Career at GSG
June 2023
by GSG

Perrine Davoust, talks about how she is using her years of business experience to make our Paris hub an even greater place to work and enjoy life.

Perrine Davoust, Paris workplace experience manager, is regularly in touch with over 200 people, ensuring they enjoy their professional life, especially at the office.

She’s started with iGraal in 2010 leading their content strategy. After it became part of GSG she tourist refocused her attention on a more global and brand level as a B2B communication manager. All this whilst, raising two boys with her beloved husband, Julien.

GSG has 14 hubs around the world and counting. What would you say it is that makes the Paris hub so special? 

Our hub in Paris is very well situated; you access it easily with public transportation wherever you come from. This is valuable because you can gather people from GSG in one place very easily. On top of that, the Paris hub is in a very dynamic, cool and safe district. When you want to take a break, go out! In less than 5 minutes walk, you can be shopping in the amazing Galeries Lafayette and see Paris skyline from its rooftop.  Have a drink in a flowered terrasse, have a tasty lunch in a brasserie, buy a fresh baguette/croissant, admire the Sacré Coeur or l’Opéra Garnier. All this, even if it’s a bit cliché is motivating for us to come at the office. How cannot we be proud to work there, when Paris has been selected again, as the first toursitic destination in the world in 2022?

The usual hollywood stereotypes aside, Paris and our Paris-hub in particular are both places of great diversity. No matter your origin, religion, opinion, fashion style, tastes, social background, family choices… if you want to bring value to the community, you’re welcome! In the Paris hub, we all gather around our favourite GSG value: #customerobsessed. That’s what matters! Be yourself, express yourself and be part of this great professional adventure.

As you already highlighted the new office is in the heart of the city. But can you tell us a bit more about some of the things inside its rooms that makes it so loved?

It really embraces the GSG brand. It has many details that contribute to building a strong connection with the greater group. But the main asset is actually and this may sound funny the reduced size of this office: twice smaller than the previous one: 60 desks only, for 200 people. Consequently, we are closer and meet each other more.

The new size works because of our flex-office organization, and we can change desk every day; actually every second because the kitchen is open, giving us more opportunities to take a coffee with someone (in France we often say that the best decisions are taken next to the coffee machine). 

At the beginning, just as the pandemic was ending, it was so quiet. No one spoke… But little by little, people dared to speak out and have discussions in the open space that others can join. Today, it’s common to hear jokes or laughter during the day. It puts everyone in a good mood. The space organization of this office helped us to rediscover that start-up spirit that has been lost by so many companies since covid.

We are inspired by the best side of the most powerful companies in the world such as Google, with a strong belief that the time colleagues spend together is key to our success. That’s why all our rooms are designed with integration and interaction in mind. We have a hybrid room, meeting rooms, a creative library with inspiring books and stories that empower ideation. Biographies from pioneers like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, all there to increase that CEO mindset. We also have a chill-out room with video and board games, plus of course that all time favourite table soccer. People can gather, connect around their interests and hopefully set-off lots of different sparks that ignite our next big and small ideas to empower the consumer.

It seems the Paris team are very good at organising parties, and you are always part of the team that makes things happen. What drives your passion for these events?

My first lever of motivation to get things done on event management is making people happy. As in business at GSG, it’s all about creating a virtuous cycle. When people feel happy, I am. When I’m happy, they feel happy. So if they need parties to be happy (which will make me happy), we have a deal!

As you can see from my introduction, event management is not my expertise. I’m from the business side. So each new party is a new learning #MoveLearnChange. So I guess I’m saying what really drives my passion and helps me to succeed on the broader level that includes improving the whole workplace experience is ‘collaboration’. I’m not alone I’m part of something greater, as I mentioned there are 200 people in our hub.  So wherever possible I involve them in my decision processes, which strengthens the engagement. Everyone wins. Still, I like to keep things a little suspenseful and surprising… For sure, honesty is also a great principle. If you’re not believing in what you do, no one will. 

But I’m not the only one to be involved on ‘getting things done’ topic. As an employee, if you’re not led by a manager with a strong experience, a vision, impulsion, trust but also (and that matters a lot) budget, you cannot move and have impactful achievements. That’s why I’d like to warmly thank Naara Comabella who excels at this position. I also send Kudos to Denis Houdet, who is also really supportive and my teammates all over the world with whom we share a great principle: “Competition is outside, so let’s push ourselves up!”.

Fun fact: don’t forget that I’m a mother of two. I’m expert in organizing thematic & fun birthdays parties 😉 Sometimes I think that being parent helps you develops so many skills that they should then appear on your LinkedIn Profile!

Finally, getting back to business (so to say), you’ve always been doing at lot to highlight our commercial projects and successes in the market as B2B communication manager, how does this empower you in your new role as Workplace Experience Manager for Paris?

Knowing the business is key to have legitimacy. I’m not only an event or an happiness manager. I bring ideas for the branding, the communication strategy, make bridges between relevant people especially because I have a 360° view of it. Knowing the business from the field also helps to strengthen our  ‘employer branding’ at events. For example, last March we had a lot of fun celebrating women across our hubs, this was powered by a quiz. The key fact and amazing piece of data that people remember most, was that GSG global team was actually composed of 54% women. How strong it is that! This is a statistic that we can be truly proud of. But because it’s been highlighted in a party, in a very fun and engaging way, people remember it even better. So to end your question, you could say I know how to link business and pleasure together in a way that benefits everyone at GSG.

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