In honor of International Women’s Day 2016, we asked our COO Séverine Thomazo about her career, her family, and how she finds the perfect balance between both. Here’s what she told us:
Hi Sev! Tell us about yourself, what made you decide to move to Berlin?
I was born in Brittany, France and I come from a big farmer’s family. Everyone had to help out around the house at a young age, so I know what it means to work hard. Later I moved to Paris to get my Masters in International Marketing, and during my last semester in South America, I met someone and followed him to Germany. I didn’t speak any German, but I immediately fell in love with Berlin, and I’ve been living here for 11 years already.
How did you get to where you are today?
Hard work and a little bit of luck along the way. When I moved to Germany, I started as a Junior Content Manager for Jamba. During those 6 years, I learned a lot about the industry, working my way up the career ladder until I was responsible for all offline campaigns within Europe. After Jamba I moved to Viacom, because I wanted more insights into how TV networks sell their media to clients. It was really interesting from a branding perspective, but I still missed the ability to measure the actual success of our campaigns. I wanted to know how many people have seen our poster or our TV spot, and that’s why I was so excited about the opportunity here at DCMN. They are very performance-oriented and that’s exactly what I wanted.
What does a typical day look like for a COO?
In the role I do, there is no such thing as a typical day! Being the COO at DCMN involves a lot of multitasking, so what I do one day can be very different from the next.In the role I do, there is no such thing as a typical day! Being the COO at DCMN involves a lot of multitasking, so what I do one day can be very different from the next. Basically, I am involved in the day-to-day operations, aligning today’s business performance with our future goals. One day I could be negotiating with TV networks, the next creating some new marketing tools and the next reviewing performance costs. Internally, I spend a lot of time coordinating our teams of experts, making sure that we deliver what is expected by our clients, and that our campaigns are an overall success.
Do you think it’s harder for women to obtain a high-level position within their company?
It will always be more difficult for us because we have to do more than men to prove ourselves. And when we do get that C-level position, it will take some time for men to see us as a leader, capable of making tough decisions. It doesn’t matter how good you are, as a woman you’ll always have to go above and beyond the standards to which men are held in order to demonstrate your competence. But that’s also why women in management positions are so strong and powerful! We had to work twice as hard to get there, so we have this amazing self-confidence because we know what we’re capable of. Which is a lot.
What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of?
Well, I’m actually really proud of the fact that I’m able to combine both my personal life and my career. Not only am I a COO at one of the fastest growing companies in Germany, I’m also a wife and a mother, and I’m expecting my second baby any day now. It’s not always easy, but it’s important for me to have a piece of everything. I couldn’t just be a mom, or just a wife. My husband and children do make me incredibly happy, but I always had big dreams when it comes to my career. And even though I already came a long way, I’m definitely not done yet. I’ll probably need 10 more years to achieve what I want!
Is it easy for you to find that work/life balance?
Well yes, because I have a great husband who supports my career. He chose to spend more time at home and take care of our children, which gives me the time and space to pursue my career. It’s because of him that I’m able to do what I do here at DCMN. They say that behind every great man there is a strong woman, but for us it’s definitely the other way around!
What advice would you offer to women who want a career similar to yours?
I want to encourage them to remove any constraints that might hold them back from thinking they can’t achieve their dreams. If you want something in life, whether it’s personal or business, set some clear objectives and then just go for it! Don’t let anything – or anyone – hold you down and be prepared to grab an opportunity when you see it. I truly believe that anything is possible, as long as you’re motivated and prepared to work hard to make it happen!
Thank you Séverine!