Katrien Buys is the Director of Strategy, Innovation & Sustainability at Grupo Ageas Portugal.
Every year, on our anniversary, we distinguish the relentless efforts of an individual or a collective in tackling social or environmental challenges. The MAZE runner award belongs to no one, it is a rite of passage: last year’s winner passes the baton to the new winner that then keeps it for one year until we elect the new winner together. Last year, Fumaça won. On MAZE’s 7th anniversary, we passed the baton to Katrien Buys, this year’s MAZE runner.
Why Katrien? Because in the impact world, we cannot afford to have inertia. It is not hard to be paralysed by what looks to be the insurmountable task of achieving positive impact, given the amount of work that it takes and the long feedback loops. Katrien is the opposite of that – she goes above and beyond, making the bridge between her work at AGEAS and impact organisations, creating new commercial and impact opportunities. We have the honour of working with many investors and Katrien stands out as being innovative and always finding routes for cooperation across various thematic areas, creating value for both these impact organisations and AGEAS. Most importantly, Katrien regularly asks questions, most often ‘why?’, which is as powerful as a question can be to keep us on the right track and ensure we don’t take anything for granted.
For all the reasons listed above, we decided to attribute the 2021 MAZE Runner award to Katrien. Her devotion to impact models perfectly the commitment we are trying to trigger inside corporates: the awareness that impact is made for all of us, you cannot stay outside looking in.
In response to the award, Katrien said “This award came as a big surprise to me during Maze’s 7th Birthday party. I feel really honoured to receive it, it means a lot to me to be recognised by them with this Runner’s Award.
MAZE is unique in how they envision impact investment and even more on how they bring it to life. A great team is giving the best version of themselves to find meaningful start-ups that tackle society’s biggest challenges. For Grupo Ageas Portugal, it is inspiring to be part of their story.
As an individual and through my mission in the company to work strategy, innovation and sustainability, I see it as my role to bring people together, have beautiful conversations and co-create a world that is hopeful for as many people as possible. Together with MAZE, their fabulous team and investees, and in the spirit of Ageas’ mission to deliver meaningful experiences in people’s lives, we give evidence that with radical collaboration, we can create social impact. I hope this example may inspire a lot of other companies to reach out and build sustainable solutions in joint efforts.“
AGEAS Portugal is one of the investors in the MSM impact VC fund, one of tools through which MAZE invests in the businesses of the future.
If you want to know more about our impact, read our latest report below.