Anneleen Straetemans

Anneleen Straetemans

No PovertyGender EqualityReduced Inequalities

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a principal associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm, where I focus mainly on antitrust law. Besides my day to day client work, I am a leading member of the firm's Corporate Responsibility team, responsible for various activities ranging from Discover Your Talent (an initiative to help and empower disadvantaged youngsters in their search for a job), the Legal Run (a charitable run aimed at raising funds for a variety of NGOs) and Pro Bono work (where we give legal advice to organizations such as Oxfam, the Open Society Justice Initiative or the European Citizen Action Service). In addition, I am a member of the firm's Green Committee, spearheading initiatives such as 40 Days Without Meat @ Freshfields. I am also a SteerCo member of Women in the Network, an informal network within Freshfields aimed at fostering gender equality across the firm.

Being vocal on topics such as youth unemployment, poverty alleviation, sustainable business and corporate responsibility as a lawyer in big corporate law firm makes a tremendous difference - in fact, I truly believe that in doing so, you can successfully change attitudes across a firm of +1,500 employees and lawyers, where these values may not have been at the core of our day to day practise.

What competences would make you a good Generation T?

Having been trained as a corporate lawyer, I have had the chance to fine tune my project management skills enormously. Coupled with my enthusiasm to make a difference in this world, I am capable to motivate and engage teams to reach specific goals.

Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.

With Discover Your Talent, we manage to reach ca. 100 youngsters every year who struggle to find their way to the job market, by training their employability skills. I was involved with Discover Your Talent from its inception as organizing member and volunteer and have witnessed with great joy how bringing together corporate volunteers and young Bruxellois creates a real spark and manages to bridge two worlds that are all too often too far apart.

In addition, as member of Women in the Network, we have succeeded in opening up the conversation on topics such as unconscious bias, the benefits of diversity and the importance of smart work in this day and age. I've found that opening up the dialogue and making people actively think about what it means for them and the organisations they operate in, is one of the most effective game changers.

Who inspired you? What made you first passionate about sustainability?

My personal motto is BE THE CHANGE. Don't wait for anyone to change things for you, and even one individual can make an appreciable impact on the world.