For SAP employee Dirk-Jan Slingenberg, there’s no mountain too high, no goal too far, no dream too big.

Flowers, a book, finally a new pair of socks? What birthday wishes have you fulfilled recently? If you ask SAP employee Dirk-Jan Slingenberg, you’ll hardly believe your ears.

Fulfilling his father’s 70th birthday wish was hardly an easy task. Bert Slingenberg wanted to celebrate his special birthday in style with his two sons. But not just anywhere; specifically 5,895 meters above sea level on the top of Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.


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Bert Slingenberg had already given his sons a one-year pre-warning. Dirk-Jan didn’t require much persuasion, and was up for the challenge. The goal was set and the preparation could begin. Yet without being in good physical shape, an undertaking of this scale wouldn’t be possible. “Due to work and also to my family life I did no sports at all and I was not in great shape,” Dirk-Jan concedes. “I knew that if I didn’t prepare, I wouldn’t make it to the top.”

Dirk-Jan works as a business transformation principal at SAP Digital Business Services in the Netherlands. He travels a lot and is often with customers. Naturally, he prefers to spend his free time with his wife and children. So where was he supposed to find the time for an intensive training program?

At the beginning, Dirk-Jan got his motivation from the “Run Your Health” program, a local initiative launched by SAP Netherlands. Using the preogram’s SAP platform and a fitness tracker, he could measure his activity and keep tally on his progress.

“Dirk-Jan is very dedicated, to his work, but also dedicated to his colleagues and to everything he does,” says his manager, Richard Dingemans. Thanks to regular training sessions, Dirk-Jan was ready to take on the adventure of a lifetime. In January 2016, the three Slingenbergs conquered Kilimanjaro and reached the summit on the morning of their father’s 70th birthday.

They currently have no plans to tackle another mountain peak, but Dirk-Jan would be game for the challenge. During his one-year preparation period, he developed a passion for running, and this is something that has stayed with him. The SAP employee now regularly runs half marathons, most recently in June at the annual “SAP Run” in S’Hertogenbosch.

Run Your Way Program

A program led by SAP Global Health Management aims to support and encourage SAP employees of all generations and physical conditions to invest in their health and well-being by moving more throughout the day. Using Fit@SAP, a global activity platform powered by SAP HANA, employees can find their own way to move more together and develop healthy habits.