Interview with Else-Britt Lundgren, Executive Chairman

About the Annual Conference 2018 and digitization by Diana Brandl, IMA Germany.

Else-Britt, it seems that the conference in Frankfurt is still far away but IMA has been working very hard on this project already. How important is the conference for IMA globally?

The international events are very important for IMA as a global network, offering our members a program as the current one in Frankfurt, and also offering the opportunity to meet and network across countries. It is a great experience to attend our events with around 250 participants from more than 20 countries! This year’s theme "The Digital Age" is very timely. Members have been asking to address this item more thoroughly. Everyone will be affected more or less by the digitalisation and so will our profession. This is why it is so important to have a conference on this specific topic. I am very happy to see that we have a great program with high quality speakers from the industry.

Tell us about the wonderful occasion that not only IMA will be in Frankfurt in October, but also WASummit. How vital is the link between these two events?

We know that the working environment is changing fast and our profession with it. It is a great pleasure for IMA to be the host of the WASummit 2018 in Europe because the summit will discuss many questions for our profession, with representatives from all over the world, probably giving us good insights. I am very excited on the outcome from the different items of discussions and what will be seen as trending.

What means digitization to you personally? How digital is Else-Britt? What is your favourite tool or app?

I am very interested in the digitisation. I read a lot about it and love to discuss how it will impact firstly our work life now and in the future, and of course how it will impact our private life too. I am very open to the new – digitised - way of working. I am sure it will help us to be more efficient so that we can focus on for example project management instead of the daily routine jobs and to collaborate with colleagues to get the best outcome together. This goes also in my work to facilitate for my executive and management team. I am active on different social media channels to keep me up to date and to connect with people. You cannot figure it out all by yourself. My favourite app right now is LinkedIn as it gives you many ways of using the app for business connections, articles, learnings and job offers. I must also mention Google Translate which makes my life at work much easier than it was in past with the heavy paper Dictionary on my desk.

IMA Testimonial by Corinne Bigot

A proud IMA member

My name is Corinne BIGOT and I am a member of IMA since 2011. I studied Languages and Business at the University of Aix-en-Provence.

In my first job I sold a range of products from the Provence through a web catalogue. This was an idea of mine and at that time (it was 1996) E-Commerce was still in its pioneering years. This experiment of running my own business has proven to be very helpful for my further career, as it was an “all-round” learning curve; Deciding the legal entity format, undertaking the bank negotiations, figuring out logistics, finding the right providers, searching for potential customers, time management (this is a very important one), dealing with IT programs (for putting together the catalogue, the on-line ordering process, payment on line….). This was a hell of a job but very exciting…

After this adventure I found a job as Assistant/Office Manager for a French company opening a subsidiary office in Germany. It was again setting up a new office from scratch and I loved it as I cannot stand sitting around and do nothing, and I love to be kept busy! Unfortunately this company closed its subsidiary 2 years later, and I came back to France and began to work at the new European Headquarter of an international hotel chain. This time I had to work with the Directors of all the departments. (Operations, Admin and Development, Sales & Marketing, Finance) It was a huge challenge to manage, but I succeeded and 2 years later we hired a second assistant, so I could dedicate my time entirely to Admin & Development and Finance.

3 years later I decided to move on and come to Brussels for the opening of a brand new hotel of the chain. During the construction works of the hotel, we worked in the basement as long as the works were not finished. We even held customer site visits with helmets on, that was fun! Here again everything had to be organized; The refurbishing of the hotel, the implementation of the procedures, the recruitment of the teams etc… I really enjoyed working in that entrepreneurial atmosphere, with so many different people and so many different departments.

At the same time, I joined IMA Belgium (then still EUMA Belgium). I had the privilege to be part of the Belgian group for 2 mandates of 2 years as the Belgian PRO. I must say that this has been a huge opportunity, I met wonderful professionals who became personal friends for life. We worked as a team to develop the Belgian group and to offer as many opportunities as possible to other administrative support professionals to join us and become part of this adventure. In 2013 I decided to take up a new professional challenge, but this time, as a PA, which first was a bit scary for me, I must say. There were a lot personal matters which had to be taken care of and this required a relationship of trust and confidentiality between my boss and I.

5 years later I decided to move back home to the south of France for personal reasons. It has been hard to find a suitable position and it took me lots of time, energy and effort to receive real interesting job proposals, but in the end I even got to choose between 2 jobs! I chose the one that was at the exact location where I wanted to come back to after 20 years of expatriation. The new position I will start in is as PA for a well-known business man in Marseille.

I am now busy organizing my return to the sunny south of France.

If I look back at what I did, I must say that I am proud of the journey I took and the destination I reached!

Corinne BIGOT