"Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." - Rumi
I have a real passion for people. I truly have! And this passion is at the heart of everything I do. I consider myself as someone with lots of privileges, professionally and personally.
I had first a great career in the Oil Industry where I was able to learn so much. I started by joining the communication and the press office teams. The role was junior but my asset was to be fluent in English. The global headquarter is based in the UK, a lot of the tasks was to deal with managers and journalists in London. Step by step, I was able to prove myself and to be part of exciting projects. Less than 1 year after, I was offered to move to Brussels, at the European Headquarters as a full expatriate. I know that my boss thought I was going to refuse the job as I was married and with already one son of 3-year-old, Raphael. The assumption that the woman would stay where the husband works were strong. In fact, it became very clear that moving to Brussels was the right thing to do. A lot of people did not take the opportunity because there was no guarantee to have a job after 2 years in Belgium. We were up for the opportunity and the risk. These 2 years became 8 years. 8 years of development and learning possibilities. Great colleagues and great mentors who saw my potential, my curiosity, my passion, and my willingness to stretch my limits. I have so much gratitude for them.
When I was pregnant with my second child Sarah, I become the first woman ex-pat pregnant in that organization. I remember HR telling me that during my maternity leave, I would lose my expatriation package. I was shocked by this and replied right away whether anyone with a broken leg and on sick leave would lose their expatriation package. Of course, this scenario never happened before. So after a few conversations, it became clear that I would keep my expatriation package. I was able to speak up, to raise my voice and I was heard. Sometimes, we don't dare to ask and we feel frustrated. Because we don't share our feeling and because we feel we are not seen. I wanted to be responsible for not excluding myself and I raised my concerns. At that time, this organization was going through a major process of mergers and acquisitions and truly wanted to become a progressive and global organization. It became very obvious that the diversity and inclusion topic was becoming a strategic issue. I was pregnant with Sarah when I was asked to lead a task force on the gender topic to understand why there were so few women as part of the European leadership team and especially to understand the challenges faced by women. I was appointed the first chairperson of the European Women's Network back in 1992. I met incredible women from all over Europe and we initiated a lot of projects like mentoring and job shadowing programs to encourage women to speak up and explore new job opportunities. I was then promoted to move to the worldwide head office and take up the first full-time global role on Diversity & Inclusion in 1998. Everyone was looking at me asking themselves what this role could be.
"To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there." - Kofi Annan
After nearly 20 years in this organization, I felt a strong calling to set up my own company. I wanted to keep my energy and my passion around the topic of diversity and inclusion.
From the moment I founded Pluribus, I wanted to live the mission of Pluribus in my bones. You don't promote diversity and inclusion only from your head. You need to walk the talk. You need to have it from your heart, deep inside. My mission and the mission of Pluribus is to support individuals, teams, and organizations to create an environment where everyone feels listened to, valued, respected, and included so she or he can fulfill her or his full potential.
When I started to build the Pluribus Network, it was important that the new facilitators could equally resonate with this mission and embed these key values. We are not teachers in diversity and inclusion. We want to be role models in diversity and inclusion. It is a life journey as we are continuously learning and challenging ourselves. Humility is certainly one of the qualities promoting diversity and inclusion. We need humility to recognize that working with diverse teams and building inclusion is complex. It does not happen overnight. There is no magical recipe. We need to consistently challenge our mental models, our biases, all the stereotypes, and clichés. A work that invites self-reflection, vulnerability, courage, and authenticity. Work that can shift profoundly individuals and organizations.
I believe that the Pluribus Network is a true laboratory of diversity and inclusion. With more than 60 people based all over the world, 18 spoken languages, men and women from different generations, cultures, backgrounds, religions, we are actually testing, learning, growing together.
So as D&I facilitators, we need to truly embed some key values to be congruent: trust, transparency, generosity, respect, and inclusion.
So yes, I have a passion for people and life!
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." - Nelson Mandela
Passion For People And Life
Mai 28, 2021