To be a benevolent rebel, my story!

Sylvaine messica, dessin de PEK

It's my birthday ! Having this age and in addition to having worked very young makes me a woman rich in experiences and expertise that I pass on to my clients and learners, coached or trained! You ask me to tell my story more ... It's a long way, I'm coming ...

Story telling is not an easy exercise and besides I train speakers to do it… I also do it in conference and there now just to pass on some lessons to you. And for the music, I continue, I will soon record an album that will also be nourished and authentic, another way of telling.

So why justify myself like many of us do? Because a woman must always prove according to the codes of the society which moves but not that much!

If I had had this same character of a fighter, with values, which never lets itself be done and which remains benevolent, if I had been a man with this character, I would have been respected and perhaps adulated!

I lived in a proletarian suburb, let's say it, suburban areas 35 km from Paris, with a small lot and houses all the same. My father used to tell me, you will find a husband who will take you a store and a boyfriend of youth had already planned everything for me like his devoted little wife, but it was bad knowing me! The second year of my third grade, I organize a benevolent and above all very fun revolt in the class and I lead this collective so that a day is never boring! I was already doing my job today; create team building seminars 🙂! Suddenly, my sanction was severe since the guidance counselor was delighted to send me to BEP-CAP Sténo-Dactylo, to which my mother said “very well”, she had been an executive assistant and for her I would be "A good girl" ... It was bad to know me!

Arrived in Trappes, vocational high school, tense suburb, this shorthand typist class taught me a lot and for 2 years, I was the Speedy Gonzales of the keyboard, which remained to me, I lost the hieroglyphics, finally shorthand (I'm talking about a time that those under twenty cannot know…). In my class, there was Farida, the boss of the gang, assertive, funny and tough, Sabrina, the gentle and empathetic friend who listens, and Yamina, the kind and rebellious who refused her forced marriage in the country, women all, as arrived there by default and ultimately so complementary and singular.

In a city of Trappes, yes there had to be daring, I found a job as a saleswoman on Saturday and Sunday, and my sales career was launched: the release started!

I knew that through my talent discovered for sales, I was going to be able to emancipate myself and stand on my own feet. I also had an artistic dream in music, which I will realize much later (2019) through my EP “Rebelle benveillante, which I am proud to say is ranked in the best listens on Deezer! I saw myself "at the top of the bill", singer, businesswoman, manager, president of a label, in short my full confidence was born because I made sales in the small shop and the customers left happy.

I then took a Bac Sales representation that I obtained with distinction and the best mark of the academy in the oral sales: I was a speaker, my supreme pleasure was to convince an assembly of jurors more or less less austere: a real saleswoman full of enthusiasm and persuasion, in short, a lecturer, a storyteller, a saleswoman (which I still am). Let's not be ashamed, we revere American speakers, I had not seen them but I did it with my heart because the fight always leads to surpassing oneself and to argue for everything, which I have always done. My life was a constant battle to emancipate myself, to be free and independent, to do what I love and with whom I please.

Then, during this training, I was the first trainee of the NRJ radio 15/34 control room, I was known to have asserted myself and to have faced the nasty manager who had ended up hiring me. He made his teams cry, was malicious, tough, brittle and dominant. I was there to sell but also to meet people in music because you had to be in "the family". Very entertaining family, one concert a day in incredible conditions, but the glitter and the harassment made me choose freedom and emancipation once again.

I have been an assistant leader! Leadership is not a question of hierarchy.

First position at 18: I am a sales assistant (my first training serves me) for 6 months to replace a woman (assistants rarely head men) on maternity leave. Monstrous work, 50 typed pages technical business proposals and a director who speaks to me in a condescending and sexist way. My first mission was to bring him in line and to gain respect in the delegation and the orders he gave me. I had unwittingly put a whole team in tune and generated good communication and cooperation. When I left, I was thanked for this change!

I buy my car and find my first sales position! Then after that I never stopped doing advice, sales and negotiation! My best negotiating partners were quite intelligent, cultured men with excellent positions, players. My challenge, to assert myself in front of them and win my contracts with good margins, and disruptive creation projects for the companies in which I was hired. This permanent adrenaline brought me this balance between my thirst to create all the time and my need to convince and sign to materialize and succeed in transforming.

I felt like an athlete in constant competition, I lived in a challenge, between external sales with very negotiating clients and important contracts and internal sales to support changes and develop technical manufacturing: I sold custom objects. mass-produced. The tightest part was the internal negotiation with the technicians to always innovate. In this company based in the Province where I already tele-worked and traveled around the Paris region with my one-ton suitcase, filled with medals and pins, negotiated tickets with periwinkles, when it was still possible ...

My sales manager harassed me every day to control me, when I was the number one turnover in France, but I was a woman and he harassed me, while he was drinking barrels of wine with his friends , the least profitable salespeople in the sales force, to speak between "men", sorry but that was how he behaved.

The worst thing is the day when he spat his cigar smoke in my face and said to me, dispersing it with his hand, "sorry Sylvaine, I had forgotten that you had already been gassed". That day was very hard, but I was counting on the support of my Sales Director who was not up to the task "come on, come on, you are having ideas, he's like that…". The next day he had my resignation on the desk, even though I was making a very good living, freedom and integrity were always on top! Today, I would certainly have sued. This sales manager was demoted a few months later, I was already sailing on other adventures!

Do you have to have conducted negotiations in armed commandos to have an image of a confirmed negotiator? Do you have to be a famous athlete to talk to, motivate and train managers? Still the stereotype imagery! Doing negotiation or high-level management in business has nothing to do with that, it is above all a relationship of trust, leadership and a lot of strategy!

I was spontaneous and enthusiastic just like today and I practiced theatrical improvisation (actress and coach) which was not such an easy world, girls to assert themselves had to have very stereotypical characters or be "guys" , the universe was not very benevolent but very challenging and confronting, which I liked. I created my school of improvisation by teaching girls to be what they wanted to be and by imposing benevolence in the game and on the bench. Then the association was not very rewarding and I had approached it as the creation of a company, certainly because I was an entrepreneur but the syndrome of impostor (imposteuse? Well that does not exist in the feminine :)) that I had prevented myself from seeing what I was, I believed that everything I did was normal, except that those who did were usually 10 or 20 years older.

I had told it before, but the turning point of my career is an apparently unjust failure. Much later, I found a job as a profit center manager, managed a sales team and finished at 5 p.m. so I could pick up my baby from the nursery. I led the day, in the evening, "my second day began" to my greatest happiness. Yes, I had negotiated and I was criticized a lot for that, my hours when the center achieved the highest turnover. My manager "adored me", he talked about me to everyone else in a condescending way that bothered me a lot "look how she does it, you have to do the same, you are not good". I had another director, my N + 1 and this CEO. The N + 1 had no charisma, he carried out the orders of the DG, a nice "little boss" who shouted when he no longer had authority ...

Then one day, I announced that I was expecting my second child and there I saw the real face, which I was already seeing, of my DG "how dare you do that to me?" I thought you were a careerist! How do you think I recruit myself? I choose them divorced or careerists ”… But I was not at the end of my surprises. The collaborators had sent me a card for the birth, the N + 1 had come to see me, I was going to resume… When they told me that I was transferred 40 kilometers away so that I could leave. During my absence, the DG had prepared a real revenge of narcissistic pervert, put together a case because I was beyond reproach and dine my post to a woman who worked hours and wanted my post… I was fired because mom! So I accepted a dismissal because this release was necessary and to bring me towards me even more! This CEO was fired a few month after month by the American headquarters ...

I decided to go back to studies, because I had an incredible thirst for learning, a determination stronger than ever… I took a competitive examination to enter a DESS (Master), I passed the level psychometric tests, already delighted and I validated my more than 12 years of sales executive. I am a Master in Marketing and Sales Management! I no longer have to be self-conscious about my business school competitors who are often brittle with a little self-taught person… But ultimately, it's all for me all that to prove to myself that I can… And I was far from imagining myself that I was a multi-potentialist zebra what specialists told me later, I still find it hard to believe it. A zebra blends in with nature but is always different, I had learned to live with it thinking it was a handicap, so I complied but always asserting myself to keep my values, and I will not tell you not all…

Then, I had my third son… And I started to lead major training projects, which were very difficult to lead because it was a transformation of a multinational company.

I learned everything with difficulty and I got out of extremely difficult situations on a human level. It is very hard and formative!

So, I created En Haut de l'Affiche, my training company in sales, negotiation, management and public speaking and coaching and since then I have not stopped being me in always making the same choice: freedom. I like to support the transformation through training and coaching, collective intelligence and team building, bringing a holistic, intuitive and very operational vision. I support high-level negotiators and allow them to gain a lot, I coach leaders, often men who hide me, why? To be a ruler, is to be born perfect?

I would just like one thing, to do a lot more lectures to show that you can be successful by being an enthusiastic, spontaneous and determined woman and inspire and motivate my audience like I always do, without having to be a man, a man. clone or formatted expert! I would also like one day to run a larger company and show that by being atypical, you can achieve incredible performance and generate value and well-being or be at the head of a business school that I would transform or lead a global training project, I had the opportunity to set up a big international project! I am happy to be a source of inspiration for women who need this impetus to continue their journey with more confidence. I am currently writing my second book.

To remember :

    • Always go on
    • With his values and nothing else
    • Assert oneself
    • Change if you no longer agree or if you experience harassment
    • Keep moving forward
    • Accept failures
    • Realize yourself in your passion
    • Carry on !

And I am pleased to announce the creation of my new conference: Determined and resilient!

Illustration © PEK Philippe-Elie Kassabi

Photo © Raphaël Demaret

EP Benevolent Rebel at listen on platforms

DeliveredThe power of spontaneity "