People ProfilesApril 24, 2024

Meet the mindful mentor who is changing how we think about work

Striving for a strong work life balance and happiness is what inspires Els Van Langenhove to mentor others.
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Els Van Langenhove is a senior strategist at 3DEXCITE, Dassault Systèmes’ Commercial Innovation brand, dedicated to placing consumers at the heart of every experience. 3DEXCITE empowers businesses to transform their digital content to enhance product experiences, and their people to develop innovative solutions and discover their purpose.

The Els Van Langenhove we see today who found her purpose —cheering on her colleagues on LinkedIn, going for a lunch run between meetings, and mastering her morning routine (and writing about it online) —has been years in the making.

How did she get here?

Her journey towards a healthy work-life balance started when she experienced burnout, took eight months off work to recover, and realized she needed to seriously change some aspects of her life.

Van Langenhove is remarkably candid about her battle with burnout in 2021. She wants to share her experience as a way to help others – she isn’t afraid of being judged. Throughout her two-decades-long career, Van Langenhove found herself swept up in the hustle—working tirelessly to progress her career, and battling with a severe case of imposter syndrome.

When it all came to a head years later, triggered by the pandemic, Van Langenhove felt like she couldn’t function. She found herself unable to do the things in her life that she described as “fundamental.” From reading books to thinking creatively about her work and even exercising—things that once brought Van Langenhove joy—now all felt difficult to do.

“I had to recover physically and mentally. My brain was fried, and I had to do a full-body reset and learn how to function again,” she said.  “I’d say I am still recovering today, it never ends really, it requires daily action to take care of my mental health.”

Unfortunately, Van Langenhove is not alone. Today, on average, one in four employees surveyed across various demographics globally reported experiencing symptoms of burnout. But rather than succumbing to its challenges, Van Langenhove used her experience with burnout as a springboard for personal growth and self-discovery.

Today, Van Langenhove is a staunch advocate for her peers at Dassault Systèmes. Not only does she work to cultivate meaningful relationships and connections through mentorship, but she also applies this approach to others throughout her extensive network.

Through practices like meditation, journaling, and mindfulness, she maintains balance in her life and radiates a sense of inner peace and clarity—even during a hectic workday.

A beautiful representation of Els’ daily practices to reinforce her affirmations. and nurture a strong work-life balance (image courtesy of Els Van Langenove)

“Practicing meditation and mindfulness is a small reminder of what’s in my control and outside of my control,” Van Langenhove said. “Right now, my daily affirmation is: I attract people into my life who make me feel loved and supported.”

And in turn, Van Langenhove is trying to put that same love and support back into the universe.

Nurturing her well-being and encouraging others to do the same  

Van Langenhove’s career journey is a testament to her resilience and passion for growth. Each step along the way has shaped her into the dynamic individual she is today.

Learning from her own experiences, Van Langenhove has grown into a more mindful leader and people-centric strategist. She’s focused not only on her performance and deliverables but also on supporting the career development of her peers and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

While some of these tasks may feel ancillary to some leaders, she takes them in stride, seeing every opportunity that passes her desk as a way to foster new and unique relationships. By transitioning to the strategy team at 3DEXCITE, Van Langenhove found her niche, where she passionately advocates for employee well-being and empowerment.

At 3DEXCITE, Van Langenhove can flex her people skills through networking and strategic communications. She has quickly become the go-to resource for her colleagues and 3DEXCITE partners seeking honest solutions, showcasing her abilities to build trust and foster the success of others. In this role, Van Langenhove can advocate for others, while leading the brand’s thought leadership initiatives and staying true to the 3DEXCITE brand identity of strong character, being a pioneer, being authentic and being human.

“We all need to nurture our four bodies and take care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health in order of priority” she said. “Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way, but now I do what I can to share this way of living.”

Mentorship and leadership: Guiding lights

In 2022, a mentor of Van Langenhove encouraged her to become a mentor as well. Realizing that she had a valuable lesson to share from her experience with burnout, she decided to give it a shot.

Now, Van Langenhove can be found devoting her time to ensuring everyone at Dassault Systèmes can feel uplifted and supported, just like how her mentors have made her feel.

“Mentoring is not just a professional transaction; it’s a journey of personal and collective growth,” Van Langenhove said. “When done right, it can only lead to positive outcomes for business and each other.”

As a mentor, Van Langenhove’s impact extends far beyond her personal achievements.

Her dedication to fostering meaningful connections and providing guidance to others underscores her belief in the power of mentorship to shape lives and careers, emphasizing the importance of pairing mentors and mentees appropriately and dedicating sufficient time to understand each other’s needs and challenges.

“As with every relationship in life, you cannot expect one person to fulfill all of your needs,” Van Langenhove said. “I think everyone should have different mentors for different aspects of their lives—I know I do; I call it my ‘Personal Advisory Board.’”

In her leadership role and as a mentor, Van Langenhove embodies the values of inclusivity, innovation, and collaboration. Through her actions and words, she inspires those around her to strive for excellence and embrace their unique strengths.

“What is your value proposition in life for you as a unique human being?” Van Langenhove asks. “For everyone, this is different. But for me, as a manager and a mentor, I can only hope to get this out of those I work with and guide.”

Celebrating Els’s journey

With boundless enthusiasm and a vision for a brighter future, Van Langenhove remains steadfast in her mission to create a workplace where well-being, mentorship and innovation thrive hand in hand.

For Van Langenhove, there’s a deep understanding that work-life balance is a privilege that not everyone has but something we can all work towards by goal setting.

“I don’t make any long-term plans. Instead, I choose one word a year and focus on that word for the year,” Van Langenhove said. “This year, my word is happiness. Happiness doesn’t happen naturally, and it requires some work. This year, I will dedicate time and put in the work to set myself (and those around me) up for a lifetime of happiness.”

Els Van Langenhove isn’t the only one helping reshape the world of work. Check out some of the other humans driving progress.

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