Meet Anke

Anke is one of the founders and the creative brain of the Maplix team. She proudly uses those skills in her role as Product Lead within the Maplix team. This means that she is responsible for planning the development of the Maplix products. Or in other words: pointing our developers in the right direction! Anke is the first point of contact for our customers, and loves to share ideas with them. Unofficially, you might also call her a jack-of-all-trades. Besides being the product lead, she also maintains the website and our social media pages, sends out newsletters and gladly assists our customers in their projects with the design of research models and the analysis of geospatial data. Curious to know what Anke does in her spare time, what her favourite photo is, or which phobias she has? Keep reading!

Favourite quote:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”  – Barack Obama

1. What is the most exciting part of your job?

The satisfaction I get and the freedom I have, without a doubt. There are absolutely no limits to my ambitious ideas and creativity (or craziness, as our developers might call it) when designing the future of our applications or developing projects with our clients. I love it! In addition, it feels like an enormous privilege to merge my greatest passions into my day-to-day tasks: geography, research, data analysis and mobility. We started with the development of our first product Maplix Engage during the corona pandemic, based on our own spatial research needs in our daily jobs back then. I was the very first customer of our product! This has made me perfectly knowledgeable about the value of our products for other researchers, and how they can implement them in the most appropriate way. It gives me immense satisfaction to help, support and inspire others in using the Maplix products now. And yes, I like to refer to Maplix as my ‘corona-baby’ 😉. They grow up so fast.

2. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

When I’m not working I love to find peace and quiet. By myself or surrounded by my pets, recharging my energy levels. I do this in various ways, such as long walks in the forest, reading a book in the garden or a trip to the seaside or a lake. Water has always had a kind of magical calming effect on me. On the contrary, I also love the hustle and bustle of the city of Brussels and I’m always down to try out new vegan restaurants with my closest friends and family!

3. Do you have any pets?

Yes, I do! I live with 2 cats, Eugene and Odette, and 2 dogs, Basile and Pacha. And like any pet-mom, I think my pets are thé best in the world. Those who know me well know that my pets mean a lot to me. The sincere and unconditional love you get from them is priceless. It makes our little family incredibly warm and exciting to come home to every day. Or in other words: it made our home a home. I’m such a lucky woman!

4. What was your favourite subject in school?

Geography, of course. Cliché as it may seem, it was really true! I have always been amazed by the complex cooperation between people and the earth, and the role of ‘location’ on this matter. People tend to forget that every event, person and object on this earth has a three-dimensional location. That dimension can be so cleverly used to better understand our world. For me, understanding location is the key to a holistic understanding of our society.

5. What does your perfect holiday look like?

I would choose an active holiday over anything. I love putting on my hiking boots and heading into the mountains with a tent and my backpack. Far away from everyday life and people, and at the same time so close to nature. I am always amazed at how therapeutic such a trip can be. You meet yourself, and magically take over the power of nature. When you return home, you’re ready to take on the world.

6. Which photo in your camera album makes you smile the most?

Since my photo album is 90% filled with photos of my pets: all of them! But if I have to choose one it would be this one. That day we went to pick up our first dog Basile at the airport. We adopted him as a stray dog from Greece, and didn’t really know what to expect. It was pure joy and love at first sight! This was hands-down the happiest day of my life so far. Basile made me discover a new kind of love. One where no words are needed. Even talking about it now gives me butterflies in my stomach again! And did I already mention that Basile has been the Branch manager of the Maplix team ever since?

7. If you could have a career in anything, what would it be?

Probably something creative. Ever since I was a child I have loved to be creative. I have always loved to express this in my interior at home. I like to experiment with different styles, vibrant colours and exciting furniture. The more colourful the better! Anyone who visits my home may always be surprised by something new or different. Who knows, maybe during a middle life crisis I will choose to do something completely different and start a career as an interior stylist. Never say never!

8. Who do you look up to?

My grandmother. I don’t know anyone who goes through life with more joy, love and strength than her. Even though she had a few bumps on the road, she, like no other, knows how to put things in perspective, remain positive and focus on the things that are really important. We laugh a lot together! ‘Seize the day’ is her motto in life, isn’t that beautiful? Oh, and did I mention that she is 90? She always says that when she turns 100, she will jump out of a plane. And the funny thing is: we all know she means it. I hope to be just like her one day!

9. Do you have any phobias?

Imperfection, is that also a phobia? I constantly strive for perfection, and get enormous satisfaction from achieving it. On the flip side, I also know that I tend to lose a lot of time while pursuing my inner perfectionist. On beautiful summer evenings, for example. A pity, isn’t it? Accepting imperfection is definitely on my to-achieve list. One day.

10. And finally: where do you see yourself in 10 years?

On a professional level, the Maplix team has expanded a great deal in 10 years time: we are surrounded by a whole bunch of fun colleagues who inspire and energise each other every day. On a personal level, I hope to remain as passionate about my day-to-day activities as I am today and remain to get up every day with a big smile. Because that’s what life is all about, right? With a bit of luck, I’ll be living somewhere in a beautiful house by the water where I can watch the most beautiful sunsets with my husband, my cats and my (probably 15) dogs by then. Aaah, the future is bright!

Thank you, Anke!

Cedric Versluys

Cedric Versluys

Jun 2022

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