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Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hello. I am Ludivine Labussière-Delormel, French lady living in Dubai, married to an incredible French man and mother of an amazingly lively baby girl. I could describe myself as a working-mum, always trying to do the best that she can, constantly wondering whether what she is doing is enough. Cliché but true! I currently work within the Strategy Office of the Chalhoub Group – the leading partner for luxury brands and luxury concepts across the Middle East. I lead a team of 3 extremely motivated women, which makes every day quite exciting: we have a lot of interesting projects to work on in 2020, so the new year is already announced to be promising! As a strategist, my key role is mainly to support our top management in its decision-making and to steer the Group in the right direction to stay relevant and sustainable in the long-run amidst an environment endlessly on the move. That’s in a nutshell.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I joined the Ellevate Network way too recently to be able to share a specific memory or success story. But, the best is yet to come! After my maternity leave, returning to work was not as easy as what I hoped it would be. I had to overcome some challenges and while doing so I was listening to a lot of podcasts on my way to work to find motivation, inspiration, and answers to the zillion questions I was asking myself. One of the podcasts was ‘When women win’ by Rana Nawas where she interviews boss women about their careers, obstacles, and how they've overcome them to be successful in their lives. There was a mention about Ellevate Dubai which caught my attention and led me to learn more about it and I signed up eventually. According to some recent research, it has been found that women navigating within a network of other professional women are more successful. We need more women to encourage other women. I strongly believe in the power of women-hood.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Curiosity, critical thinking, ability to communicate, hard work, resilience and determination. I also believe that as a manager being a team player, having empathy and having the ability to listen are a must.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Receiving an email from our CEO while on maternity leave asking me whether I would accept being part of the Group Strategy Committee – a committee which includes our CEO, some of our Group Executive Committee members and Group opinion leaders alongside a few external senior members. I remember reading the email at least 10 times, asking my husband to read it too to check if I had understood it well. I felt and still am very honoured to be part of it.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

I would say that I am currently at a crossroads where there is an opportunity to seize. The opportunity depends on many factors but also on me finding the courage to clearly voice over my expectations in terms of career development. But again I fall into the usual trap: ‘ Am I good enough? / Will I be asking too much? / How will I manage new responsibilities when I want to be present for my family?’ and blablabla. So getting advice from other women on how they have managed to step up would be so insightful and helpful.

What is your morning ritual?

Stretching before getting out of bed! Then a huge glass of water. I then usually get ready quickly to join a barre or cycling class at Define studio – one of the best in town! – or go for a run or do a bit of yoga at home. I am back home on time for my baby when she wakes up. Every morning we have our own little ritual. I try to be present as much as I can. After that it’s breakfast time and rushing around to get ready to go to work.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Building relationships: I realised that I am a connector. I am rather good at creating bonds and connections with/between people; listening to them, humbly advising them and then putting them in touch with the right and relevant counterparts (whether it is personal and professional).

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

It is of course. I would be lying if I were to say the opposite! Aren’t we all on a never-ending quest for balance? As a working-mums, there are days, weeks even when I feel I have it; others when I feel I don’t. So my tactic – but this is more for me to reassure myself as striking a perfect work-life balance is quite utopian - is to be über-organised: I have always been a very organised person so this feels quite natural to me. I think it can only help. Yet, I must acknowledge that having a baby had quite a surprising effect on me: it made me learn how to let go, which is sometimes still a work in progress for me. So I would add that flexibility and spontaneity are also key.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Never stop believing in yourself, don’t give up. The journey is not linear; actually it looks more like an ultra-trail with its fair share of ups and downs. Plus think about it, you get to learn a lot along the way.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Working mums go through thousands of emotions every day. And I am no exception! We can be SO harsh on ourselves, always wanting to do more, always striving for perfection. It is so important that we give ourselves a break. We are enough and we are amazing. What we do is superb, let’s not forget it. So my piece of advice is the following: Be kind to yourself!

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