Former CEO BPost
Currently member of several Boards
During the networking event at H.Essers on September 30, Johnny Thijs gave a retrospective look at March to September 2020 by reflecting on what went well, what went less, how long we will have to live with Covid and if there are aspects we have learned about the pandemic.
Johnny , ex-CEO of Bpost and chairman of Engie Electrabel, had been asked to participate in the expert groups of Celeval and GEES regarding Covid policy. Not just for the expert groups, but for everyone, covid was a period full of uncertainty and trial-and-error.
COVID-19 is a pandemic that was underestimated by the world. There was no playbook, no strategy, no expertise, no leadership. And in addition, there was a shortage of medicines and protective equipment. No one was prepared for the impact that Covid brought.
Johnny learned that Belgium needs more focus on policies, the harmonization of political authorities, and more efficient structures. It’s important to have long-term visions to be translated into plans and to be elaborated. Because viruses will remain part of our living environment and it is highly likely that Covid will become endemic.
Johnny Thijs concluded his presentation with a positive note. What he experienced as a positive aspect during the pandemic was the rediscovery of ‘enjoying the little things’. Many of us can recognize the walks in nature, the extra enjoyment of being together with family, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, etc.
People need physical contact, as all of us experienced during the lockdown. Scameleon also experienced this during the physical event on September 30. Two of our members have described the event as follows:
Benny Gers (VRT): “This event is exhilarating, to put it in Covid terms. I am very happy that we can come back out of our houses and connect and network. The speaker brought a very interesting presentation. By getting insights from an authority as Johnny Thijs, who has taken such an important role behind the scenes during Covid, you come to the conclusion that you have to rethink some of your opinions.”
Ann Van Hecke (Cargill): “The added value of the event for me is in the networking, which happens less at the digital sessions. This event gives me back the chance to optimize my network, and see and speak to people. The speaker this evening was very engaging. It is a great experience to catch a glimpse behind the scenes of the expert groups and of the expert Johnny Thijs himself.”
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