Leaders Meeting Paris – 18, 19 & 20 November

Mediafin, publisher of De Tijd and L’Echo, is holding the 14th high-level networking event Leaders Meeting @ Paris. This year’s Leaders Meeting focuses on ‘Never waste a good crisis’. What are the best ways of looking after yourself and your organisation in times of global crises? What are the best ways of handling moments of crisis in your own life and your organisation? And how can we, as business, societal or academic leaders, offer solutions in these times of deep geopolitical, climate and economic crisis?

And what about you, as a leader? How are YOU faring? How are you coping with those enormous challenges you are confronted with? In recent years, we have been increasingly confronted with crises at various levels: a war and intense geopolitical tensions, accelerating climate change, a pandemic, business crises, psychological challenges… Yet we are not just prone to crises, we are shaped by them. Should we just keep calm and carry on as though nothing is happening around us? Or can we tackle this moment of multiple crises differently? What can we learn from previous crises? And what can we do to prevent new ones from happening? Together with top-class experts from relevant fields, we will focus on what you can do to tackle crises as a person, as a leader, and as a guardian of your organisation.

Isabel Albers, general editor-in-chief De Tijd – L’Echo

Friday 18 November 2022

12.00 PM | Welcome and check-in at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand

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2.00 PM | Official Opening with Mr Frederik Anseel, Senior Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise) at UNSW Sydney Business School

Mr Frederik Anseel, Senior Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise) at UNSW Sydney Business School

Frederik Anseel is a Belgian management professor who works and lives in Sydney, Australia. Born and raised in Kortrijk, he was appointed as the youngest full professor at Ghent University and never dreamt of leaving Belgium. However, a series of research appointments and invitations for leadership roles at prestigious management institutions in France (ESSEC Business School), Italy (Bocconi University), United Kingdom (King’s College London) eventually led him to his current position as Dean of Research at UNSWs leading Australian Graduate School of Management. For his sharp and critical analyses shooting down management fads and gurus, international media have called him both the Pep Guardiola and the Tom ‘Maverick’ Cruise of the HR world. Since 2018 and exclusively for a Belgian audience, his science-based analyses can be read every other week in De Tijd.

3.00 PM | Coffee break

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3.30 PM | Interview with Bashir Abdi, Belgian athlete specialised in long-distance running

Mr Bashir Abdi, Belgian athlete specialised in long-distance running 

Bashir Abdi is a Somali-born Belgian athlete who specialises in long-distance running. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he won the the bronze medal in the marathon. He also won the silver medal at the 2018 European Championships in the 10,000 metres. He is the current European record holder in the marathon, holds the other European best and two other Belgian records.

7.00 PM | Exclusive dinner

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8.00 PM | Fireside chat with Ilham Kadri, CEO Solvay

Ilham Kadri, CEO Solvay

Ilham Kadri is CEO and President of the Executive Committee of Solvay, a materials, chemicals and solutions company which through its purpose, values and science contributes to protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life.

Dr. Kadri is a world citizen with a rich professional experience across a variety of industries in four continents and with leading multinationals, including Shell, UCB, Huntsman, Dow Chemical and Sealed Air. Prior to joining Solvay, Dr. Kadri was CEO and President of Diversey in the United States.

Ilham Kadri is a purpose-driven leader with education and meritocracy, science and sustainability as the red threads in her personal life and career. Under her leadership, Solvay is working towards achieving its ambitious sustainability strategy, Solvay One Planet, which addresses biodiversity and social issues among others. Soon after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she initiated the Solvay Solidarity Fund for employees and their families impacted by the pandemic. The Fund has since been extended to address a broader range of hardships, such as floods and the conflict in Ukraine.

Dr. Kadri actively promotes inclusion and diversity and is committed to mentoring young women and promoting women in STEM. She launched Solvay One Dignity to place human dignity back at the heart of Solvay’s culture and empower all minorities, including improving the numbers of women at the top.

She is an independent board member at A.O. Smith and L’Oréal. In addition, Ilham Kadri is the Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), member of the steering committee of the European Round Table of Industrialists as well as a permanent member of the International Business Council.

Dr. Kadri holds a degree in chemical engineering from L’École des Hauts Polymères in Strasbourg and a PhD in macromolecular physico-chemistry from Strasbourg’s Louis Pasteur University. In July 2021, she received the Légion d’honneur, the highest French order of merit. She is also Doctor Honoris Clausa of the University of Namur (Belgium) and EWHA University (Korea).

Saturday 19 November 2022

7.00 AM - 10.00 AM | Breakfast at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand

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7.30 AM - 8.30 AM | Morning run with Bashir Abdi

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09.30 AM | Keynote Daan De Wever, CEO Dstny Group

Daan De Wever studied Economics at the KUL, followed by a Masterclass in Financial Management in Antwerp and successfully followed several management programs at the Vlerick Business School. Daan started his career in 2001. From the very beginning he gave his entrepreneurial spirit free rein. At the age of 21 he founded, together with his brother Samuel, Belgian Network Solutions (Benesol) that sells server space for Belgian IRC channels. In 2004 he led (together with the CEO) the successful start-up of Infranea, a construction company specializing in 3D engineering, and in 2008 he founded Destiny. The entry of a number of business angels and small start-up funds made it possible for Destiny to become a prominent Belgian player in the then still small cloud telecom market.

Today Daan is CEO of Dstny, which has grown into a leading European provider of cloud-based business communications, delivered both directly to companies and through partners and service providers. In this fast growing scale-up, Daan saw a huge opportunity to apply his experience in the information and services industry, as well as skills in M&A, management and coaching a young, dynamic team. He built Dstny in a sustainable way. From the first acquisitions in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, over crucial acquisitions in 2021 in Sweden and Denmark, to the most recent acquisitions in a.o. UK today. Dstny’s rapid but sustainable growth has been achieved by Daan through an arrowhead acquisition process and buy and build strategy thanks to attracting the right investors: Mentha Capital Private Equity in 2015 and in December 2019 French Apax Partners took up the torch.

In February this year, Daan united the more than 10 companies in the group under one new brand identity and changed the name from Destiny to Dstny. To further build European brand awareness, Daan also steps into cycling sponsorship and with Dstny becomes the new co-title sponsor of the Belgian UCI Worldtour cycling team Lotto-Dstny starting in 2023.

Today, Dstny – under Daan’s leadership – has grown into a leading European player in interactive and cloud-based business communication tools that operates in 7 European countries (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, UK) from its headquarters in Brussels, employs more than 900 people, helps simplify the daily lives of more than 2.5 million users and closed 2021 with annual revenues of €190 million.

10.20 AM | Coffee break

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10.50 AM | Interview with Ann Beliën, PhD CEO and Founder Rejuvenate Biomed

Fireside chat

Ann Beliën established Rejuvenate Biomed, where she currently functions as founder and CEO. Ann has over 17 years of experience in drug development from bench to market, which she acquired at Johnson & Johnson throughout multiple international assignments (US, NL, BE). She developed from scientist to operational and strategic roles (oncology, neurology, infectious diseases) including external and open innovation (therapeutics and prevention). She joined Johnson & Johnson in 2000, after a postdoc at ETH, Zürich, Switzerland. She holds a PhD from the University of Irchel, Zürich, Switzerland and a master’s degree from the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium.

11.50 PM | Keynote Bas Smets, Landscape Architect

Bas Smets has a background in landscape architecture, civil engineering and architecture. He founded his firm in Brussels in 2007 and has since completed more than 50 projects in more than 12 countries with his team of 20 architects and landscape architects.


His realised projects include the park of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels; the public space around the Trinity Tower in Paris La Défense, the Mandrake Hotel in London, the Himara Waterfront in Albania, and recently the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, France.

In 2008 he was awarded the biennial French prize for young landscape architects. A first monographic exhibition was presented in 2013 by deSingel International Arts Centre and Arc-en-Reve centre for architecture in Bordeaux. In 2017 he was appointed General Commissioner for the Biennial of Architecture of Bordeaux and in 2018 he received the Award for Urbanism and Public Space from the French Academy of Architecture.

7.30 PM | Double interview between Mr Sammy Mahdi, President of cd&v and Mr Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments (PS)

Sammy Mahdi, President of cd&v

  • 2013-2014 Consultant Public Affairs at Akkanto
  • 2014-2017 Parliamentary Assistant for Deputy in Flemish Parliament Joris Poschet
  • 2017-2020 President of the Young Christian Democrats (Jong CD&V)
  • 2020 Deputy in the Federal Parliament
  • 2020-2022 Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, in charge of the National Lottery Juin
  • 2022 President of cd&v

Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments (PS)

Thomas Dermine, born on 1 May 1986 in Charleroi, is a French-speaking Belgian economist and politician who is a member of the Socialist Party.

On 1 October 2020, he was appointed State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investment with responsibility for Science Policy, deputy to the Minister for the Economy and Labour in Alexander De Croo’s federal government.

Within the federal government, he is responsible for steering the coordination of the Belgian Recovery Plan and ensuring close cooperation between the European Commission and Belgium.

In parallel with this mission, Thomas also supervises the Federal Science Policy, including 10 federal scientific establishments and a multitude of competences ranging from Belgian aerospace policy to the management of federal museums and federal research policy.

8.30 PM | Gala dinner

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Sunday 20 November 2022

7.00 AM - 10.00 AM | Breakfast at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand

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10.00 AM | Keynote - Elke Van Hoof

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11. 00 AM | Coffee break

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11.20 AM | Lieven Scheire, Comedian, physicist and science watcher.


Lieven Scheire is a comedian, physicist and science communicator. Dubbed the secret Belgian love child of Stephen Fry and Dara Ó Briain, Lieven talks about complex scientific subject matter in an accessible way, with expertise and the necessary dose of humour.

While studying physics, Lieven and his cousin founded the comedy group Neveneffecten. Together, they created comedy shows and two very successful Belgian television shows. More recently Lieven makes and presents tv shows like Scheire en de Schepping (2012-2014 & 2021-2022), a popular programme inspired by the British tv show QI, and Team Scheire (2018-2020). In Team Scheire, Lieven enlists the help of engineers, designers, scientists and programmers to come up with creative solutions for people who cannot enjoy life to the fullest because of a disability.

In addition to his television work, you can also find Lieven live on stage. From the start of 2022, Lieven will be touring again throughout Belgium and the Netherlands with DNA, an entertaining live show about human genetics. In the fall of 2022, he will start touring his new show A.I., about artificial intelligence.

With his popular podcast Nerdland, Lieven and his gang of science enthusiasts create a monthly overview of the most important scientific news. Lieven is also the bestselling author of the Nerdland book series, and has published books on DNA, physics and insects. He also co-authored a children’s book full of entertaining science experiments and incredible scientific facts.


Lieven Scheire is appreciated for his refreshing mix of science and comedy and his accessibility. No one can explain Einstein’s theory of relativity, quantum mechanics or Drake’s formula like Lieven Scheire.

12.00 PM | Closing

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12.00 PM | Lunch at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand

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