Name: Bob Van den Broecke
Title: Managing Director of Evernex Japan
Years in Japan: 4
What was your first encounter with Japan?
My first exposure to Japan came through my father, who started working for Ajinomoto in Paris shortly after I was born. We lived there for 11 years, and our neighbors were a Japanese family. I was good friends with their son, who showed me his new snacks and his remote-control cars from Japan. Our mothers were also friends, and my mother learned some Japanese during that time.
Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.
My favorite book is “The Three Musketeers,” by Alexandre Dumas, so I’ll go with “All for one and one for all.” It works in the context of running this business, because when you give to your employees, they give back to you.
It’s important to show appreciation to those who give to the business. I don’t track what each individual employee is doing, and I encourage them to travel and work from wherever they want. If they want to work from the beach, I say, “Go ahead, but make sure to send me a picture.”
It’s not always easy, but when it is, I encourage them to enjoy it. And when it’s hard and they see a colleague in trouble, I ask them to help each other. It’s all about caring for each other and allowing people to have weaknesses and make mistakes.
Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?
Setting up Evernex Japan. It’s my baby, and building everything from scratch in a country I knew nothing about was the greatest challenge of my career. It gives me the will to wake up in the morning; it’s never boring. I had a great CEO and mentor back in Italy. His work ethic and management style were unique and drove us to give our best — to work hard and play hard. Opening Evernex in Japan has allowed me to diffuse that culture here.
What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?
I like challenges. I’m not ready to put my feet in the sand yet. I will one day, but not now. I want to keep challenging myself and keep growing our business in Japan. I also want to work on my weakness and grow as a person. There are still so many things to be done.
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