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EASPD’s professionalism and policy impact attracted Lieve Dekempeneer to become a Board Member

Lieve talks about 16 years of career growth, making friends and seeing EASPD grow!

Lieve Dekempeneer got to know EASPD through common team members with her former organisation, Hubbie. She got involved with EASPD for her knowledge and expertise in human resources, but little did she know that she would end up on the EASPD Board for 16 years! Lieve represented Hubbie, an organisation based in Belgium, that provides support to persons with disabilities in different spheres of their life. She now turns the last page of her chapter at EASPD and reminisces her whole journey with us!

What motivated you to join the EASPD Board?

Lieve: I have been part of the EASPD Board for a long time now. It started when Hubbie and EASPD were sharing some staff members. That was my first strong push to join the Board. Over the years I started liking the structure and professionalism within EASPD – especially the management and enthusiasm of the staff. These reasons were strong enough for me to join and retain my position at the Board.   

During your term as an EASPD Board Member, what are some achievements you can think of?

Lieve: EASPD’s growth into an extremely professionalised environment with strong management and dedicated staff. I think the Board is filled with experts with a clear vision and understanding of EASPD’s mission and goals. Over the years, EASPD attracted the right kind of crowd willing to take action when needed. In fact, with time, the networks built on an international and national level by Luk Zelderloo, former EASPD Secretary General, is absolutely amazing. It goes down as EASPD’s biggest achievement in my eyes.  

In the initial years there was a strong collaborative approach between the EASPD President, Vice President, Secretary General and all board members, and this has led to the foundation of great ideas, projects and initiatives. Eventually, we even received funding from the European Commission and that shows how highly appreciated our work is.

EASPD’s Board and secretariat continue to have this collaborative approach which has led to the organisation’s success and growth.

Can you mention some lessons learnt during your 16-year tenure as an EASPD Board Member?

Lieve: Understanding different opinions has to be one of the biggest lessons I learnt as an EASPD Board Member. Service providers for people with disabilities come from many countries across Europe and the realities of each of these countries are very different.

Secondly, during Board meetings, it’s important to make sure you walk in with an open mind and make the Board is a safe space to voice any opinion without judgement. Consciously educating myself about the realities of disability service provision in different countries was yet another lesson learnt. It's really important to keep reminding yourself that EASPD is a member led organisation that has a Board with proper representation of disability services across Europe.

Among the lessons learnt, I also made so many friends. The work environment is really friendly, and I find that very special. I consider it as one of EASPD’s biggest strengths.


What are some skills new Board Member should already have in order to join the EASPD Board?

Lieve: It’s important to know that you are not here for your organisation, you are there for EASPD. Having this awareness is crucial, especially when we have to take decisions during our Board meetings. Also, having prior experience of being a Board Member can help – the position requires critical thinking and grasping broad perspectives. The role is slightly different as you tend to be behind the curtains and not really involved in the day-to-day operations of the organisation. So, having a broad view is helpful.

Three Vice-President positions, along with 15 other governance roles, will be open for election on 19 October 2024. Eligible candidates have until August 31 to submit their applications for a Board position. For more information about the application process, please visit the EASPD website.