Entrepreneurs Forever 2014 | Version française

Ségolène Moyrand-Gros

Head of communication for the Gattossé group

She carved her path in the governance of the family-run SME.

Ségolène Moyrand-Gros used to get up early every Saturday morning to accompany her grandfather to the factory created by her family in 1880. « It was magic running up and down the deserted aisles, taking in the smells of distillation. My grandfather was a wonderful man, grandson of the founder, very curious about things, appreciated and respected. He plays a big role in my affective relationship with the company. »

She was attracted by working abroad, and got herself a general education in a business school, with a couple of internships in big companies. « I was disappointed; in those big structures, I couldn't see the finality of what I was doing. »

An assignment for a subsidiary of Gattefossé gave her a liking for industrial marketing: she made it her specialisation by taking a Masters. She finished her studies by an internship at the head office, where she took part in the creation of a professional magazine. That was to be her karma!

Transmission in a family company is of course about succession. This needs to be prepared, choosing the right person in accordance with the present situation,with no determinism.
The transition from my grandfather to my father was handled by the General Managers.
But success and independence still depend on the family being represented in the company's Governance, and on the transmission of fundamental values to the new generations: know-how, culture, philosophy...

In 2005, Gattefossé was over a hundred years old, and with more than 240 staff all over the world, with eleven distribution subsidiaries, and recognised international know-how in the design and production of specialised ingredients for health and beauty: active substances obtained from plants, functional texturing agents, lipid based excipients... « Like in the episode of Proust and his Madeleine, I had found my memory jogger: entrepreneurial values of innovation and respect that I had grown up with, botanical gardens and perfumes! »
She began her initiation in international marketing. « Without a science degree, and with my label as “boss's daughter”, the first few years were really difficult. My father, who was the Chairman of the company, didn't give me any training. I had to understand everything by myself. I gained legitimacy through my attachment to the company, its products, its customers, its teams. And through my behaviour which was characterised, I hope, by a smile, my willingness to listen, be involved, trust... »

The next energy point came in October 2008: she was asked to give a presentation, alone, for distributors at a meeting in Istanbul. « I hadn't been in the company very long, my father had to stay in France because my grandfather was in hospital, it was the first time that I had to step into the breach like that. » She came back to Lyon in 2009 to create the position of Head of Communication. With ‘’Communication in support of strategy” as her mantra, she set up a new web-site, stage-managed the 130th anniversary of the company, and inaugurated a new building... But she was also cogitating about her future. « I began to wonder about my career, with or without Gattefossé, I felt that I needed some more skills. And my father encouraged me to broaden my scope. »

She decided to do an MBA at EMLYON, following in the footsteps of her father, Jacques Moyrand, AMP/CPA 1987. « It was a decisive step in my personal and professional life, just at the right time in my career path. This great adventure helped me gain ten years' maturity, gave me confidence, and helped me meet wonderful people. It was exciting to work with my class-mates on Gattefossé as a case study, and to think about my own deep motivation. »

When she got back there was a new revelation: Ségolène Moyrand-Gros was appointed Administrator on the Board of Gattefossé. She was the first woman out of eight members, and took advantage of this new position to penetrate the mysteries of Governance, and to seek her own truth.

Today, between two asanas, this yoga enthusiast may perhaps be meditating with her baby upon the long history of Gattefossé.

« I am really lucky to be able to experience my professional life with such coherence and harmony. It's important for me, at the time when I am founding my own family, to continue to pursue this quest for work/life balance. »

EM Lyon: MBA 2013
Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC
Date de parution : 12/09/14