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Olympic medal Barcelona 1992
BIO

JUDO

As a young girl I was a passionate gymnast, but at the age of fifteen I had a serious accident, which made gymnastics impossible.

That's why I started judo when I was seventeen. In 1992, at the age of twenty-four, I qualified for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. I became vice-European Champion that year and won the bronze medal at the Games.

After 1992 I had several difficult years with shoulder and knee injuries and six operations. Slowly I fought back. I won medals at European Championships again and fought the semi-final at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. At the age of thirty-six I finally hung up my kimono to work as a software engineer.

Women training on stairs

Heidi

"The Olympics are like a lottery, but by training hard I try to collect as many tickets as possible."

All-in: the trilogy

Using a smartphone

GUARDSQUARE

In 2014, my partner, Eric Lafortune, and I founded the cybersecurity company Guardsquare. We developed software to optimize mobile apps and protect them against reverse engineering and tampering. Thanks to the solid history of our open-source project ProGuard, we became the global leader in this field, selling our software to 75 countries and protecting more than 4 billion users.

AWARDS

As a start-up and scale-up, we won various awards, for example the fastest growing Belgian technology company in 2018. We were also invited to visit King Filip I and participated in royal state visits in India and South Korea.

Price Scale-up of the Year

EY SCALE-UP OF THE YEAR

Brussels, 2019

DATANEWS ICT WOMEN OF THE YEAR

Brussels, 2019

ICT Women of the Year
With the King of Belgium

DELOITTE FAST 50

Brussels, 2018

BVA Award

BVA AWARD

Brussels, 2019

INNOVATE FINANCE PITCH 360 AWARD

London, 2017

Innovate Finance Pitch 360 Award
Rising Star Award

DELOITTE RISING STAR AWARD

Brussels, 2016

Smartphone

Steve Jobs

"Quality is the best business plan"

San Francisco

WORK

I am passionate about sculpting in clay, alabaster and limestone. It makes me happy that I turned again my hobby into a profession. Until the end of 2019, I worked as CEO and founder of Guardsquare. Now I also enjoy sharing my experience with some young start-ups and scale-ups to prevent them from making too many beginner mistakes and to help them grow faster.

January 2024 - Now

SCULPTOR, INDEPENDENT

October 2020 - Now

ADVISOR FOR START-UPS AND SCALE-UPS, INDEPENDENT

November 2020 - Now

MEMBER OF THE BOARD, XYZT.AI

September 2020 - Now

MEMBER OF THE TOPSPORT COMMISSION, JUDO VLAANDEREN

April 2014 - December 2019

FOUNDER & CEO / PRESIDENT, GUARDSQUARE

September 2004 - March 2014

SOFTWARE ENGINEER, INDEPENDENT

July 1990 - May 2004

PROFESSIONAL OLYMPIC ATHLETE JUDO, BELGIAN OLYMPIC TEAM

Father and Son Flying a Drone

Unknown

"Een criticus is een kip die kakelt terwijl anderen eieren leggen."

STUDIES

1987-1992

BURGERLIJK INGENIEUR COMPUTERWETENSCHAPPEN, K.U.LEUVEN

1980 - 1986

LATIJN-WISKUNDE, O.-L.-VROUWLYCEUM GENK

2012-2013 (niet voltooid)

TUIN- EN LANDSCHAPSARCHITECTUUR, ERASMUSHOGESCHOOL JETTE

2011 - 2012

TUINONTWERP, CVO HEUSDEN-ZOLDER

Heidi press release_edited_edited.jpg

SPEAKER

I regularly give presentations in which I share the challenges I encountered as a top athlete and (female) entrepreneur and the lessons I have learned . If you are interested in a presentation, you can email my contact person Kurt Gheysen:  kurt@topatleten.be. He will be happy to help you. See you soon!

LESSONS LEARNED AS TOP ATHLETE AND (FEMALE) ENTREPRENEUR

MENTAL CHALLENGES FOR ATHLETES AND (FEMALE) ENTREPRENEURS

MY GARDEN

I have always loved nature and especially flowers.

 

My gardens combine life, wildness and beauty. A mass of long-blooming flowers between undulating hedges attract bees, bumblebees and butterflies. There is a lot of water and a small forest with narrow, winding paths and cozy corners where nature can take its course. Birds, salamanders, dragonflies and a frog have a good time between the greenery and in the pond, with many hiding places and feeding spots. A number of self-made statues are scattered throughout the garden.

I have also designed several gardens.

Sculpture between flowers
Wheat Field

Mahatma Gandhi

"Wanneer we vergeten hoe we moeten graven in de aarde en zorgen voor de akker, vergeten we onszelf."

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