Sunday, November 1, 2015

20 years - from Lausanne to Tokyo

It was on a Wednesday, November 1st 1995 when I joined L'Oreal, I can't believe that already 20 years have passed. I still remember the excitement of the recruitment interviews that led to the decision to join the group. I still see myself sitting in front of the General Manager, who was smoking, staring at me, leaving the interview to his chief of staff and only asking two questions, one being: "What do you want to achieve in the group?", to which I answered "I want your job someday!".

Pont Béssière - under the bridge arch
you can actually see the office building!
I still see myself looking out of the train window on my way to the "romandie" with a suitcase for the first weeks of inhouse discovery. I recall the hotel on the opposite side of Pont Béssière, with the products that I was offered the first day (Armani Eau pour Homme) laid out in the bathroom. That day began a long journey that still continues today.

Tokyo Tower
I still remember sitting in a café in Paris on my first official business trip thinking about how lucky I was to have a job that sends me to one of the most beautiful cities of the world and being paid for it.

Now 20 years later I passed through 8 jobs in 6 different countries, half of these years accompanied by my husband whithout whom this all wouldn't have happened. I met so many amazing people along the way, many of whom I call my friends today. I worked an all the amazing brands within our portfolio and am still as passionate about them as on my first day.

Who knows what will happen the next 20 years... I already made it to the level of my former boss' job, so who knows!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A hymn to the world

Listening to this years' contestants for the Eurovision song contest in Vienna I was surprised by the contribution of Polina Gagarina. "One million voices" is a hymn to the world advocating for more mutual respect and openness. Here an extract of the lyrics:

We are the worlds people
Different yet we're the same
We believe
We believe in a dream

Praying for peace and healing
I hope we can start again
We believe
We believe in a dream

So if you ever feel love is fading
Together like the stars in the sky
We can sing
We can shine 

Not only the strong lyrics caught my attention but also the winning melody that makes this song to a strong contestant for victory. 

The only thing that confuses me is the fact that this is Russia's contribution. How different and yet the same can you claim to be in a country where homosexuals are taken away there rights, seen as lesser people, where critical pop groups are put into jail for speaking out their mind and regime critic journalists are murdered undermining free speech? How can a country pray for peace and healing only a few months after having invaded a sovereign country and annexed part of it?

I doubt that Polina has a political ambition with this song and I can only pray that it resonates within Russia so that millions of Russians unify their voices to stand up against the government to make their dream come true of a free, democratic and modern Russia. Only then can Russia dream to start again.

Here's the video entry for Russia

I wish Polina all the best for the competition, she deserves to win it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Going back into your "old" life

Over the past years I came back several times to Mexico after having lived for five years there. Five years is a long time and obviously every time I come back it's like going back home.

The reason why it feels home is because I so easily slip into old habits, find my old marks, see loved ones that are far away in distance and time and can experience everything I loved about Mexico.

What would a visit to Mexico be without upsetting my stomach with all the fine, spicy, fat but so delicious foods that you can find on every street corner. Tacos, quesadillas, gorditas, enchiladas, sopes and so on. Weeks before I get there I already crave all the things I will be able to eat and even if we "exported" some of it to Europe, it's always better here.

And there's the city of Mexico with it's typical traffic, the small grocery stores on every street corner, the vendors at the traffic lights, the local, grey and black markets, the shopping malls, the movie theaters, the public places where you head to buy "esquites" and hang around to talk. The city full of new bars and restaurants you can try out, the city that thrives 24/7 in it's own rhythm and to its own rules.

And above all there are my friends, here every time you visit, always eager to see you and it's there where you feel the real difference. It's like you've never left. You meet like you've always done and it's fun like always.

Because of all of this and the fact that my heart belongs to a Mexican I will be back, sometimes for visit and some day for good!