Trusting the process with Louis Coetzee
Lego. The ultimate blend of creativity and engineering virtuosity. Behind Louis’ desk sits a couple of collector sets, fully constructed with Louis’ ten and seven-year-old sons. They’re a call-out to the things that shaped him in his youth – Saturn 5, the Flintstones, Ghostbusters. Equal parts heart, art, and science.
The 11th of March 1998 was a pivotal day for Louis. Months from completing his performing arts degree, he realized that it was not what he wanted for a career.
Growing up, Louis was the baby of the family. With two brothers, eleven and fifteen years his senior, Louis had the benefit of seeing them adopt interests as they grew to be adults while he was still figuring it all out. When Louis’ oldest brother turned 21, he got a Mac.
“Computers were considered magical back then,” Louis says, “I was in awe, and my brother was kind enough to let me learn to program alongside him.” From practically the time he could read and write, Louis was learning to write computing commands, “and marveled at the magic of telling the computer what to do with the click of a button.”
To perform or to program – that is the question
Louis has always been a highly creative person. Choir, check, debate team, check, drama club, check, Louis did it.
But as a performing arts university student, his dream of spending his life on stage began to dwindle. This coincided with Louis receiving his first computer on his 21st birthday.
Tech had always been there and here it was again reminding him of his creative breadth. He had reached a crossroads and the promise of a career in tech won out.
In Louis’ view, “The best Java developers in the world are creatives – especially musicians. And not just that, they’re creatives first. Java is an abstract language, and it proves that creativity and an ability to program are actually quite relatable.”
Louis’ point can be exemplified with just the professional services team at Nintex, one used to be a DJ, another is a self-taught guitarist, and yet another is a painter. Then there is Louis as a lifelong performer – and programmer.
Embracing change and OneNintex
Louis’ career began at a software company as an ASP, Visual Basic 6 and COM developer. His next job fostered the connection that brought him to Australia from South Africa, and to Nintex from K2 – Hennie Laubscher. Between another corporate role, building a consultancy, and working at a K2 partner, Louis and Hennie crossed paths again and then Louis made the move – literally.
Across the Indian Ocean, with his wife and young son, Louis landed in a place where he and his wife knew no-one, to join an organization that unbeknownst to them would soon become part of Nintex.
“We came to respect these exceptional leaders here at Nintex. We hashed it out and molded around each other. They made us feel comfortable and included. Over time, we became One Nintex.”
Louis started on a large consulting team, managed directly by Hennie. Several years later, he was promoted to principal consultant and then moved into a management role for the consulting team. “Hennie has always been a great mentor,” Louis says, “Teaching me the ropes and providing me real working experiences across customer success, support, sales, and professional services which is critical to the synergy we have now.”
After everyone had learned about Nintex’s acquisition of K2, Hennie had already met with some people at Nintex and said to Louis, “Annoyingly, everyone is super nice and we’re gonna fit in great. It’s going to be so fantastic.”
Louis mentioned that having a big rival take them on did spawn an initial “not-my-job” reaction across the newly acquired team. They didn’t yet understand how everyone fit.
Very quickly though, Louis says, “We came to respect these exceptional leaders here at Nintex. We hashed it out and molded around each other. They made us feel comfortable and included. Over time, we became One Nintex.”
Trust. A new vision and leadership
Louis is still encouraged by Nintex’s leadership. With the recent addition of Jen Bailin (Chief Commercial Officer) and Jet Theuerkauf (Chief Customer Officer), Louis has confidence in a holistic sales model and complete customer strategy that’ll take team collaboration and effectiveness to a new level.
Louis shares that “Jen’s view of how a sales model operates incorporates professional services in a way that it’s going to be much easier to do business and work well across the various teams. And Jet’s customer vision plays to our strengths even more. It feels comfortable and the synergy is already there.”
And along the way, Louis has grown to appreciate incredible mentors he’s had for most of his career, like Hennie, brand new ones, like Jet, and those who’ve been there for a transition or two, like Kevin Bryant. “Kevin is the ultimate mentor. He’s increased my understanding so much of running a professional services business – things I simply wasn’t privy to when we were small. Kevin threw me in the deep end and made me swim. He exposed me to everything.”
The relationship he has described having with these three leaders and colleagues is the adage, “If you’re the smartest or the richest person in the room, and I mean rich in the experiences and relationships kind of way, you’re in the wrong room. I’m never in the wrong room at Nintex.”
“You just have to trust the process.”
As for recent changes that’ve seen Nintex reduce its workforce, take on a new CEO, and reestablish its purpose, mission and vision, Louis says, “You just have to trust the process.” Having been through many changes with organizations – closing doors, getting sold, getting sold and being sold off, growth and opportunity stalling for years to prepare for a sell – he acknowledges that change can be hard, but sees the recent changes here as in the best interest of the company. “I believe everyone in this organization is plowing through it and doing their jobs, looking forward to what’s to come.”
A believer in Eric Johnson’s leadership and appreciative of his One Nintex mentality and the way he’s grown the business, Louis is encouraged for Amit Mathradas to take on the CEO seat at Nintex. “We’ve done this with humanity and in the best interests of the business. Treating people right breeds trust, so I trust this process. It hurts when it’s all business and there’s little care for the people who constitute it. We’re fortunate that’s not what’s happened here. Change is not that difficult when all that’s aligned.”
The pursuit of curiosity
It’s not just at Nintex that Louis trusts the process. “When I started university, my brother, who is now an anesthetist said, ‘If I could do one more degree, I’d do law,’ because of the frustrations of legalities and things that happen in his business every day.”
And decades later, since having moved into the director role, Louis has experienced what his brother was referencing. Across contracts, negotiations, and more, he’s sought more understanding. On top of that, his mentor Hennie has always had an interest in law, learning it in his free time through spending time with lawyers and learning how to apply it. Louis’ own father even started his career as a magistrate.
A fascination with law had been fostered.
Before Louis began his Juris Doctor, his wife decided to pursue an MBA. Watching his wife go through the process, he wasn’t sure the MBA was the right course of study for him, “I had realized that in my position, you either need to know business, or you need to know law. Economics is a bit yawny to me, but the law excites me.” Then, the Juris Doctor – a degree he’d not considered – popped up. Having thought about what his brother had said, and where he was experiencing a knowledge gap at work, he applied. Much to his surprise, he was accepted.
It’s not just excitement that Louis gets from learning law. Law is performance and at times, creative interpretation and application. It’s objectively what it is. And while it evokes passion, Louis says, “it helps you unpack context and facts dispassionately” to navigate the emotional side of a challenge.
The heart, the art, and the science.
Trust the process of joining Louis and the Nintex team. Click here to learn more.