“As the first female Operations Coordinator, I hope to contribute to change.” 

Annie Ntumba

Operations Coordinator

Operations Coordinator

In August 2019, Annie Ntumba stepped into the world of Delhaize Belgium. With almost 20 years of experience in logistics behind her, she was drawn by the appeal of a large company, a diverse mix of people, and favorable working hours. It took a moment for her to find her place, but once she found it, she started to thrive. "I take pride in being an Operations Coordinator and adding real value to this organization. It’s also a way to show my children that you can achieve anything you set your mind to." 

Since Annie was promoted from Team Coordinator to Operations Coordinator two years ago, she has become a night owl. Her shift starts at 8pm and ends at 2:30am. "In my previous role, my working hours were the standard nine-to-five. Initially, this suited me well as my boys were very young then. But now, this is honestly much better for me. I work while they sleep and come home before they wake up. I have a quick nap and then get up to have breakfast with them and take them to school. While they're at school, I catch up on sleep, then I pick them up and we have the entire afternoon together. It might not be the most conventional schedule, but it works perfectly for me." 

Annie has worked in the logistics field for over two decades. In 2001, she moved from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Belgium to pursue her studies. The initial plan was to return after completing her degree, but a certain Belgian gentleman by the name of Jurgen changed her course. She decided to relocate to Belgium permanently and held various logistics-related roles at a different retailer before joining Delhaize Belgium. "I've always found logistics to be a fascinating field — it’s dynamic and exciting, but undeniably a predominantly male domain. When I started at Delhaize Belgium, it took me a bit of time to find my place. I was the first female manager, and that required a bit of adjustment in the company.”   

Fortunately, Annie possesses exceptional people skills. "Working with people is, without a doubt, one of my key strengths. During that first month, I didn't give anyone any instructions; I simply engaged in conversations with people — one-on-ones where I asked about how they were doing, both at work and at home. That level of attention and genuine interest in people’s lives make a world of difference. Communication and openness are essential for being a good manager and creating cohesion within a team and organization. 

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When I look at our night team — where I collaborate closely with three Team Coordinators who are responsible for 110 people in total — I am immensely proud of what we've achieved. We are a tight-knit and motivated team that almost feels like a family. We support each other and work together to get the job done. That sense of family or community is one of the best parts of my job." 

A diverse, multilingual environment 

It's a lively bunch that oversees the Zellik distribution center every night. "My decision to work for a big organization like Delhaize was partly driven by my wish to work with a rich variety of people and cultures. And I wasn't disappointed: my colleagues come from many different continents, bringing diverse cultures and backgrounds with them. We have long-term staff, part-time students, and a truly multilingual environment, with French, English, and Dutch spoken interchangeably. The one diversity aspect needing improvement is the representation of women on the floor. Currently, I’m one of just five women in a group of over 100 people — a rather disappointing, unbalanced ratio. Achieving gender diversity in the logistics world will take time. As the first and only female Operations Coordinator at this company, I hope to contribute to that change." 

In her day-to-day work, Annie’s top priority is ensuring that everyone working with and for her is satisfied. "I serve as the bridge between team coordinators, carriers, drivers, and the other distribution centers. If there's an issue or someone is dissatisfied, I'm there to propose solutions. As I've mentioned, I believe this hinges on excellent communication. If I never left my desk, I would have no idea of what's happening on the floor. That's why I walk through the distribution center every night, engaging in conversations with everyone. Being known and visible makes me approachable, and people feel comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns openly. As a result I can respond swiftly and find a solution in no time. Every year, the team gives me a Christmas gift. I see this as a sign that I'm doing my job well and succeeding in my goal of keeping everyone happy at work." 

Saturdays are Annie’s day to sleep in, at least until around 11am. “Once I’ve had my sleep, my sons, Bryan and Shaun, excitedly wake me up, ready for some weekend adventures. Whether it's a stroll with them biking beside me, a visit to the playground, or any other activity, when I'm with my family, work is the last thing on my mind. But when I’m at work, they give me the energy to excel. It's important to me that they know their mom can achieve just as much as any man, if not more. They think I am the boss of Delhaize Belgium. I haven’t corrected them yet,” Annie concludes with a laugh.

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Name: Annie Ntumba (1980) 
Studied: Human Resource Management, Icet Cuesmes. Mons (2002) 
Started working at Delhaize Belgium: August 2019 
Living with: My husband, Jurgen, and our two sons, Bryan  and Shaun  
Hobbies: Bowling, going out for dinner, and traveling. I’m a very curious person and love discovering new places. That’s why I prefer not to visit the same place twice 
Wake me up in the middle of the night for: A bowling game 
Favorite holiday destination: We recently did a roadtrip in the United States and traveled through Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. It was absolutely amazing. Now we’re dreaming of visiting Australia one day… 
Life-changing event: Marrying Jurgen and the birth of our sons 
Biggest source of inspiration: My sons 
Best advice I’ve ever received: Listen carefully to people before passing judgment or offering advice’ 


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