Meet Anne-Sophie, Winner of the Kingston Young professionals 40 Under 40 Award
At just the age of 29, Anne-Sophie, our project manager in Canada, packed her bags and moved from Belgium to Canada in March 2023 to oversee the construction of our new cathode active material (CAM) and precursor cathode active material (pCAM) plant in Loyalist Township. Her commitment, vision, and leadership earned her the Kingston Young Professionals 40 Under 40 Award for her remarkable work in the Loyalist Township community.
Voice your ambition
After completing her Business Management Studies, Anne-Sophie kickstarted her professional journey with an internship at Umicore’s Rechargeable Battery Materials division. “During my internship I felt the click right away, so I stayed and joined the Rotational Development Program, which allowed me to manage projects in Purchasing & Transportation and Strategic Projects. After that I stepped into the role of Business Development Controlling Project Manager”.
“I always valued the people-focused culture in Umicore and how employees are encouraged to challenge themselves and advocate for their professional growth. You’re inspired to voice your ambition”. That’s precisely what Anne-Sophie did. After serving on the site selection team, she expressed her aspiration to take charge of its execution and help establish the branch in Loyalist. “I was part of the project’s inception. I know the location and its people, I’ve done the analyses, and I’ve engaged with government. I believed I could provide continuity to the project. So, I voiced this and Umicore gave me the opportunity.”
Breaking new ground
In March 2023, Anne-Sophie started her and Umicore’s Canadian chapter. This meant stepping into unchartered territory to oversee the initiation and development of various business streams, including HR, Finance, Transport, Legal Insurance, and Office Operations. “I was the first to arrive, and there was no office, not even a printer or keyboard. You had to start from scratch. It really was an exciting adventure and experience,” Anne-Sophie explains.
It was something completely new also on the personal side: “I was settling into a new country and culture. You’re out of your comfort zone. Your life and that of your family changes. There is a lot of paperwork to navigate and cultural differences to get used to – you don’t even know which stores to go to. Now, I have managed to carve out a home for myself and my family, and for Umicore as well. We’re learning and growing together.” So far, Anne-Sophie considers the official ground-breaking ceremony of the plant to be the most significant milestone in her journey so far. “Now I get to see the project become reality. We have started hiring people and the office is about to open soon .”
40 Under 40
Anne-Sophie’s dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Exactly six months to the day she arrived in Canada, she was awarded the Kingston Young Professionals 40 Under 40 Award. It celebrates the exceptional achievements and contributions of individuals under the age of 40 who have positively impacted the greater Kingston community, located next to the Loyalist plant. “Receiving this recognition felt like we were receiving validation from the community for the work we’ve been doing and the effort we’ve been making to integrate,” Anne-Sophie enthuses. “Being so close to the project every day, you don’t always realize the positive impact you can have. For example I got a question from the city about housing and bus routes because they want to build more homes and establish a better public transport system to the Loyalist site for future workforces– suddenly you realize the scope of the work you’re doing. This award feels like the community is telling us ‘we see and value what you’re doing’.”
Anne-Sophie is looking forward to the opening of the fully operational office and continuing to ensure that Umicore is a good neighbor to Loyalist Township. “We want to integrate into the community, make the right decisions and ultimately be a trusted transition partner towards a better world.”