NAME: TORRES Sylvie
My Background and Career
I grew up in a small town close to Toulouse and went to university to learn computer technology.
I entered France Telecom and I voluntarily left this major French company, where I had a good wage level, disagreeing with the company's choice of development that had been taken when moving from public to private enterprise.
Engaged in trade union action, I decided to consider a business proposal that would have an economic, social and environmental aim.
Now I am living in a poor district of the City of Toulouse, where people are mainly unemployed or immigrant, even illegal migrants. So I decided to start a cooperative business operating in office and industrial cleaning, with organic products. We are now 15 partners and 12 employees. What characterises our company is that people who are employed and are associated are people without qualifications, mostly immigrants or foreign nationals.
My role as manager was to create the company, learn how to sell the benefits, managing the human relations and the life of the cooperative.
I also take care of all financial monitoring, the organisation of projects and also clean with other employees.
I don't earn a living at the moment and I have to rely on my savings to live.
The most difficult of all is the social discrimination: a SCOP run by women living in a poor social area are not taken seriously even by URSCOP. My studies helped me a lot.
In financial terms, the company I left supported me in creating my business. On the other hand, my union gave me a network and volunteers came to help in the development of the project. Cooperatives also welcomed me and gave us industrial cleaning projects, which has enabled us to ensure the commencement of the company’s work.
In the second year the company risked us About Vons deposit balance due to a development that failed. A lot of personal commitment and volunteer support was faced by us. I learned a lot from this experience, I became versatile and I found the balance between the role of leadership and human relations.
My personal development is important through my work. I'm a good listener and attentive to the problems of others and I like to create partnerships. I know how to manage time and money.
Hints & Tips
Lucky Saying: Let's enjoy and have a good time all together as cooperators
Think seriously before starting a project and stick to your goal, never give up.
It's easier if it is a collective project, so don't stay alone and ask for help and advice when you need it.
On the other hand, know how to implement and manage monitoring tools and fill any skills gaps through training or outsourcing. Learn to be a leader without destroying human relationships