#Entrepreneurs — 04.06.2019

#InspiringWomen -Managing Priorities: The Key to Success

Learn more about Valentine Berghmans, a participant in the Women Entrepreneur Program, and her advice to women entrepreneurs.

Valentine Berghmans

Plant Manager Hermalle
The Lhoist Group

Connect : Linkedin


Globally, 46% of small and medium-sized business owners report working more hours than the legal limit. And 12% even state that they work more than 9 hours a day throughout the week.[1] In addition to generating stress and discontent, this level of engagement has a negative impact on their health[2] and personal growth, with 36% of them forced to put aside their family life.[3] While this work overload is common to all entrepreneurs, it is even more burdensome for women, who spend on average 1.5 hours more per day than men on domestic tasks.[4]

As head of the world's second largest lime plant for Belgian-based Lhoist Group, Valentine Berghmans is confronted with this problem and must optimise every minute of her day. To do so, this Women Entrepreneur Program participant makes a daily list of priorities and sets a goal of meeting the first three.

To avoid being carried away and to manage one’s entrepreneurial and personal life more calmly, it is vital to learn to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent. These types of organisational skills, which are essential for women entrepreneurs, can be learned through mentoring programs such as the Women Entrepreneur Program.

“Setting my priorities and asking myself what are the most important things for me. All the things that are not in the top 3 to 5 top items, I do not spend too much time on them […]. If it’s not done, that’s fine.”

Every year since 2014, the Women Entrepreneur Program invites about 40 women entrepreneurs such as Valentine to a week of dialogue and training at Stanford University. University conferences, visits to innovative companies in Silicon Valley and networking sessions all contribute to developing professional opportunities and assisting participants in their success.  This Program is in partnership with the Women Initiative Foundation.

[1] Source: “After Hours Economy” Study, Sage, November 2015.

[1] Source: Fourth Managers’ Health Survey, OpinionWay for Fondation MMA des Entrepreneurs du Futur, March 2018.

[1]Source: Ibid.

[1] In France. Source: “L’inégale répartition des tâches domestiques entre les femmes et les hommes”, Observatoire des Inégalités, April 2016, based on “Données détaillées de l’enquête Emploi du temps 2009-2010”, Insee Résultats, no. 130 Société, June 2012.

Valentine Berghmans ∨

Valentine holds a BA in economics from the VUB Brussels and a MBA from INSEAD. After university she has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for 6 months in Costa Rica. She started her career in finance, working for Grupo Santander in Madrid. After her MBA she joined SHV holdings in the Netherlands, as part of the talent management and succession planning team. She joined the Lhoist Group 6 years ago where she held the position of sales manager and associate Director Europe. She is currently in charge of the world 2nd largest lime plant in the South of Belgium. She and her team are focusing on bringing added value to the customers while bringing responsibility back to every worker in the plant.

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