Geert Conard VOF : Manager/CEO
People know me as the guy who absolutely hated networking. In early 2004 I started out with social business networking through websites as LinkedIn and Ecademy. Exactly one year later I was one of the TOP Networkers in Belgium. An amazing transformation which changed the way I run my business, but even more it also changed my life 100%.
From July 2004 until september 2009 I was actively promoting and organizing the activities of Ecademy in Belgium. I started off in a role as co-leader together with Hendrik Deckers, who brought Ecademy to Belgium and now leads CIOnet, a niche network for CIO's and IT Managers of large companies. Later on I was appointed Country Leader myself for the period 2008-2009. This gave me the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of a Social Networking platform. Today I'm focussing on my services as Public Speaker, Writer, Researcher and Consultant on Social Media & Social Networking. One of the new challenges I accepted at the end of 2009 is CNO for Managers 4 Managers, improving their existing networking concepts and developing, testing and implementing new networking formulas.
During the summer of 2005, I wrote my first book on Networking. In this book I wrote down my personal experiences with online networking during my first 1,5 year as a novice networker. The style of the book is very similar to the 'experience' blogs mentioned above. Exactly 4 years later I wrote my second book 'Friends with Benefits', focussing on networking in a new and changed economy. In the summer of 2010 I wrote an ebook on demand for the businessclub M4M titled "Online Networking with M4M". This ebook is a 40 page bundle of networking tips for the use of the most popular online networks. Download available for free on my website ! In Nov. 2012 I published my 3th book packed with networking tips for small business owners. This is my first book in dutch, available from bookstores as Standaard Boekhandel and titled "Hoe SEXY ben jij als ondernemer ?"
I used to live in Lummen, but after my divorce in 2003 I moved back to Diest, the town where I grew up as a teenager. After a few years of getting back on my feet in a small but very comfortable appartment, I bought 2 old houses in the city-center and had them renovated. (One to live in, the other for my office). It will probably take +100 years to finish them completely, but it was an opportunity I just couldn't resist. There is a certain charm in living in old buildings with high ceilings and high windows. I just needed to add some modern comfort like new electricity, a decent kitchen, bathroom, central heating etc. I dropped out of college in the early 90s and started bartending for a few months, before I was drafted to spend 12 months in the army. In my case this was a security-fieldjob in the Belgian Airforce. After this year I worked in a production plant for a couple of weeks ... then I moved on to become a sales engineer for Tandy / InterTan Inc. Some months later I promoted to Store Manager. After 2 years InterTan decided to close all stores in continental Europe. Back to zero. That was the moment when I decided to specialize in ICT Sales. I started jobhunting again focussed on this idea and became Sales Manager for Compuserv CV, a computerstore for SME customers. My main task was to manage the computershop in Diest. In 1996 I started writing (technical) articles for ICT magazines in my spare time. During the next 4 years I wrote a series of articles "Geert weet Raad" for the monthly magazine "Netwerk" and also co-hosted the TV show "Xplo" on national TV, together with a local celebrity, Geena Lisa. In the summer of 1999, after a brainstorming session with a few friends I founded the IT Consult network, a group of freelance IT professionals with the ability to cover the entire country (Belgium) for onsite support. Our initial idea was to provide onsite services for people who hated taking their PC to a computershop. (e.g. lawyers, doctors, ...) After just one month we were already contacted by external partners (e.g. Internet service providers) to do the same activities also for their customers. For exactly 10 years this group was the flexible service-force for many ICT partners such as Belgacom, Planet Internet, Tiscali and Euphony. This activity was stopped in November 2009. Since 2005 I also added extra activities to my portfolio which enabled me to grow my business into a complete and focussed ICT company (webdesign, hardware, software, toners, ...). Today IT Consult Services BVBA is a professional ICT company with direct customers in the wider region between Brussels and Limburg. With two people in sales and management, four technicians and the support of a large group of freelancers we offer a very flexible partnership to self employed entrepreneurs and small companies. In July 2007 I also started a management solutions company (Geert Conard VOF). My first project was structuring the sales division for a distribution company for security software. My first book launched in november 2005 and almost immedeately demand came for Public Speaking. These days I speak regularly on business events and even give lectures on social media in highschools and universities. This started a whole new business activity for me which is very exciting ! We also provide follow up activities (consulting and assistance) helping our customers with their first steps in Social Media.