A simple haircut with impeccable styling, a minimum of decorative cosmetics, stylish jewelry - the president of Payot Marie-Laure Simonin Brown is a true Frenchwoman, feminine, elegant and self-confident. She is 56 years old, she does not hide her age and more than once mentioned him in our conversation. Marie-Laure Simonine Brown has worked for LVMH, Johnson & Johnson, was President of Jacques Dessange for fifteen years - in a word, she has made a career that can only be dreamed of. However, after communicating with her, you understand: dreams are achievable.
Marie Claire: What inspires you in life and in your profession?
Marie-Laure Simonin Brown:I am inspired by creativity in all its manifestations, the ability to go beyond the established framework. Now, in the 21st century, life is changing rapidly. Twenty-seven years ago, at the dawn of my career in the beauty industry, everything was completely different, from product development to product sales. Thus, the marketing department today becomes the innovation department and the CEO becomes the wellness manager. Everything comes from basic values, which, in turn, determine the principles of work. In life, I was once inspired by my mother, who was a very beautiful woman - in every sense, not only outwardly. In general, different people inspire in different ways. There is such a modern French thinker and writer Jean-François Noubel, I call him "humanaut" - he opens new ways of man and humanity, just as the first cosmonauts discovered space. Or here is Paul Claudel's drama "The Satin Slipper" - it seems to me that everything is there: love, spirituality, a changing world. And of course, I learn a lot from my 11-year-old son, he is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for me. He communicates with the world in a completely different way, perceives some things.
MC: What is your approach to people management, professional communication?
Marie-Laure Simonine Brown: Throughout my career, I have worked for large corporations such as LVMH, Johnson & Johnson - they are organized as hierarchical pyramids with many departments and divisions, which is a bit like an army. Understandably, this model limits creativity. What I love about Payot is the flexibility. It is a small company and at the same time one of the most significant players on the market. I like that throughout the entire technological chain, from product development to its implementation, this is a very close collaboration of the entire team, and I can rightfully call it creative. This is the first thing. And secondly, the priority of human potential. For the company and for me personally, the people who work here are very important, thanks to whom everything develops. People come first.
MC: In Russia, there are still far fewer women in leadership positions than men. What is the situation in France?
M.-L. SB: In France, this inequality is less pronounced, but, unfortunately, it somehow persists throughout the world. Perhaps the best is in the Scandinavian countries. Nevertheless, France has passed and is about to enter into force a law according to which the boards of directors of large corporations must include at least 40 percent of women. And yet, in this respect, we are significantly inferior to the same Sweden, for example.
MC: How did your career develop in this regard? Have you ever had to "fight your way" in the male world?
M.-L. S. B.: In this sense, I was lucky: by education I am a pharmacist with a specialization in skin biology, thanks to which from the very beginning of my career I found a niche where I did not have to compete with graduates of business schools. Although today many come to business from the scientific field, when I started, this was completely atypical. Moreover, the beauty industry is by definition more feminine, so I safely avoided direct competition with men.
MC: How do you distribute energy and time between work and family?
M.-L. S. B. : And I combine them. I mean, I mix it up - because my family gives me inspiration to work. It's actually not that hard. I just try to spend every free minute with my family. It is very important for me that we have as many common memories as possible - about joint dinners, walks, trips, going to the cinema, to a museum or to a concert. In the end, they are the ones who stay and make the family a family - not so much even the amount of time spent together as the quality of the moment.
MC: I know that you are passionate about music, play the piano, sing well …
Marie-Laure Simonin Brown: Oh yes! We do family concerts from time to time - my son also plays the piano. Just recently we bought a new instrument, which was preceded by a serious family advice: to buy an acoustic or digital, in the end we settled on a hybrid, although this is a rather expensive thing. In general, I need music, I listen to it constantly, it always sounds in the background, whether I work or relax.
MC: What does she give you?
M.-L. S. B.: Energy, inspiration, tunes me to the rhythm of the day. I do not even know. Each time I perceive it differently, depending on my inner state. Sometimes I fixate on the sound of instruments, some details, and sometimes I just go with the flow, I think about something of my own.
MC: How do you keep fit? Do you play sports?
M.-L. S. B.: I used to train a lot. In my youth, I was professionally involved in handball and rowing, but at some point my mother looked at my overly pumped arms and said: "Maybe you should try some other sport?" I switched to golf 35 years ago, and I still play golf with the same passion. At first glance, it does not require much physical effort, but try to walk 7 kilometers in a couple of hours, constantly swinging your club - the load is quite noticeable. In recent years, I fell in love with aquabike, although now, due to the large number of business trips, there is not enough time for it or any other sport. I hope I can resume training soon, but for now I am replacing them with daily one-hour walks, which I really love.
MC: Tell us about your favorite Payot products
M.-L. S. B.: My favorite products are Elixir Idéal radiance serum and Huile Satinée Nutricia oil, as well as Techni Peel Nuit restoring night cream - in my opinion, this is one of our best developments: apply the product in the evening, and in the morning the difference, as they say, there is. On the road, I always take Perform Lift patches for the skin around the eyes with me - they are simply irreplaceable after long flights: they relieve signs of fatigue and dehydration in ten minutes. In my regime, this is more than relevant and necessary.
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