Team Cake: this is Michel

By Yves Bovin
Michel Catrie

👋 In this interview series, we introduce the people behind Cake. Today, it’s up to Michel. Our Compliance and Risk Officer.

Name: Michel Catrie		
Role: Compliance & Risk Officer	
Making Cake since: August 2022
Location: Ghent, Belgium

What does your workplace look like?

I work at home with 3 screens and a very decent desk chair; a gamers’ chair actually. Not that I am a gamer, but I think it is important to have a decent setup, and such a chair is just extremely comfortable. I also spent a considerable amount of money on my audio equipment. Music is very important in my life, and it’s always on while I’m working.

So what music do you listen to? 

Well, it ranges from harder rock to metal. Definitely the heavier stuff. I often listen to Coheed and Cambria. That said, when I want to relax, I sometimes just listen to quiet music with a slow bass as well.

Okay, and how did you end up listening to bass at Cake? 

Well, it was actually a perfect moment in my life. I was working at VDK bank in Ghent but decided to move to Amsterdam with my girlfriend. I started looking for another job because remote work from Amsterdam wasn’t an option. During my search, I was approached by a recruiter asking if Cake could be something for me. After reading the other interviews with Cake employees as well as the core values of the company, I felt that Cake was exactly the kind of company I was looking for. Every checkbox seemed to be ticked. I reached out and after only a few short interviews, I had an offer letter in hand!

Switching from going to an office every day to working from home has been really great so far. Recently, I had to go to Brussels for a few days and that felt particularly awkward and unnecessary; commuting somewhere by train. I can no longer imagine doing that every day of the week. 

And you will be moving to Amsterdam soon then? 

Yes, life is too short to stay in one place. I’ve been searching online for a new home for a while now but it’s not easy to find something decent and affordable in Amsterdam. My girlfriend lives in Amsterdam with a roommate, but we are looking for a new place where we can live together. After a desperate search online, I have now approached a real estate agent in Amsterdam who will handle the search for me. 

Cool! Now, tell us, what do you actually do at Cake?

I am in charge of compliance and risk. Most people probably have no idea what that means, but basically, I have to make sure that the core idea of adhering to regulation is infused into our processes while making sure we can still stick to our core values and what we want to achieve as a company. 

Wow, that is beautifully expressed.

I can throw out a lot of difficult legal speak if you’d like, but it simply comes down to helping the Cake team organize everything they do in a correct and legal way. Not only in compliance with financial legislation, but also with personal data legislation. After all, we work with a lot of personal data. That means GDPR is also an important piece, for instance. Although everyone at Cake is already aware of GDPR and its importance, I need to make sure the necessary checks and balances are automatically incorporated into all of Cake’s processes. A good thing is that a lot of work has already been done on that end. 

Speaking of work, what does your standard working day look like? 

I usually start working between 8 and 9 am until noon. At that time, I do some exercise like running or yoga. I like to work out in the middle of the day, and it keeps me fit. Working out at noon makes me much happier than eating a sandwich in a company canteen. 

In the evening, sometimes I stop at 4 pm, other times I’m still working at 8. It really depends on what I have planned for that evening.

Besides sports, do you have any other hobbies? 

Not really. I don’t have that much free time either. Aside from sports, I try to meet up with friends as often as I can. I think it’s important to keep personal social contacts very active, especially since I work from home every day. Recently, I did try out clay pigeon shooting. That was fun! I might try doing that as a hobby.

Michel Catrie

I used to do powerlifting, but a bit too fanatical, with training schedules and predetermined goals. At my peak, I could lift 170 kilos. It had become an obsession. I also ate an insane amount of food, just to gain muscles. After a while, it was no longer healthy and my joints started hurting. I realised I had to stop doing that. 

One day I saw a video on YouTube about Yoga for Men. That was an eye-opener and changed my life. Check out this video and do yoga too. 

Since you still have to eat: What is your favorite meal? 

Fried rice with vegetables. 

So nasi goreng? 

Yes, I like it very much. I particularly enjoy Asian cuisine and preparing it myself. I order take-away or eat out at restaurants as little as possible. I am now also working on expanding my repertoire of what I can cook at home, since my girlfriend isn’t as excited as I am about eating rice and vegetables every single day. 

Michel Catrie

And what’s your favorite drink? 

Moscow Mule for sure! It’s a cocktail with vodka, ginger beer, lime and mint. I also like to make Negroni’s at home. That’s a cocktail with gin, vermouth and campari. Pina colada is also heaven on earth. Oh, would you also mention in the interview that I like to drink tea as well? I don’t want to seem like an alcoholic. 

No worries. So you don’t like spending money on take-out and restaurants. Tell me what you do dare to spend money on. 

I am not stingy, but my taste is not expensive. My threshold of good food is quickly crossed. So expensive restaurants are not my cup of tea. I will never buy an expensive car or other super expensive stuff. The only expensive things I bought are 3 electric guitars and my audio equipment at home.

Oh yes, I also recently bought a tailor-made suit. That was an expensive purchase for me. I wore that suit when I did my certified compliance officer exam. After that, I wore it to one of my best friends’ wedding. I guess it’ll be my fancy party suit from now on.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? 

Jumping out of a plane. With a parachute of course. I’m not suicidal. 😉

That’s not original, Jef had the same item on his list. 

Indeed, maybe we should do a jump together. 

I’ll put it another way: what would you do if you won the Lottery? 

It might be cliché, but I would first take a trip around the world. Then maybe get certified as a yoga teacher. Or maybe even open a coffee bar in Indonesia. I would also buy a house in a different country. All in all, I don’t plan to make drastic changes to my life.

Opening a coffee shop in Indonesia is not drastic? 

Oh, yes, maybe so. But I would always stay self-employed. It’s important to keep having mental challenges.

What did you want to become when you were a child? 

As a child, first an astronaut, then doctor. As a teenager, I became passionate about finance. I wanted to be an investment banker. That looked cool. Then I ended up studying law because it fascinated me how lawyers can hold an intellectual battle. But after my studies, I ended up in the financial sector after all. 

Fortunately for us. We can’t do much with an astronaut at Cake for now.

Join the Cake team!

Check all our open positions here.