Pascal Van Hoorne (SK 2004) − slasher and super dad!

05 August 2020 Race

Pascal Van Hoorne (SK 2004) shares what he’s been up to since graduating from SKEMA. From upwardly-mobile professional to consultant/blogger/dad of twins, Pascal has zero regrets about his radical life change!

Life after SKEMA…

With parents and grand-parents who were managers in the corporate world and company heads, there was never really any question as to what I’d be studying! Twenty years ago, I joined SKEMA Lille, but it was more to follow in the family footsteps. I come from the south-west, so when I arrived in the north of France I told myself that I would only be staying for my three years at SKEMA... Fast-forward 20 years and it’s four of us that have settled here: me and the family I started.

After a gap year, I joined Fidal, the top business law firm in Europe, for a combined work/study programme. Not for a legal career, but as a communications officer, a job that didn’t exist at the time. Since I’m not very good at fitting into boxes, with no frame of reference for this new position I really made it my own. Over the years, I became the “right-hand man” to the Regional Director for the Hauts-de-France region.

After 8 years, I started to feel a little hemmed in. I considered leaving, but I had one last opportunity in mind that I wanted to create. I developed my project, then presented it to the Board. I then became National Director of Fidal Formations, Fidal’s legal training branch: I transformed myself into an intrapreneur. The Board gave me free rein to run the new branch. With my team of around 50 people, we developed a new strategy that increased the turnover by over 20% in three years.

At the start of 2016, I found out I was going to be a dad. Twins! That was a real turning point for me. I started to think about what I wanted “Daddy Pascal” to be like. And the “Professional Pascal” that I was wasn’t aligned with how I wanted to be as a father. I needed time to be with my children, and a job that was more meaningful. I decided to negotiate my departure from the company a few months before my twins were born and to say bye-bye to the young, upwardly-mobile professional version of me that wore suits, was always between 2 trains or 2 planes, had a great social status and a big fat pay packet. I enjoyed those years; I learned a lot about myself and others, but I didn’t want to be a “suit” anymore. I wanted to be completely myself. Authentic me!


Choosing means giving something up. And I chose not to choose.

I left behind the comfortable life of an employee and traded it for the more uncertain life of the self-employed. I didn’t have any clear plan in mind, just things I knew I wanted. After the first few months spent with my twins, I started to forge a path, attending weekly lunches and meetups with people who were complete strangers or whom I barely knew. I made myself do it. I needed to feed off others and to see new possibilities. Metaphorical seeds were planted. Some of them grew very quickly − I shared a great 6-month adventure with Valeurs & Valeur, an innovative HR start-up with a strong sense of purpose, created by a SKEMA alumna, Amélie Fenzy (SK 2003), who has surrounded herself with other alumnae: Marie-Aude Tran (SK 2014) and Marie Méchin (SK 2003). Others took longer. It can be nerve-racking to watch time slip by... even though that was time I had craved.

After 2 years, several seeds ended up growing. What I had imagined was falling into place. Now, I am what has come to be called a slasher. I am a communications consultant (for law firms, in particular) and a management consultant (particularly for non-profit organisations). I also teach at different higher education institutions (to pass on what I’ve had the opportunity to learn), focusing on the human element and soft skills. On top of all that, I created the blog to shine a spotlight on hands-on dads and contribute, in my own way, to gender equality, which is important to me (changing society’s and companies’ views on fatherhood also means changing views on women and on their career opportunities). I am also a public speaker, I have self-published a book, and I am currently working on a novel about fatherhood (due to be released in early 2021 through a major French publisher). And finally, I have created an MOOC, “Create the job of your dreams and the life that goes with it”.

So that is quite a number of activities and yet, because I’m well organised, I still manage to take my children to school every morning, pick them up once or twice a week at 4.30, be home practically every day by 6 pm, and take four months off a year (with or without them, with or without working a little online... but it’s doing work I love, so it doesn’t really feel like work).

Choosing means giving something up. And I chose not to choose. To be happy in my role as father AND in my work. To have time for both. Of course, that doesn’t just happen all by itself while you lie on the couch watching Wheel of Fortune: it requires introspection, openness, taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, breaking some social norms, daring, shattering a lot of beliefs... But this path is so worth it! This freedom is precious. Since apparently we only have one life... let’s choose to live it to the fullest!


Contact: Pascal VAN HOORNE (SK 2004)  -