My passion ? The sociology of groups, the balances in the company
I joined Total in 1989, by chance ... I had answered a single ad and when I was summoned for an interview, I did not really know if I had applied to Total or Toyota ... I studied Sociology, and as a business specialist, I started my career at a private research institute (Human Sciences Research Council) in South Africa. I stayed there for three years before joining Total's Refining Chemistry subsidiary in Johannesburg, where I held the positions of Human Resources Officer, Information Systems Analyst, Organization Development Manager and Commercial Marketing Transformation Manager, before becoming Human Resources Director of the subsidiary in 2003. A 360 ° HR panorama!
Reinventing HR at the time of Black Economic Empowerment
The 2000s were marked in South Africa by a strong desire to reduce inequalities related to apartheid. Mines and oil companies were the first targets of the Black Economic Empowerment set up by Nelson Mandela government. The latter asked us our 5-years goals in terms of rebalancing diversity (blacks, whites, men, women, ethnic groups ...). Once the ambitions had been announced, we could not go back, the renewal of our license to operate depended on it! With hindsight, I would say that this period generated a lot of creativity within the HR ... We were on all fronts - recruitment, training, mentoring, coaching ... - to identify potential, to accompany the change, to integrate the cultures, to make the diversity an opportunity ... Everything was invented! Subsequently, I participated in numerous Group seminars in which I explained the approach of the subsidiary, considered as one of the Group's "diversity laboratories".
A ticket for France
In 2007, I started taking French lessons, one hour a week. A year later, I was offered a family expatriation in Paris. For three years, I held the position of head of managerial training and leadership for the Holding of the Group. What was interesting for me was the change of scope and the discovery of the Total culture in France ... Rather family-oriented, more masculine than feminine, engineers-oriented, still anchored in a vertical hierarchy ... In this first job with an international perimeter, I was on my core business, the personal development of employees. I discovered another facet of the fight for diversity: feminization and the internationalization of teams. In 2010, I became HR Manager of Bostik, a subsidiary that has since been sold, selling glues in some 45 countries. A very operational position. The director spoke to me in French so that I improve my command of the language ... Today, I thank him!
In 2013, I returned to South Africa for two years as General Manager of the Total Coal South Africa subsidiary (200 employees), which produced coal. A business being sold and important issues in terms of security, uncertainties about the buyer being a source of stress for employees. My skills in management transition helped me ensure the transition without accident, our goal number one.
The challenge of social relations "à la française"
And then, three years ago, I was entrusted with a new mission in France, as Senior Vice President Human Resources & Communication of the Refining Chemistry Branch. I made my first steps in the social relations with the French unions in the refineries ... I had some handicaps - the fact of being a woman, not being French and sometimes having difficulties with the language - that I turned into assets to establish a climate of listening. I do not want to enter into controversial relations, I have set new rules, our exchanges must remain calm, respectful and correct. If the tone goes up, we take a break
More women in the teams
Feminization is more than ever a priority for HR. We develop initiatives to achieve a better balance in the technical trades and in the management committees, to improve mobility conditions, to better anticipate the needs of tomorrow ... We have set up a woman / sponsor mechanism to facilitate the course. We also build a pool of potential women, trained and supported to take responsibilities. Human resources management is changing, more and more open. Until now, in France, career managers had full authority over the allocation of positions; today, this approach is evolving with the Better Together program, so that managers can build their own teams. A rich journey ... I have never considered leaving this company in which I really found my place as a woman!