Corinne Bigot shares her career experiences from being an entrepreneur in e-Commerce to become a PA and what she benefited of being a member of IMA.
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!