Passing the torch to the next generation of leaders

"Let's create a diverse community of 40 societal leaders under 40 who will jointly reflect on the challenges of our society. They will be selected by a panel of accomplished leaders, ready to pass on their experience. We will bring them together to share and learn from each other. They will embark on an accelerated journey of personal development centered on meaning, social responsibility and impact. The Belgium's 40 Under 40."
Pierre Gurdjian, GaEtan Hannecart, Laurent Coulie

Passing the torch

We published an op-ed in leading newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo calling for a generational leadership transmission. We proposed to identify 40 emerging leaders below 40 years old who would join forces and think together how to address complex societal issues.

It has created significant traction: dozens of young talents have already contacted us to be part of the 40 Under 40, and more than 60 accomplished leaders enthusiastically support this initiative. Now is the time for action!

Assembling the 40

We are inviting young leaders to submit their application to join the Belgium’s 40 Under 40 initiative. All types of profiles are welcome! An independent selection panel composed of leading personalities who support this project will review the applications and shape the first community of 40 emerging leaders.

Selection will be based on profile, motivation, thematic interests, and diversity criteria.

Generating new ideas

This initiative provides a platform for those from the next generation who want to take an active role in shaping new ideas, approaches and solutions to address complex societal issues. 

We will bring together these 40 emerging leaders, engage them in conversations about the society they want to live in and help them incubate their ideas. 

Growing as a community

Selected participants will be invited to attend forums and virtual sessions. They will have the opportunity to get to know each other, initiate an accelerated personal development journey, and start to explore how to generate impact. 

Who should join the 40?

Young talent

You must be younger than 40 years old (born after October 1, 1980).

Initial societal footprint

You have a first proof of impact towards society. It can take various forms: being active as an entrepreneur, a community leader, an opinion shaper...

From inspiration to action

You are ready to roll out your sleeves and bridge the gap between ideas and concrete impact.

Community minded

You want to connect with other people to grow, learn, and shape your societal engagement.

Future oriented

You can think 25 years ahead to build solutions for the long term, adopt an integrative perspective and gather various point of views.

Thematic sweetspot

You have a passion for one or more of these societal themes: healthcare, aging, well-being, work, mobility, food, social inclusion, education, energy, climate, digital, information, policy making...

What's in it for you?

You will be part of a community that federates generations of leaders around a positive societal transformation initiative.

With media supporters De Tijd and L’Echo, you will have an exceptional platform to enhance your visibility and share your ideas broadly, with the possibility to publish articles, op-ed, videos and other media content.

You will be part of an accelerated personal development experience.

You will develop transversal reflections and confront multiple points of view.

You will have a unique forum where you can lead by example.

You will meet 39 other talented individuals actively engaged for a better society.

You will connect with accomplished leaders and professionals who want to pass the torch to you.

Join the Belgium's
40 Under 40

Applications are now closed.
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More than 60 accomplished leaders endorse this initiative and are ready to support the next generation. 

They join us in different roles: ambassadors, selection panel members, mentors and coaches…

Adrienne Axler (Club L) • Charles Beauduin (Barco) • Pierre-Olivier Beckers (BOIC) • Francis Blake (Imperbel) • François Blondel (KitoZyme) • Laurence Boens (Sibelco) • Guillaume Boutin (Proximus) • Laurence Bovy (Vivaqua) • Fabienne Bryskère (Groupe Mestdagh) • Caroline Ceska (Human Rights Watch) • Grégor Chapelle (Actiris) • Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte (Hogan Lovells) • Bruno Colmant (Degroof Petercam) • Piet Colruyt (Impact House) • Christophe Convent (DPG Media) • Bernard Coulie (UCLouvain) • Grégoire Dallemagne (Luminus) • Lieven Danneels (Televic) • Marie-Hélène De Coster (Heidrick & Struggles) • Muriel De Lathouwer (ex-EVS) • Brieuc de Meeûs (STIB-MIVB) • Jan De Witte (Barco) • Marion Debruyne (Vlerick) • Bernard Delvaux (Sonaca) • Alain Deneef (Collège Matteo Ricci) • Alexander Dewulf (Cebeo) • Bea Ercolini (Beabee) • Marie-Pierre Fauconnier (Sibelga) • Arnaud Feist (Brussels Airport) • Thierry Geerts (Google Belgium) • Marc Grynberg (Umicore) • Véronique Halloin (FRS-FNRS) • Jean-Pierre Hanin (Cofinimmo) • Laurent Hublet (BeCentral) • Sophie Jekeler (Fondation Samilia) • Ilham Kadri (Solvay) • Hilde Laga (Gimv) • Hadja Lahbib (RTBF) • Patrick Maselis (Maselis) • Isabelle Mazzara (ULB) • Julia Middleton (Common Purpose) • Lieve Mostrey (Euroclear) • Chris Peeters (Elia) • Alain Philippson (Fondation Marie et Alain Philippson) • Martine Reynaers (Reynaers) • Françoise Roels (Women on Board) • Sonja Rottiers (Lloyd’s Europe) • Michèle Sioen (Sioen) • Duco Sickinghe (Fortino Capital Partners) • Jean-Christophe Tellier (UCB) • Johnny Thijs (Engie) •  Xavier van Campenhout (Degroof Petercam Foundation) •  Martine Van den Poel (INSEAD) • Annick Van Overstraeten (Pain Quotidien) • Paul Van Oyen (Etex) • Stanislas van Wassenhove ( • Nathalie van Ypersele (Solvay) • Nicolas Van Zeebroeck (Solvay Brussels School) • Frederic Vandenberghe (McKinsey & Company) • Alain-Laurent Verbeke (KULeuven) • Didier Viviers (Royal Academy of Belgium)

The group of supporters will continue to grow and diversify.

Media supporters

About the initiative

The idea of Belgium’s 40 Under 40 emerged from reflexions and discussions between the three initiators, Pierre Gurdjian, Gaëtan Hannecart and Laurent Coulie, and various civil society actors. 

Its objective is to bring together talented young leaders and give them a platform to develop their ideas and have a positive impact on society. It is inspired from our concrete experiences. 

It is not affiliated to any institution or organization and it is apolitical. 


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