From Business Manager
to Division Director

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MI-GSO | PCUBED celebrates International Women’s Day – every day – which means above all empowering gender equality and giving women a voice. One does not prevent the other! 

Elise François, Department Director at M|P Paris, shares with us her point of view on gender inclusion, quotas and the role men can play, both in our society and company to encourage respect and equality. She also gives us an overview of her work/mum life balance, over the past 11 years. Inspiring? We think so!

M|P: Hello Elise, can you please tell us what is your background at M|P?

EF: I joined MI-GSO | PCUBED in 2009, as Business Manager, after a successful 5-year experience in Germany as Business Manager. Starting in the automotive industry in Germany, as French and as a woman, I had to deal from the beginning with several challenges, and it shaped my way of working. I worked myself through the MI-GSO | PCUBED Business Manager career path until my recent promotion as Department Director this January.

M|P: What are you most proud of?

EF: I am grateful to work in a company that applies strictly the same salary policy for everyone, as I am sadly aware it is not a standard, and to lead a senior management team in Paris that had reached parity.

I am proud of my professional achievements – specifically my 11-year
commitment to MI-GSO | PCUBED. I first witnessed and now humbly contribute to the transformation of my company, which is taking a new look on itself, learning from the year we just overcame.

As a Director, I rely on a strong team, among them women that started as juniors, and who are today in managing positionsI am also proud to be a mother of two very active and quite well-balanced kids, who were born while I was getting promoted as senior manager.

M|P: How do you live your daily life as a woman in a position of responsibility?

EF: If you want me to say it is challenging, well it is! As a woman, you must prove yourself more and deal with social habits and ways of thinking that are set-in-stone.

For instance, if you are passionate, you end up being “emotional”, if you talk back and express your disagreement, you are being “sensitive”! As a woman, you need a great sense of humor, “glib repartee”, and self-confidence. 

You may have to face some team members, sometimes even kindly meant, offering to take over for you at a strategic point because they think you might not be able to deal with all the pressure.

I think the turning point is when a woman in a position of responsibility becomes a mother, when a family is at stake and when the crucial issue is to deal with the allocation of your time, energy, and priority. 

The main challenge for me was to recognize that I wanted to have it all, and therefore to deal with 3 days in one, each of the parties involved having equal rights. I also learnt to deal with all the doubts, judgments, and questioning. Obviously, it is easier when you have some support at home!

I am convinced that getting better in each job helped me in the other oneThe skills at stake are quite similar. Indiscriminately I am making choices hourly, decisions with few pieces of information, managing crisis big and small, trying to be fair, refocusing and encouraging, getting over big disappointments, celebrating a success, striving to stay whole.

When my opinion about quotas was asked, spontaneously I answered I was rather against because one should get appointed or promoted thanks to their capacity and not their gender or color. I might have been naïve about it. To enforce a law that has been passed in 2014 you need monitoring and controlling. But to reach a target of at least a third of women in a top management position, you need a larger number at the middle management position. The quotas help to get this base. It is pure conversion rate. Three women at senior positions can set an example, thirty will set up new standards.

It is also rewarding, but I would not say in an extraordinary way as a woman, but in an extraordinary way as a manager in general, male or female, to be driven by the obsession of hitting a target. So, when I succeed, I do not feel different than my male counterparts. We are perfectly equal.

As a conclusion to your question about living my daily life as a woman in a position of responsibility, it is a bit of a challenge, but nothing compared to what women achieved when fighting for their rights throughout these last decades, and I am absolutely confident that it will be easier in the years to come.

M|P: What advice could you give to women who wish to evolve and manage?

EF: Giving an advice would be presumptuous. I think there is no instruction manual. Hard working, motivation and confidence are certainly prerequisites. I would rather express a wish. Women need to run the race faster to catch up with these last decades. They might need some boost at some point. If you are in a position of giving a talented, competent woman any kind of support, please do so.

M|P: Do you have a message to send to the women and men of the company?

EF: I am convinced that sharing something to someone (no matter what it is, tangible or not) does not mean removing it from somewhere or somebody else. 

Having women in management positions does not take any power from men. Men and women are perfectly complementary and equal in sharing a mental workload and managing large teams and tough issues.

To men, I would say that they certainly will be at one point of their life the proud father, son, brother, partner, friend or colleague of a talented woman. Therefore, be part of their success! 
And I would say to women in my company, don’t be shy, shine!

M|P: Thank you Elise for your candor. Your words mean a lot to us!
We are happy to have a manager like you at M|P.

Blue background with Elise François smiling

Elise François

Division Director
@ MI-GSO | PCUBED France