[ENTREPRENEUR] Marie-Liesse Malbrancke (Grande École 2011): Sésame, The courage of women
● Why did you choose IÉSEG?
In my last year of school, I had an infinite number of options open to me. I had so many ideas ranging from architect to stylist, but none that really grabbed me. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to work in a creative field. After talking things over with family and friends, I chose IÉSEG and its broad curriculum that would open the maximum number of doors.
Going to IÉSEG was a real opportunity to satisfy my thirst for freedom. I moved away from the family home in Brittany to discover life and learn to fend for myself and I really made the most of this special and unique time of my life.
● What memories do you have?
When I got to IÉSEG, I was struck by lots of things such as its diversity and the number of group projects. I also remember taking part in the BDS campaign, which encouraged me to be creative, to forge links and to really give my all.
For my term abroad, I chose a destination that invited lots of questions: Moscow. It was a fantastic experience, both in terms of all the people I met and its history but also in terms of the travelling I did, the conversations I had and the many, many differences I discovered that make Russia what it is!
Finishing my thesis was also one of the highlights of my career. It was a long and sometimes painful experience, but I have some wonderful memories.
● Once you got your degree, what were the next major steps in your career?
I started out working in the communications industry, to get a feel for the creative side of things that I was so drawn to. I absolutely loved the experience, it was such an exciting job! It is very challenging and requires you to be very reactive and have innovative ideas, while at the same time mastering lots of different subjects. I started as a communications officer at Bouygues Construction, then I was promoted to Head of Communications for major building projects in Paris.
After more than four years in Paris, I was given responsibility for communications in the building sector in southeastern France. I was transferred to Lyon, a city that allowed me to continue my Tour de France! For almost three years, I worked flat out hand in hand with the management team. Although this experience was exciting, it was also extremely demanding and time-consuming and looking back I was not happy. Professionally, I was exhausted and I ended up being signed off worked with burnout. However, I was lucky to be very well supported by the HRD and the CEO of my company. It led to me asking myself a whole series of questions about where my career was going next.
After seven years at Bouygues, I was ready to move on to a new stage in my career. I chose to do a skills assessment to look in depth at where my strengths really lay while not forgetting that new skills can always be acquired! This deep reflection and stepping back to take an overview is what helped me to create my own job: a job where I am flourishing and where I feel I am really in the right place. After my experience and with this hindsight, I now support women in fulfilling their own potential and finding their own happiness.
● Can you tell us a bit more about your new business?
The skills assessment, my own experience, my background and the burnout I suffered led to me training in psychology and becoming a coach in emotional intelligence and love. Today I support women, mainly those who are single or just starting out in a relationship, to find emotional happiness, through individual coaching, group "trips" lasting several days, online workshops, a blog and a podcast. Using these tools and with teaching techniques I help many women find happiness. In this new career that I am developing every day, I know where I am going and it is exciting! I feel I am in the right place, I get up every morning feeling happy that I’m doing this job and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. And it’s wonderful to be able to face new challenges every day, such as carving out a niche for myself to go into companies or Grandes Ecoles to talk about these emotional subjects!
● On your blog and in the courses you offer, you put love at the centre of what you are proposing. What led you to this approach?
For me, loving is really the whole point of life. Often, when one hears older people remembering their lives, they teach us that it is the memories of love that are the most important. The reason I am a coach and therapist in emotional intelligence and love today is because I am convinced emotional relationships are the bedrock of our lives and we need to take care of them. We must make them our priority if we are to be happy. I often say that our happiness is in our own hands and there for the taking, and yet many people are not aware of this. And that's why I support women in developing a fulfilling emotional life. By helping them for example to learn to love everyone they meet, personally or professionally speaking, daring to talk about their fears and needs, but also to end the suffering they may be feeling.
● What advice do you have for future graduates?
Surround yourself with other people! Talk about what you do, ask others what they do, seek advice from recognised professionals and have the courage to follow your dreams. Sometimes we feel our dreams are unattainable, but that's because we start by aiming for the top. A dream takes time to come true. We need to start by putting one foot in front of the other and congratulate ourselves for each step we take.
Also get to know yourself and have respect for who you are: it is important to overcome your fears and this is what makes us feel alive! But don't try to be someone else. Everyone is unique, so find your uniqueness. It may take time, it requires you to stretch yourself, to get out of your comfort zone almost every day, but one day you will understand who you are and you will know where you belong. Finally, never think that you have no choice. Learn to stick at it, to grow, to understand, and if you feel you are in a rut, learning nothing new and feel like you're stalling, then dare to take the next step in your life.
Finally, surround yourself with people in your personal life: friends, families, etc. this is precious, and this is what is most important!