'I’m an IT Manager and football coach. Both rolls are very similar.'

Danny Dignef -
Manager IT Operations and football coach

I’ve been working at NN for 21 years now. After qualifying as a civil engineer in computer sciences, I came to work for NN (it was still De Vaderlandsche at the time). I never thought I’d end up in the world of insurance, but I got into it by chance and I really like it. Meanwhile I’ve worked my way up to Manager of IT Operations. I manage five areas: service management, security & risk, IT infrastructure, IT workplaces and IT middleware. 

You can see the effect

At the moment NN employs approximately one thousand people. Compared with other companies in the finance sector, we are a medium-sized business. As an employee this gives you a broad overview of activities as a whole. You can monitor a process from start to finish and see the outcome of your work. I really like that. 

Outside your comfort zone

One of the advantages of working at NN is the opportunity to take on responsibility. NN gives you a large degree of autonomy. We genuinely pool our resources to keep things running smoothly. When someone is absent, everyone helps to pick up the slack. It forces you to step outside your comfort zone and get to know the company and your colleagues a little better. Also, our flexibility at work results in truly exciting pathways to explore. 

My big passion? Football!

In addition to my job, I coach an under-17s team at KV Mechelen. Three nights a week I coach the 16-year-olds and on Sunday morning there’s the weekly match. I also go to the first team’s home games. I was literally brought up on KV Mechelen. How do I combine my hobby with work? That’s possible thanks to our flexible working hours at NN. We are free to set our own working hours and working partly from home is also an option. I start work at the office at 7 am and I leave around 5 pm. That way I’m never late for practice. 

From the IT team to the youth team

Are there any similarities between my passion and my work at NN? Absolutely! At the club, I combine a collective and individual approach to achieve the best possible result after 90 minutes. And at work, I basically do the same thing because, as a manager, I motivate the members of my team to achieve the best possible outcome. Of course, the people at work are not teenagers - and that certainly makes a difference (laughs).