We're in the World

Meg De Keukelaere

We’re in the World

Going Global!  In this newsletter, our fifth profile is of a Villanova alumna in Asia. The next, and final column, will introduce a Villanova woman in Australia. If you are an alumna currently in Australia and would like to participate, please contact Amy Molnar at amygmolnar@gmail.com.

Join us now as we take a trip 8,075 miles west from Villanova to Hong Kong!

Who:  Meg De Keukelaere

Where:  Hong Kong. More specifically, a quirky little village called Wang Tong Tsuen in Mui Wo on Lantau Island.  It is a 30 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. It’s a perfect balance of bright lights/big city by day and beach/Jungle Book adventures by night.

Degree:  Communication Arts with a minor in English (College of Liberal Arts & Sciences) in 1994 and JD (Villanova School of Law) in 1998.

Why Communication Arts? I knew that I wanted a career in Human Resources and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offered me the diversity of class choice that I needed.  Communication Arts provided me with depth where I wanted it and breadth where I needed it to prepare me for the field of HR.

Why did you pursue a J.D.? I wanted the critical and analytical thinking that law school demands. Further, labor relations, employment and contract law are specific disciplines in Human Resources and gave me an edge early on in my career.

Current Role:  Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Nord Anglia Education

Meg De Keukelaere in Front of Mountains

Length in Role: I recently joined Nord Anglia Education in August 2017. Prior to that, I was working for Apple in Shanghai.

Why did you choose that profession? I felt that the talent acquisition and human resources discipline was the best match for my interests and skills. I love the energy, the connectivity. It’s not just putting a body in a job or creating or enforcing a policy. It’s about matching the right person at the right time to the right place and making the match for and with the organization so that everybody wins.

How did Villanova prepare you for the role you are in today? I began thinking that I would study English but wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to do.  Through some temp jobs, I had contact with Human Resources groups; I took internships while in school and spoke to professionals about how they choose their careers. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences had many different areas of specialization within Communications from Public Relations to Media, not to mention classes in psychology, microeconomics, religion, etc. that provided me with a solid foundation.

What was your favorite class at Villanova? Undergraduate: Film Analysis that I took senior year with Dr. Susan Mackay-Kallis. She taught me about the power of film and how understanding beyond mere entertainment value allows you to explore the interconnectedness of personal visions, artistic and technological developments, social changes, as well as processes by which cultures and nations are defined through audiovisual means. It was important for me then and it remains important to me now to be a culturally literate and engaged global citizen. Graduate: Jurisprudence was my favorite class in law school. I liked the Socratic Method and enjoyed the topics covered including understanding the philosophies of justices and how they craft law.

What do you miss most about Villanova? It’s sense of community. Driving back to campus always felt like driving home. It holds a special place in my heart. Mass on Sunday nights was always a particular highlight of my week.

cows on the beach

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?  I don’t have one specific piece of advice.  Rather, I journal phrases; sayings that guide the pursuit of excellence.  Some of my favorites are: live to question, don’t push the river, begin with the end in mind, and come with solutions.

What do you love about where you are now?  I live in the hamlet of Wang Tong Tsuen.  My commute is an 8 minute bike ride and a 30 minute ferry ride.  Traffic consists of dodging water buffalo (and the patties they leave behind) and turtles on the bike path.  There are no roads.  After long hours during the week, I shutdown on the weekend and enjoy the mountains on one side and beach on the other. 

What are some of your interests?  Mahjong and travel.  I’ll take a 3 week vacation with my husband and live as the locals do.  I’m more comfortable now with chopsticks than I am with utensils!

Do you have a major goal for yourself right now?  I recently joined Nord Anglia Education.  It has 47 schools around the world and I plan to visit each and every campus in all 17 countries within 3 years.

What is something about you that not many people know?  I ironed shirts for the basketball team in college.  I lived in Stanford Hall and some players lived on the upper floors.  My roommate was friends with a player and I was ironing when he stopped by one day and he asked if I could iron his shirt for him.  Soon I started charging $1 a shirt.

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