About me – First impression

First impression video Willem Schans

I am Willem Schans and I am sharing a first impression of myself through the video above and the story below.

As you can probably guess from my name, I am Dutch. This explains the orange colour of Treasury Improvement as it is the Dutch national celebration colour. I think it fits well with Treasury Improvement as each improvement is a moment for celebration.

I was born and raised in the Netherlands in the North-Eastern part, called Drenthe. I have studied there as well and it is where I met my wife Fiona. After my studies my first job was Customer Support Professional. Here I was talking to customers of ERP software helping them out with everything ranging from user questions to quite the technical IT stuff.

This is where I really learned to listen to be able to actually help people. From here my journey went on to Consultant for the same company and then International Consultant. Yes, that is the same but with a whole new cultural dimension to it. This has taken me from Sweden to the US to Nigeria and Ghana and a lot of other countries in between.

Willem Schans
Netherlands map

During this time we moved to the western part of the Netherlands, close to the sea, which is great for beach walks. Both of our children were born over there. In the mean time I had changed company to work on a project to implement SAP in Central and Eastern Europe in the shipping business. This enabled me to enrich my knowledge with in-house banking, budgeting and controlling. I was now on the path to a career in finance.

And so it happened that after the project I went on as Corporate Treasury Manager in two different companies in shipping and in the fashion and apparel business. Here I had a steep learning curve, first time managing cash, liquidity, hedging instruments, hedge accounting, well everything that makes a Treasurer tick. This has been an exciting time with lots of new learnings and experiences. Managing cash in stressful times really takes the best out of me. The combination of assessing forecasting accuracy, collaborating with accounts receivables, accounts payables and the general accounting manager to squeeze everything into the complete package is a good challenge. Technical skills to improve daily processes and the managing of conflicting priorities is combination that actually works for me.

Quickly after the birth of my youngest we moved to Belgium due to a job change. We lived in Vlaanderen which cyclists will immediately know this is where the famous Ronde van Vlaanderen takes place. We lived right in the middle of it near Brakel.

And because we both speak Dutch, one would expect the culture is more or less equal. Well, surprisingly, there is quite a big difference between the two cultures. After a few mistakes here and there I have learned to appreciate the differences.

Belgium map
Switzerland map

Then after a year my job took us further to Switzerland and we moved to beautiful Weisslingen and this is where we still are today. To fully integrate and really learn Swiss-German I joined the Männer Turn Verein and have in the meantime taken over the organization of the Festwirtschaft which is now my responsibility.

Partly due to the great outdoor scenery over here and to get back into shape I have taken up running and cycling.  Because I like challenges I have set myself a goal to finish a half Iron Man triathlon, the 70.3. My first steps have been made and I keep focused on my goal to reach it.

Somehow that doesn't fit in quite well with my  other hobby which is beer brewing. And that means tasting as well. Well, like with many things, it is simply a matter of managing somewhat conflicting priorities. I am confident that in the end of the day I will brew great beers and I will finish the Iron Man.

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