Baptiste has this special Kiron magic about him that charms everyone. They call him the wizard of Kiron. He seems to have played every Kiron role already and has looked behind every team curtain holding Kiron together since the very beginning. He is like the magic glue to all teams and projects, the wizard behind the scenes. Growing up in the Flemish part of Belgium, not far from Brügge. Some people might think of the movie Brügge sehen…und sterben?, which ironically enough, Baptiste was asked to make a statist appearance in, despite not having ever seen the movie. This was the glimpse into stardom that so many of us at Kiron know Baptiste to be. Two and half years ago, Baptiste started as a volunteer and soon became the backbone of so much of Kiron’s effortless student support, relations and more. But before he became our Kiron wizard, he spent nearly a decade on a humble journey, experiencing and living throughout a variety of cities throughout Belgium, Germany and Spain based off none other than his lifelong pursuit of education. After boarding school near Gent and Brussels he decided to pursue a Bachelor in Law in Namur, followed by a Masters in Law General in Löwen which included a six month Erasmus in Heidelberg, Germany. After working as a tax lawyer in Brussels for a year, Baptiste decided he wants to continue his pursuit of education, following his passion for sports and pursuing yet another Master in Sports Marketing and Management Berlin and Madrid. He has a knack for following his education dreams, and knowing that in the end, they would lead him right where he needed to be – Kiron. The combination of his education cocktail and his social investment with the refugee crisis, led him stumbling into Kiron back in 2015. Here at Kiron, he earned his title as our Kiron wizard – with his positive attitude, radiating energy, and willingness to dive head first into any role, we are honored to have the consistent support of such a dependable team member!
What is your Role at Kiron?
The more difficult question lies in the entirety of Kiron. My title says Student Information and Special Projects – but there is so much more to it. While I am part of the Student Support team, I am connected to a lot of different teams. I work with the research team doing data analysis, the Product and Tech team as well as some parts of the Student Comms team trying to make sure that we are developing the platform to better suit our students needs. There is always some kind of bug reporting and problem that needs fixing. Sometimes I feel like a firefighter jumping from one problem to the next. My future focus is supposed to be on the first phase of the student journey. I want to support and bring everyone together from the application phase to onboarding, all the way to their actual online study phase. I think it is important that we push this concept with the product team, ensuring that different people from different departments, from our internal techies to partnerships and external communications, have one common vision. This vision should be for each student to feel like they have a normal, smooth transition process. I love supporting our students and helping solve problems that students have and working to find the solution. So while my job is diverse, as many people here, I focus on problem solving and thinking ahead so that we as a team can work closer together for ourselves and our students.
What is your Mission/Vision for Kiron?
No minds lost…this is for me extremely important. Some things can be taken away, but education is not one of them. You can become strong through knowledge, which is important in every aspect! From wanting to return to your own country and work to rebuild your community with whatever knowledge empowers you, even to integrating, the more you know, the more strength you have. My vision for the future, is to support more than just refugees, but also provide support for other vulnerable groups of society. Everyone should receive the education they deserve so that they can improve their chances through learning and job opportunities with kiron.
Kiron means to me…
Kiron means to me a crazy idea that has been growing into something real. Kiron is like a baby who I have supported and help raise into a teenager. There has been a lot of work, joy and pain all in one – I have put my heart into it. While it has been challenging to help this baby grow up, it has also been rewarding.
What are the challenges you are facing?
The challenges come from the outside. The need is there, even though it seems less so in the media, the same issues remain. We need not only our students, but the rest of the world to believe in us. Our students trust us – this trust requires a lot of commitment and self motivation. We want to support our students and help them stay motivated and focused throughout the whole process. The trust and will to work towards something better has to come from both sides. It has to be about believing in Kiron – only if we all believe will it be possible to achieve what it is we are working for. We need to constantly improve ourselves in order to keep supporting our students.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
There are two main things I enjoy most about my work. The first is the data side of my job – I analyze something we improve and get to learn from any problems we undergo, making data driven decision to further improve our service and support structure. The second thing I like is seeing problems and finding solutions that supports not only our students but is also good for our partners.
What was your favorite moment at Kiron so far?
Our first global weekend where over one hundred people from all over Europe came together. There were a lot of volunteers doing workshops, experiencing the entirety of the process of seeing the initial ideas through to the results. It is always so much nicer to see the end results of the challenges you take on. For me, this is just like the new version of the platform – I got to see the process from start to finish. When I was a lawyer I did not have that, I simply worked for two weeks on advice for a client but never saw the result. Seeing the result is half the reward.
Describe yourself in one sentence:
I am always looking at the bright side, an optimist who wants to help others and develop myself – I like to grow new skills and knowledge with what I do and interact with people, exchanging thoughts and ideas.
Who are you outside of Kiron?
Does this exist? I like to spend time with friends, especially involving sports. I am a sports freak, I love the impact sports can have on yourself and a group of people. The whole atmosphere around sports is contagious, it can change your mood and perspective and satisfaction.
Some last words for Kiron…
Internally, we need to focus on our students, and externally, we need to keep focusing on both our mission and our students so that no mind is lost. We need to listen to them, work together with them and learn from them.