Employee Spotlight: Change Management Consultant, Celine de Regt

CRM Dynamics prides itself in the diversity of our staff’s experience. To highlight that, we present the Employee Spotlight.   

This month we learn about our resident Change Management Consultant, Celine de Regt.

Read on to find out more about Celine!

Background

Celine, along with her family emigrated from Holland to Canada when she was just 3. The oldest of four, Celine was raised on a farm near Melbourne, Ontario, Celine’s family cultivated cash crops to make ends meet upon their arrival to Canada.  “We had soybeans, oats, corn, those types of things.  Later our family expanded on the property and my Mom began teaching equestrian.”

So, did you grow up riding horses?

“I was my Mom’s first student (Laughs).  It’s kind of like having your parents teach you how to drive, it can be difficult to separate that personal relationship at times.  My Mom and Sister still run the horse-riding business at the farm, and my other sister rides weekly – 7 years of age difference, and a lot more students helped a lot.”

What made you want to leave the small-town life?

“I went to High School in London, and that was a big change for me.  Going from a school of 150 students to 1600 – I was able to find more like-minded people and that gave me the bug that I didn’t want to stay local.”

Celine ended up enrolling at the University of Toronto and completing a double Major in Criminology and Sociology.  “I always have had an interest in people, to understand how we interact and operate.”

During her studies, Celine decided to leave Toronto and experiment with living in Holland; for a new experience and to connect with her Dutch roots.

“I worked at a bar in Amsterdam, which covered my travels to explore the rest of Europe during my summer experiment.”  It went so well that she decided to move to Amsterdam permanently when she completed her studies  “I had no idea what I was doing, I could speak Dutch but wasn’t very strong with writing or reading.  I needed a company where English was the corporate language.  It was then I happened across a company I’d never heard of – Cirque du Soleil -remember it was 1999.”

 You leave Ontario, move to Holland, and get your first post University job at Cirque du Soleil?

“Yes, I called home and said – I’m going to work for the circus, they’re going to shoot me out of a cannon.” (Laughs).

“I ended up starting in Corporate Sponsorship in the Marketing department and then switched into Human Resources.  In 2001 I became Head of HR for Europe.  But, during this time Cirque was going through a major transformation from being decentralized to centralized, so suddenly I had a boss in Holland and a boss in Montreal.  This was my first introduction to mass organizational change.  I learned a lot.  What could go well, what could go poorly, and I learned about the importance of communication and leadership.”

How did you end up back in Canada?

“It was clear I wasn’t going to stay in Europe, my partner at the time (now Husband) wanted to do his MBA in North America.  When he was accepted to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University – we knew we were both moving back.”

And what about your role at Cirque?

“I was offered a position to become HR Manager for the touring shows division in Montreal.  It was a role that didn’t exist before and it required me do a lot of organizational development and change management.”

Is that what set you on your path for a career in Change Management?

“Yes, after doing that for some time I moved to a large Insurance company that was merging four different companies together as one.  I was approached to head up the Change Management initiative – aligning and understanding all the different systems, processes, and people.  I was Director, Organizational Transformation for 5 years.”

Was Change Management always around or did you come of age with it?

“It has always been around but maybe not always looked at as a skillset or a job.  In 1996 John Kotter’s research revealed that only 30% of change programs succeed.  More recent studies show very similar numbers of 1 in 3 transformations achieving the results it set out for.  The nature of change has evolved in that time with organizations only doing 1 major change in the ’70s and ’80s, whereas now we are seeing companies doing major changes on an ongoing basis.  Our systems sometimes change without us even asking them to, with new updates and interfaces, making Change Management much more prevalent in our personal and professional lives than ever before.”

How did you end up at CRM Dynamics?

“I had taken some time off to focus on home and being more present for my two children when I began looking to get back into a Change Management type role.  Immediately I loved the vibe of CRMD, the friendliness of the staff here, and the fact that work-life balance is a very important part of the culture.”   

What excites you most about your work at CRMD?

“I love helping organizations utilize and optimize their people and their tools.  I also have always enjoyed building internal structures and processes for the companies I’ve been with.  At CRMD, I get to do both which is great.” 

OK, so outside of work any hobbies or interests you’d like to share?

“I play hockey one night a week.  I couldn’t even skate two and a half years ago (laughs). “

How’d you get into that?

“My kids and my Husband play, so myself and a few other Moms got into it and enjoyed it. I thought you know what, I wanted to do something active and when you have a group of beginners, the amount of vulnerability and the degree of friendship you build from that shared experience is amazing!”

Any other passions?

“I love to read, it’s a big thing in our house.  I’m currently reading Trevor Noah’s book “Born a Crime.”

“One of my favorite Authors is Norman Doidge who writes about neuroplasticity – his two books “The Brain’s Way of Healing” and “The Brain That Changes Itself” I found incredibly insightful.”

OK, last question.  I know you are a big traveler, what’s your favorite place you’ve been so far?

I’d have to say Indonesia.  In particular, Bali.  The food is good, the people are amazing and it’s just so relaxed and beautiful!”

Jared Teed

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