NAME: BATUT COTTES Marie-Luce
BACKGROUND: Degrees : Early childhood educator and professional special needs
ACTION/SECTOR: Voluntary sector.
Leisure and holidays for mentally disabled people.
A new place : Catering and Hotel Services for disabled.
POSITION: Project Manager Association “Loisirs Tous”
ORGANIZATION: Marie-Luce : Loisirs Pour Tous
My Background and Career
As student, I used to work for summer camps in “Loisirs Tous” : first as facilitator, then in charge of the whole settlement of holidays for people with mental disabilities. After many placements as a special needs educator in various institutions, I decided to quit and applied at “Loisirs Tous” where I first worked as project coordinator then as sector manager and I am now Assistant Director. In 2005, I initiated and developed the “Espace Vestrepain” project : a place for all, with a priority for disabled people, offering hotel and catering services and activities in the Art, Leisure and Culture fields. This new structure is now opened since 2009, I am in charge of its organization and its development. This new task is a logical continuation of a career path which I chose in consistency with my ethical standards. Combining ethical involvement with my professional activities is a major asset which gives meaning to my actions.
Deal with the paradoxes of association management - long-term vision of the structure vs short term actions with very little human and material resources - and provide a balanced management to ensure our autonomy and secure our jobs
Family and on a personal level : Three points seem important to note :
1/ As many others, I have to manage my time and find a balance between family, social and professional life.
2/ As my husband is my direct superior, I pay attention to preserve an independent position as well as a decision-making autonomy.
3/ Working in such a social association made me accept getting lower wages compared to what I could have earned elsewhere with the same responsibilities.
Social : Leisure and Holidays for disabled is quite unknown and is still not really considered as a profession (but as a voluntary sector) this means we get little recognition for our job and have to work 10 times harder to prove our legitimacy !
Three deciding factors of success : the family’s support, my training, which was necessary especially to help gaining legitimacy and my personality with autonomy, versatility and multi-disciplinarity.
Skills I find important : I use the required techniques to do a good job ; I like partnership building. Personal development through my job as well as the personal development of people working with me are important. I schedule activities and organise myself easily. I like to have objectives and to reach my goals.
3 types of Qualities are useful:
Active, Talkative, Fast, Democratic, Independent and cooperative,
Creative, Open Minded, Far sighted, Optimistic
Modest, Persistent, Patient, Methodical, Organised
Hints & Tips
Lucky Saying: Jules Ferry. What he said about involvement in a cause (here, education) totally applies, for me, to the voluntary sector.
Always keep in mind that, being a woman, people focus on our public persona more than on our skills. So it's vital for a female manager to struggle for professional recognition first. To reach one’s goal - together with the necessary deployment of professional skills - the militant dimension (one’s own personal convictions) stays a relevant (crucial) factor in the professional involvement. Three major skills - professionalism, efficiency and "knowing-how-to-be" (life skills, attitudes) - will help your project to get a broad acknowledgment ! Don’t hesitate to get support and advice from people holding similar values. You need competent and qualified persons and most of all, you need people able to support and reassure you so to give you the will to go on. Liberty and independence linked with entrepreneurship, requires courage, tenacity and thorough management to help to gain economical balance as well as life balance !