Dreams can come true, as long as you believe in them!
“My wife and I have always wanted to educate our children in a way which is atypical compared to Americans” admits Nick Felix. “They have the unfortunate reputation of wanting to make sure that everyone adapts to suit them”, he continues in impeccable French.
One thing is sure - Nick Felix knows what he wants and, more importantly, what he does not want! His motto: “You have to put yourself in the path of opportunity and at the same time when opportunity comes, be ready to go!” That is precisely what he has done. “I dreamed of going to live in Europe, preferably in a French-speaking country, because I have a real passion for French!”
In June 2012, a job offer for the post of Non-Financial Risk Officer with ITS (Information Technology Services) in Belgium attracted his attention. “I had already been working in risk management since 2007; at that time I was responsible for risk management for several teams totalling 320 people at ING Investment Management in Atlanta. I had no problem with my job, I just wanted to do something else, so I applied! In all honesty, I wasn’t even expecting a reply.”
A few days later, he received a phone call. “I didn’t recognise the number, so I ignored the call. It was only later, when I was listening to my messages, that I realised that the company in Belgium had replied!”
What was involved in the distance selection procedure? “Firstly, I had several telephone interviews with the Recruitment Officer. The time difference was very disconcerting. When I arrived at 7 o'clock in the morning at the office in Atlanta, it was 1 pm in Brussels, so I always had to think hard before arranging our appointments! Subsequently, we corresponded mainly by e-mail. I also received documents so that I could familiarise myself with the organisation in Belgium. Then I had a telephone conversation with my future manager as well as a video interview with one of the ITS directors. Those personal contacts were the determining factors and reassured me about my decision. Because, despite everything, there is always a concern; I was going to change not only my country, but also my situation, and so I gave it a lot of thought! When I told my family and the people around me in Atlanta that I was moving to Belgium, they asked me why. I replied: But how many people do you know who have this fabulous opportunity? How can I turn it down?”
Nick Felix arrived in Belgium on 9 January with his wife and two daughters. He hardly had time to consult the ING site for expats and to study the map of the Brussels metro before starting work on 14 January as Non Financial Risk Officer at ITS. “Generally speaking, I am very cautious and would not throw myself into the unknown lightly.
This was one of the most important decisions of my life, but I feel comfortable here and I really want to make my contribution to ING. What’s more, even my wife and my children have endorsed my decision, so I am very happy!”
The importance of managing IT-related risks
Nick Felix addresses “the importance of managing IT-related risks”, in a video.