Inspiration

Every day is International Women’s Day: Emma Grant

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Emma Grant 34 / Paris via Edinburgh, Scotland / Business Development – Digital Marketing


Emma-GrantFind me on LinkedIn :
Currently at Searchmetrics

Education : Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Business and Languages (1st)

Languages : English, French, Spanish

 

Claudia : We met almost 7 years ago when you were an English professor at a university in Alsace, France. What has brought you to Paris?

Emma : The road has been long but my love affair with France began when I was 19! Fresh out of high-school in Scotland I decided at first to pursue a career in Scottish Tourism. My French teacher pushed me to do an exchange for a few months in Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. Not having had many opportunities to travel outside of the UK until then, this was somewhat of a life-changing experience for me. It kindled a fire within to travel and discover new things and opened my mind to how important and enriching learning another language can be. I’m eternally grateful to my French teacher at the time, who really pushed to make it all possible for me.

I hadn’t initially considered University as a possibility; however, making this journey to France gave me the vision and motivation to apply for a Bachelor of Business and Languages at Edinburgh Napier University. I then returned to France under the Erasmus program for my 3rd year in Nice. The combination of independence and sense of personal achievement opened my mind for what was possible if I really wanted something!

My view on the world that I had grown up in had totally changed, so I took a contract in France at the Université Haute Alsace to teach English and perhaps help and encourage others in their own pursuit to learn new cultures and languages.

This led me to a marketing agency in Mulhouse, France where I started as project manager then senior project lead for digital marketing strategies. I was extremely not tech-savvy when I began, so I hit the ground running, but thankfully I believe in learning-by-doing! I then joined the Sales team at Searchmetrics in Paris, a German company that delivers enterprise Search Engine Optimisation and content marketing platform.

What are you responsible for at Searchmetrics?

I am the Sales Manager for France and manage not only the existing contracts we have with clients in France, Italy and Spain, but am directly responsible for our business development and pipeline for the French market. So far it has been an amazing experience; I have learned how to address and assist at each layer of an organisation, from technical leads to digital marketing managers to C-level suite, in order to assess their real needs and excite them for our product! I really look forward to new meetings with potential clients and finding out what their business challenge is and how I can help.

What’s next?

I think, like a lot of women, I ask myself a lot of questions. What do I love, what do I want, what do I need etc etc. I would love to take team responsibility in order to share what I have learned and to ‘teach’ again, I definitely have a lot of knowledge to pass on.

I have always loved languages, art and music, and more recently technology! Actually in Paris in my spare time I am the lead singer of a band and we play for private parties and corporate events, which I also plan to continue.

In France you feel Scottish and on the streets of Edinburgh you are addressed in French. How do you identify yourself?

Oh, easy. As one of my colleagues recently put it, I’m a “cultural hybrid.” It doesn’t happen overnight though! I might dress in the Parisian-uniform now of black black and more black, but assimilating and merging cultures is a process and a different one for everybody.

OK, so how do you problem solve? Is there a French vs a British approach?

I think there are definitely two different approaches. I can think of two examples: when the press published rumours of President Hollande’s alleged affair and the ongoing critique of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. In the UK, in my peer-group and the media I observed a moralised, black and white debate with very little grey-zone in between two sides of an argument. This duality does not exist as such in France, which takes a more complex inclusive approach to viewing and solving problems. This reinforces my comment about being a cultural hybrid – I couldn’t decide which I agreed with; I saw the differences in both, and yet related to them both!

Any advice for other young women navigating their own multi-cultural journey?

In the end, I don’t consciously choose one or the other, I have simply evolved. I was worried when I started with Searchmetrics in Business Development, and questioned my ability as a Scottish woman to sell a French product in French to the French market. Looking at it now pragmatically, I think you must accept what you are and what you are not, and build on your strengths. That awareness is a top navigating tip!

How has your experience been as a woman in a typically male-dominated sales environment? Do you think in France you have an advantage as a woman in business?

Definitely: in France I have not felt any real barriers in conducting business or an issue arising out of being a woman in this environment. However, I think the phenomenon of the glass ceiling exists here also, in that once you’re in it might be more difficult to climb. I don’t want to speculate – I really think if you just go out there and do your thing and try not to focus on it, you can achieve whatever you want. We need to propagate this mindset, ladies!

How do your friends and family from back home feel about you living in France for the past 10 years?

They’re very proud of me. We talk often and I go home twice a year at least. My little sister is studying at Glasgow University of Art and often asks me for advice or to share stories. We have a lot of mutual admiration for each other. And of course, she got to celebrate her 21st birthday in Paris!

 

About Claudia Schulz

Claudia Schulz is an Engineer who left Australia’s shores in 2008 to pursue post-graduate studies in International Management in Germany. Currently, Claudia is in Paris working in Key Account Management for a global engineering solutions provider.She is passionate about raising awareness of gender-roles in the international workplace, connecting people, language, literature, and croissants.Has been described as sassy on more than one occasion (thank you, high-school debating).Life goals (in no particular order): attend a TED Conference, travel through Turkey, obtain a PhD, buy an oven (not an easy feat for a Parisian-sized apartment).

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