport & wine

I have never been a fanatic sporter; but I think I will die as one. Sports are taking an increasingly important role in my life: from being a ‘fun nice to have’ to ‘something I owe to my body’. A turning point came when I suffered back pain after giving birth to our third child; which impacted carrying our oldest son who is wheelchair-dependant. It struck to me that if I would not take care of that back, his independence and my independence with my kids could be strongly impacted.

” I love the balance, if you can call it that way ;-), between discipline and appreciating what I believe to be some of the delicacies of life: great food and wine shared with great people. Maybe that will never make me that top-sporter (laughs), but then that is a sacrifice I am very happy to make.”


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