A Chat With Elke

Today we sat down with our Business Developer and Account Manager Elke Grosemans to learn more about her.

What are your main responsibilities as a Business Developer and Account Manager?

My main focus is to expand the Benelux market and take care of our existing clients. So my main tasks consist of looking for new prospects, contacting them and starting creating a relationship with them. This is mainly done through LinkedIn research, phone calls, networking and business trips. I also need to keep the relationship with our active clients and make sure that they are always satisfied with our service. Existing clients are as important as new ones.

How does a regular day at the office look like for you?

I usually start my day answering emails, since during the night I usually get a lot of emails due to the time difference with the market I’m working with. The emails are mostly different requests from our clients regarding products and projects we are working on; I usually have to discuss this with our Sourcing Team. I also develop new projects and solutions we haven’t done before. Moreover, I’m working with our designer Nicolas on artworks and different designs. We also have sales meetings almost everyday to keep everyone updated on the latest projects and help each other with feedbacks. And depending on what time of year it is, a couple of weeks before our business trips we start booking all of our meetings. And of course during the day I help our active clients when they need something.

Three words to describe Swedbrand:

  • Challenging
  • Dynamic
  • Nice atmosphere

What did you do before you started at Swedbrand?

I started at Swedbrand in November last year, so around 9 months ago. Before I was working at a technology company in Munich, which was something completely different. In the beginning it was a bit of an adjustment because I had never worked in the packaging industry before, but in the end it was easier than expected and I like the fact that everyday here you have the chance to learn something!

Why did you move to Shanghai?

Because of my boyfriend! We have lived in Munich together for three years and then he got a job offer and moved to Paris, so we’ve lived apart for the following eight months. Then he accepted another job offer in Shanghai, and when I came to visit him I thought it was something that could suit me as well. And after a couple of months I decided to move here!

And how has your experience in China been so far? Have you learned anything from living here?

Living in China definitely has its pros and cons. I love Shanghai in general because you have so many things to do here, it’s so vivid! You meet so many people from all over the world, and this is something I really love. You can go out any day of the week, there’s always something to do. One of my favorite things about the city is the skyline, it’s something we don’t really have in Europe.

What I like less about the country? I really had to adjust to the manners here, people don’t stand in line or they can go in front of you without shame. Everyone is pushing you in the subway and spitting on the street. It’s like survival of the fittest here in China! It was really hard for me in the beginning to get used to this. But you get over it. One thing I still don’t like and can’t really adjust to is the bad internet connection! It’s so slow! But in general I love Shanghai, its so vibrant! And living here also gives me the opportunity to travel in Asia, there are still so many places I would love to visit!

Do you have any dream destinations you would like to travel to?

YES! In Asia alone I would love to visit Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea. And worldwide I would like to travel pretty much everywhere. I would love to travel for two years and see everything. But you need to be lucky for that, you need time and money. Hopefully one day I will be able to do that, maybe when I’m old, rich and famous! (she laughs)

Have you lived anywhere else in the world?

I’ve lived in Belgium until I was 22, then I’ve lived in Munich for four years, and now Shanghai for one year. I’m starting to miss Belgium a bit, I’m very close to my family and friends, and before Shanghai I was still living in Europe so I could go home quite often, it was much easier! But anyways it’s easy now to keep in touch with your people thanks to the Internet and all the Social Media, and I know that I can always go back home, it will always be there.

What do you miss most about home?

Definitely my mom, we are very close, and my father as well, of course! And then my closest friends. Except from that, I miss the food. Like French fries, which are actually Belgium fries, because they were invented in Belgium and not France!!! (she laughs). Mussels and steaks. I really miss the food! And I miss my hometown, Hasselt, as well, but mostly my parents and friends. And the internet of course!!

Would you like to live somewhere else in the world after Shanghai?

Yes, maybe. I would prefer somewhere in Europe to be closer to home. But I would like to try some other places before moving back home. Maybe London, or Barcelona. And my dream has always been New York, but it’s also pretty far away. For now, I’m good here!

Do you still want to be in the same industry or are you open to change?

I’m open to change. I’ve always enjoyed marketing as well. I have written a lot of content marketing before, and I’m really interested in digital marketing. So I would love to try a combined role maybe – sales and marketing – since I enjoy sales as well!

It is always good to have a big package of skills, and to have knowledge about different fields. I think it’s always good to learn new things and challenge yourself! We never stop learning!

What hobbies do you have?

Travelling is definitely my favorite hobby. I like to read, even if I don’t always find the time. I love to be social and hang out with my friends. I also like to be lazy at home with my boyfriend. But mostly I like to be adventurous and travel. And Eating! I love to go out for dinner. I also love to cook, try new recipes and be healthy. But I can’t bake at all! Sport wise I do Pilates, and a bit of Yoga. I also used to play tennis back in Munich, I’m terrible at it but it’s so fun!

Do you have any hidden skills?

Not really! Well, I used to be a dancer! I danced on a pretty professional level from 3 years old until I was 19. I started with ballet and then it turned into modern dance and show dance. I tried hip hop for a while but it wasn’t for me, it’s not really my style. And I speak Dutch, this is definitely a hidden skill! (she laughs).

Read more Swedbrand blog posts at swedbrand-group.com/blog, or visit our website at swedbrand-group.com.