NAME: GUTTIEREZ Hélène
ACTION/SECTOR: INDUSTRY - Building Construction and Public Works sector
ORGANISATION: Scop CANCELA
My Background and Career
I have a university degree in computer science and am originally from a small town in a department which is mainly agricultural. After my degree I had the opportunity to join a business, in 1985, a cooperative of about fifty employees, operating in Building Construction and Public Works, a mostly male profession as secretary to the accountant.
I accepted this position to stay on in my city, which was very important to me. I had to attend courses to become head of business and administration and improve my skills. In 1990, the accounting manager retired and I replaced him. When our director retired in 2009, I was elected to replace him, as Executive Director. The company has 40 employees.
The decision to run for the leadership was a challenge for me. As the only female candidate "against" other competent persons, I realised that few wanted to assume full liability related to such a position.
I had to study and work hard to get my exams while I was working. Luckily my family was very supportive. Flexibility of time has not always been easy. I was helped by my chiefs who supported me and let me attend courses to improve my skills.
It is now three years since I became the Director General and it was obvious at the outset the need to be recognized, especially in mission control work. I took a lead from my previous director general who had a lot of charisma, but applied my own personality and introduced new management methods. My colleagues hold the senior technical and commercial skills, whilst I have the management and direction.
I created an informal committee of management and now I have my entire place sorted. I control, I energise teams and we work positively together even in times of crisis. One of the challenges is to move from the employee culture to that of a partner. It is only from training and communication that one can evolve
I have not experienced discrimination as a woman and my character allows me to get through things,
To have a common goal is important to me I am persevering rather confident.
I like challenges and negotiation, so the everyone is a winner.
I know how to use the experiences and advice of others
Hints & Tips
Lucky Saying: where there's a will, there's a way / Just do it
Being a woman is an advantage not a weakness. Be selfconfident. Believe in your power : yes, you can manage a team packed with men. Never forget your family. Use the network. Women assume huge responsabilities in their family life, they are trained to be good professionnal managers. Take risks, innovate, invest in training or equipment, do not give up, just a state of mind that consolidates a forward-looking vision of the company.