Interviewed by Juliana Cantin
Meet our WTP6 Talent Angélique Pichon, Group FP&A Manager for Europe Zone at Rexel. In this interview, we discuss the personal qualities needed to succeed professionally, challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and Angélique’s passion for nature and mountains.
Rexel provides B2B energy solutions so you must be extremely busy in the current eco-political context. Could you talk briefly more about the organisation and your own role within the company?
Rexel is a French group present in 24 countries, listed on the Paris stock exchange and dedicated to the distribution of electrical products & services. We operate as an intermediary supplying installers of electricity in the residential or commercial sectors. We are currently very busy with the global situation combining strong demand due to post-COVID recovery and the trend to electrify everything within the context of product shortages and inflation.
I am Group Financial Planning & Analysis Manager for the Europe Zone. Belonging to the corporate finance team is very exciting since it is multidimensional and requires working with a great diversity of stakeholders. Our day-to-day is made up of multiple contacts with subsidiaries to analyse and understand the performance of the various regions and to support them in reporting tasks, and then to challenge their results in comparison to targets.
Which are the personal qualities that you rely on most to succeed professionally?
I believe that strong positive energy and enthusiasm are key qualities to succeed professionally, combined with determination and resilience. I would even say that these qualities drive leadership, since people who feel good within their team will give their best and this is so important when operating in a fast-paced and demanding environment as we do. As a student, I lived in Canada and I learned to appreciate the positive attitude of the people there.
I believe that strong positive energy and enthusiasm
are key qualities to succeed professionally,
Video edited by Dovilė Bogušytė
combined with determination and resilience.
Would you say your skills in financial planning and auditing are transferable to other areas of business?
Absolutely! Both these functions require curiosity and the ability to build strong relationships with others. Obtaining the right information is the key to bringing added value to your analysis. Adaptability is also a must-have when working in a multicultural environment and I have experienced how other cultures sometimes ask and reply to questions in a very different manner. Finally, analysis and synthesis can be used in several areas as support for the rationalisation of complex matters.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspects of the pandemic and how have you coped with managing your team at a distance?
For me, the most challenging aspect of the pandemic was the stopping of face-to-face interactions. I am an expressive person who gains energy to move forward from exchanging with people so, at first, I found it terrible to be working from home 100% of the time.
I dealt with the situation and managed my team by keeping in very regular contact, just as I would have done while being at the office or during a coffee break. I used the camera when we talked on Teams to maintain eye-to-eye contact. I also tried to continue sharing with my team the guidelines and information on the challenges we were facing on a larger scale, including discussions with management or with other departments. I saw these as pillars to keep them on board and to maintain the link with me and the rest of the company.
You are one of the participants in the 6th edition of the Women Talent Pool (WTP) Leadership Programme. Could you tell us what it brought to you personally and professionally?
Participating in the WTP Leadership Programme has been a real opportunity for me to reinforce my self-confidence whilst reflecting on me, my career path, and what being a leader means.
The programme has been perfectly well-balanced between workshops to provide practical tools such as public speaking, balancing risk and opportunities, and building your personal brand which is a concept that I had not reflected on before. I do my best to keep these in mind to improve my communication style and the way I make decisions every day. If I were to retain just one single word, I would go for “Dare!” which came from one of our speakers. It will remain the ultimate call for action for me to believe in myself and to grow during the journey ahead.
The career development sessions in smaller groups allowed for deep and personal exchanges with both peers, young women aspiring to grow professionally, and senior female leaders. It was an exceptional time to take a step back and reflect on the situations we were facing. It was great to see that others had similar questions as me. I have kept in touch with some of my peers and hope that we continue to do so after the programme ends.
Participating in the WTP Leadership Programme
has been a real opportunity for me to reinforce my
self-confidence whilst reflecting on me, my career path,
and what being a leader means.
Which societal issues do you feel passionate about?
There are many topics that are close to my heart in the current debates. As someone who is passionate about nature and more specifically about mountains, I feel strongly about the global challenge of climate change and particularly the melting glaciers. I am very aware of this because I come from the region of the French Alps. Climbing the Mont Blanc last summer and regularly hiking has made me realise how fast glaciers are receding. I deeply believe that we need to think globally about the energy we use. For me, the meaning of history is not to revert to the old times but to use human intelligence to create, develop and operate sustainably. International travel and exchanges are key for humanity development so stopping them would mean going backwards. But we must collectively put all R&D efforts into finding the right technologies to save our planet whilst not disconnecting humans from each other.
We must collectively put all R&D efforts into finding
the right technologies to save our planet
whilst not disconnecting humans from each other.