Georges Hanot, Founding Partner :
"I have been an advocate and active user of collaborative negotiation and mediation throughout my entrepreneurial career. My strong belief in this more effective, and less frustrating third way* of resolving conflict finally made me become a Mediator myself. The principles, and values that guide my work as a mediator are also those that make me strive for business-efficiency and sustainable cooperation.
To have a genuine impact and be more effective, I have clustered my practice. The associate partners, with whom I have teamed up, and who make Con-Sent ADR a powerful, and highly specialized provider of mediation expertise, share the same beliefs, which we have bundled in our pretty straight forward, and no-frills Manifesto.
Whilst being active in various countries, my home base has always remained on the axis France - Belgium - The Netherlands, hence making this region of Europe my natural backyard.
Finding in Virginie and Roger the associate partners that not only share the same vision towards conflict resolution, but also incorporate themselves a trans-border culture with Belgium, has shown to be a real opportunity for the effectiveness of Con-Sent ADR.
Today, in our partnership, we work together in refining and updating our knowledge and skills, and in developing the approach to specific or complex issues in which we can benefit from our variation in backgrounds. Where appropriate - from a either a cultural, or a competence point of view - we also operate co-mediations."
* The 2005 Belgian Mediation Act added a seventh part to the Belgian Judical Code, thus making agreements between parties, reached through the intervention of a certified mediator, equally enforceable as court decisions or arbitration
Georges Hanot has a long-running international experience as board director, CEO and co-investor in both larger multinational, as Belgian SME-environments. In several areas around the globe, he headed expansion and integration projects, in a scope ranging from retail and export, to subcontracting and sourcing.
In all of these, change and growth have been a common thread, as well as connecting people, and unfolding common interests have been. His collaborative and interest-based approach made him into a successful negotiator, representer of interests, and mediator.
His strong belief – as a businessman as well as a citizen - in group dynamics in general, and in the virtues of alternative and amicable dispute resolution in particular, inspired him to deepen his knowledge and further qualify himself in the field, and finally to actually set up an own mediation practice.
Georges has been officially certified as a Mediator by the Federal Mediation Commission at Belgian’s Ministry of Justice, in civil and commercial matters, as well as in social matters. He is also amongst the very first mediators in public affairs, trained by the Catholic University of Leuven (B) aimed at the resolution of conflicts in which a public authority is involved.
A more detailed profile can be folded out underneath.
After having gone through primary and high school in his native town of Tongeren (B), Georges graduated with an Economics Degree from Louvain’s (B) Group T Leuven Catholic Industrial University College, now Group T International University College.
He subsequently obtained a Certificate in Comparative European Business Law from The City of London Polytechnic, now London Metropolitan University (UK), where he also attended the program on International Law.
Throughout his career he accomplished extensive management education & trainings, in various countries.
Georges gained his mediation qualifications from Ghent University (B), where he acquired both a General Mediation Certificate, as a Certificate of Mediation in Civil & Commercial Matters.
He qualified as a Mediator in Social Affairs at Mediv, the Mediation Institute of Flanders (B).
Georges also obtained K.U. Leuven (B) University’s - first cohort - postgraduate degree Government and Mediation .
As part of his Executive MBA at the University of Antwerp's (B) autonomous Antwerp Management School, he is an alumnus of the Cross-Cultural Business Negotiation Program, organised by AMS at Lingnan College of Guangzhou’s (CN) Sun Yat-sen University.
On a regular basis, he internationally attends and/or speaks at dedicated conferences and master classes.
After a few first years of being in charge of the collective department within a middle sized Belgian insurance company, where he managed a nationwide network of major brokers catering to large entities and the industry, Georges moved to France and started working for sporting goods retailer Decathlon.
In the 19 years he spent – as first ever foreign national management staff, later becoming first ever foreign national executive board member – in the organization, he was part of the key management team that boosted the company from the 680 employees and – at the time French only – 150 million € revenues when he joined, to the major player that became the Oxylane group, with over 4 billion € revenues employing 40.000 people across the globe at the time he left.
During that period, he went from building up the company’s private label (gradually becoming A-brand) activities, hiring and heading product teams, setting up and managing a worldwide subcontracting network and local QC-offices, to developing the retail and supply chain activities of the group.
In doing so, he took up the operational role as CEO for a number of subsidiaries, amongst others in his native Belgium, where he developed activities from scratch to over 1000 employees, and revenues of nearly 150 million € in 9 years.
In 2006, Georges moved his scope. Whilst already taking up facilitation and mediation-oriented missions, he simultaneously engaged himself, as co-CEO, in a crisis management role at Newton 21 Europe, a mid-sized European group providing communication and marketing services in which he had become a co-investor; here, his focus lay on the integration of several entities, as well as on building a framework for cross-fertilization of core competencies across Europe.
Further, he founded a new retail concept: Garden Centre Floramarket. From the overall definition, branding and concept development, he moved to location search, identification, overall planning and licensing, until finally opening a 3500 m2 pilot store, and running it until handing it over to an operational associate.
From 2006 on also, Georges is a member of the board at Menagelec, which comprises the Belgium-based Saey Home & Garden, global marketer and supplier of barbecuing & heating consumer products, mainly under the brand names of barbecook, Flandria and Saey.
At first a non-executive Director, he subsequently took up the role as CEO during a transition period during which the company engaged in an ambitious international development project, until gradually withdrawing from operations again in order to focus on his mediation activities.
Along with his work as a mediator, Georges is active in leadership advisory and coaching.
Even before being officially certified as a mediator, Georges had a vast track record in facilitation and collaborative negotiation, whilst accompanying disputants towards mutually beneficial, and win-win agreements.
He has mediated towards amicable settlements in a variety of disputes, ranging from locally between vendors and customers or retailers, between real estate developers and public authorities, to internationally between suppliers and subcontractors on claims issues, in IP-issues between trade mark holders and agents, and in shareholders issues.
With a broad experience in workplace matters and labour disputes, he has enabled conflict resolution both in individual cases as in international restructurings and close downs, and worked on positive transformation of team dynamics and cultural integration following M&A’s.
Georges takes leadership, facilitates decision making, and does so through empowering people and groups of people. He federates them towards common goals; this has both proven successful in management, as in mediation.
He is very well at ease in different-, and multi-cultural environments.
A part from his strategic vision, he has attention for details. And those details can be important. As pragmatism prevails in his approach, Georges keeps balance between the concrete and the abstract.
As an interested observer of society, Georges actively follows up on the economy, as well as major issues of general interest and international politics.
He cultivates his citizenship of the world by travelling it.
Well at ease within decision-making spheres, and a member of various management associations, Georges has taken up active roles in several of them, i.a. as:
- Founder & President of The Circle for Progress.
- Past President of l'Association Progrès du Management, APM-Brussels
- Past board member of Comeos, the Federation for Retail and Services;
- Past chairman of the Shopexchange platform at Comeos.
- Committee Member at Agoria, the Federation for the Technology Industry.
Occasionally, Georges is also a speaker, and has been so at conferences in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, as well as in the United Arab Emirates.
Currently, he is also taking up roles in several organizations oriented towards mediation .
Golf, skiing, scuba diving, working out and cycling are his favorite sports.
Finally, he loves architecture and music; the latter also actively as lead vocalist of an occasionally performing rock band.
Virginie Martins de Nobrega has a decade of diverse international experiences in international affairs for international organizations and corporations. She worked on sensitive conflicts and advised international enterprises on financing projects and the setting-up of entities.
She has evolved progressively of the international justice realm towards international human rights, prevention and transformation of conflicts, as well as effective management within the public sector.
Witnessing firsthand the impact of strategies, policies and development projects, she strongly believe that social responsibility is the essence of a sustainable development.
In a global economy, this means that actors of development, businesses and the civil society should collaborate and cooperate.
Mediators and facilitators are a key component for this sound communication.
Mediator and Attorney, Virginie wants to be an actor of change and contribute to foster new synergies.
Georges Hanot, Founding Partner: "I first met Virginie Martins de Nobrega at the Mediators Beyond Borders Peace conference in Istanbul, where I got impressed by her strong track record in pro bono activities on one hand, and her profound commitment as a mediator towards highly structured and effective solutions for the business community on the other hand; thus - despite being an attorney herself - clearly privileging this way over the one through Court.
Virginie's multicultural background and international experience, her open eye on the world and her specific link with Belgium where she has lived and worked, made her the perfect fit for Con-Sent ADR."
A more detailed profile can be folded out underneath.
After having gone through primary and high school in Rueil-Malmaison (92), Virginie studied for 2-years in preparatory business schools in Neuilly-sur-Seine (92) before entering the University of Law of Paris Ouest Nanterre.
She holds a master cum laude and a postgraduate degree (2004) in international and European law, with international (public and private) and EU competition law as majors. She completed her academic background with the courses of The Hague Academy in international law, and subsequently obtained her license to practice.
At the same time, Virginie won the French national mediation competition organized by the Center of Mediation and Arbitration of Paris (CMAP), and has subsequently be trained in commercial mediation. She also followed the teaching of US mediator, Pr. Gary Friedman, co-founder of the “Center for understanding in conflict”.
Virginie follows the path of continuing education. She is currently enrolled in two professional trainings on international conflicts in Switzerland.
In June 2004, Virginie joined the legal department for structured finance (shipping, real estate, international projects, and micro-credit) of SOCIETE GENERALE Corporate and Social Banking (SGIB). She analyzed confidential agreements and assessed legal issues in international law (state contracts, immunity of execution, and conflict of laws).
Besides, she integrated a green task force (CSR task force) aiming at implementing the World Bank Equator principles, which is a risk management framework for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects and to provide a minimum standard for due diligence to support responsible risk decision-making (environmental impact assessment, human rights assessment, consultation of the civil society and the local population, assessment of the risk of relocation and internal migration).
In March 2005, she took a 6-month gap to travel backpacking in a developing country. This period of transition was a period of reflection on her professional ambitions, vision, values and ethics, along with clarifying how to integrate theoretical concepts with practical considerations. Indeed, Virginie has always wanted to be an actor of change through a pragmatic, effective and appropriate approach to meet the real needs.
On her return from Brazil, she successively integrated the Directorate General of competition of the European Commission (DG Comp, Brussels), a non-profit in public management (EFQM, Brussels), the United Nations international tribunal for Khmer Rouges (UNAKRT, Phnom Penh), and the Office of the Special Adviser on the prevention of genocide at the United Nations’ headquarter (OSAPG, New York). She also worked for the litigation and arbitration department of the Paris office of a US law firm where she provided counsel to clients on EU regulations, as well as legal assessments on international issues related to the setting-up of plants in zone of conflicts and countries on which international sanctions have been imposed (energy, health, environment sectors). She also worked on litigation cases in French law.
Virginie has continued to evolve of the international justice towards international human rights, development, prevention and transformation of conflicts.
Through her experiences, she has apprehended the stakes, learnt the functioning, as well as experience the respective challenges of the different stakeholders in the realm of international affairs, both public and private.
Thanks to her strong analytical capacity, she integrates a multidisciplinary approach (human rights based approach, conflict transformation based approach, geopolitical) to advice and take pragmatic actions while adapting easily to all audience (high decision maker, local population on the field).
In the perspective of conflict prevention and resolution, this means needs and risks assessment analysis and process design to implement sustainable solutions.
Currently, Virginie is running her own legal practice with a special highlight on alternative dispute resolution (mediation, collaborative law, negotiation) within which she wants to develop international activities with international organizations, public entities, NGOs and corporations.
Along with her work as an attorney and a mediator, Virginie is active in coaching and pro bono activities. She is also a professional trainer.
She works in Paris, Brussels, and travels easily when needed.
After working in international criminal law, Virginie decided to shift gears to contribute in building bridges of understanding and sustainable growth.
She was first involved in resolving an in-house conflict as team leader, and followed thereafter an initiative of mediation unit support of the United Nations on peace agreements.
Mediation, dialogue facilitation and collaborative negotiation thus came as a natural feet for her.
A charismatic relationships builder, skilled at building consensus between conflicting parties and driving resolutions, Virginie conducts mediations and co-mediations, as well as assists parties during the mediation process as an attorney.
She is a young mediator at the International Institute of Mediation (Young IMI).
Virginie is active in the mediation realm in Paris as a coach for lawyer trainees and as a judge at the CMAP national mediation competition, and co-created and animated a group of practitioners in 2012. In 2013, she was appointed as one of the professional trainers the school of mediation at the Paris Bar.
She is also involved in pro-bono activities for international organizations in dialogue facilitation, human rights, education and development. As such, she coordinated the drafting of a practical French handbook on the prevention of torture in Benin with the online United Nations Volunteering Program (UNV Award 2013). This handbook has been designed with informative bubbles highlighting mediation tools with the view of raising awareness on dialogue facilitation and non-violent communication.
Operating on the Paris-Brussels axe, and internationally, her activities include cross-border cases.
Virginie is an achiever and solution-oriented professional that thrive in dynamic environments where she is asked to quickly understand the stakes, to highlight the positive and build bridges between different positions. She has a very strong sense of empathy while taking the lead, if necessary, to structure the dialogue towards solutions. She facilitates decision making by empowering people and making them clearer on their objectives, values and the actions to be taken to reach their goals.
Whole-hearted, Virginie is driven, has a strong work ethics and a high sense of efficiency.
Thanks to her travels and her origins, she has a keen sensitivity to inter-cultural dialogue and can easily adapt to her audience. She is very at ease with multi-cultural and international environments, both in the public and private sector.
Virginie travels the world to meet other cultures and expand her understanding of individuals.
Dancing, swimming, walking in nature, scuba diving and working out are her physical activities.
She likes going to the Opera and also enjoys taking pictures, which had led her to expose some photographs in Brussels (2005).
She is also keen in developing in-depth knowledge in human empowerment, and as such is involved in different personal development groups and groups of women entrepreneurs.
She is also involved in volunteering activities for children and human rights.
Roger Ritzen is a lawyer at the Breda Bar (Netherlands), but has lived for more than 20 years in Antwerp. He is also a Mediator since 2005, in the Netherlands, with a track record of business and employment mediation. Roger is also in Belgium registered Mediator in civil and commercial matters, since 2011 after following the appropriate education and training, recognized by the Federal Mediation Commission of the Ministry of Justice.
As an attorney and mediator, Roger has always focused 100% on helping entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals and individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit. From the south of the Netherlands, and since 2014 also from his office in Antwerp he helped out Dutch customers but also Flemish companies or individuals confronted with Dutch law.
Georges Hanot, Founding Partner: "I met Roger Ritzen as my legal counsel during a complex restructuring process in the Netherlands. His mission, act as a Dutch lawyer, full filled he – rather unusual, but downright refreshing – with a collaborative approach to it and that drew my attention. When I got to know him better I discovered that he was a convinced and active mediator in the Netherlands but also in Belgium.
Roger's motivation - although still active as a lawyer - for mediated solutions rather than attrition to courts, and his organically grown bi-cultural profile, makes him Con-Sent ADR’ s ideal northern satellite. A more detailed profile can be unfolded (S) below.
After high school ( Fons Vitae in Amsterdam ), Gymnasium β, Roger Ritzen studied at the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law and graduated in Dutch Civil law, with a special focus on international law and European law.
As a lawyer, he has focused on specializing in corporate law, particularly labor law, in which he undergone specialized education at the Grotius Academy (completed in 1999).
In 2005, he finished at the institute Van der Hoeven & Nelissen, recognized by Dutch Mediation Institute (NMI) an education and training to become a mediator.
Roger completed in 2011 the by the Federal Mediation Commission of the Ministry of Justice in Belgium approved Mediation education institute ( bMediation ) in Flanders , which resulted also in being an accredited mediator in civil and commercial matters in Belgium.
Directly after finishing his academic studies, Roger was in 1989 admitted to an internship at the Legal Service of the European Commission . Afterwards het started as a lawyer at a large international law firm. Gradually, he started focusing on cross-border between the Netherlands and Belgium as well as the associated cultural and communication differences.
In 1991 he privately located in Antwerp and as a lawyer enrolled at the Bar Breda, which continues to this day. In 1997, he just across the border founded a Dutch law firm, which existed 15 years later with 4 partners and 20 employees. He has always been attracted to assisting the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the Netherlands and in Flanders.
In 2013 he sold the shares in that law firm to his fellow associates. In his capacity as a lawyer focused on commercial law, he currently holds office in Antwerp and in Roosendaal and renders his services to Dutch and Flemish customers when it comes down to Dutch law.
In recent years more and more Dutch and Flemish entrepreneurs have been helped by Roger as a mediator (Rogius Mediation www.rogius.be), Sometimes in a conflict mediation, but also by trying to improve business partnerships or if necessary unbundle these partnerships.
Increasingly, that culminates in a somewhat lengthy internal role to oversee the marked paths and even developing into a managing role.
In addition, Roger Ritzen is a board member in various organizations as well as he performs as a consultant, interim management tasks for customers. The trained skills for being a mediator helps a lot for being successful in this part of his professional life.
In the last decade Roger was involved in several mediations/mediations. That have been mediations in a purely Dutch or Flemish context but also mediations with cross-border multi-cultural aspects. As a lawyer he has repeatedly supported a party that was involved in a conciliation / mediation
Because of his knowledge and experience with people who have to cooperate in for example a law firm or medical surroundings, he has been asked to be involved in the process for improving the cooperation between those professionals (especially lawyers and dentists). Sometimes it is a pure conflict mediation but sometimes it evolved to a more interim management role.
In addition, Roger is regularly invited as a coach to train new mediators.
Roger has a broad interest, particularly in politics, economics and sports. He is an active skier, sailor, golfer, cyclist and hiker. He adores the (Ardennes) outdoor live. He is a member of several associations, including Benev, Rotary, Orde of the Prince, also of associations like VAAN, bMediation, NMI and the Bar-association of both Breda and Antwerp. .
As a board member he is active in several commercial en non-commercial organizations.