Your first impressions of Islay?
It’s calm and really nice. The people at Bruichladdich are very kind, and I’m learning a lot, so I could not ask for more. But being isolated from the rest of the world while living on the island is quite surprising at first. For example, if you miss the plane in Edinburgh or Glasgow (a flight that normally takes 45 minutes), the trip to Islay will take 5 hours.
Why did you leave Paris to come to Islay?
The city of Paris does not correspond with the way of life. I needed to get away from the stress of the city and find calm. That’s why I came to Islay, as well as to lend a hand to the local team.
What did you study in school?
I did not study computer science. I even stopped my music studies, because I did not enjoy it. I decided to go to Budapest for two and a half years. There, I was hired by an IT supplier and worked the helpdesk in French and in English for two years. Back in France, I posted my resume online, and my phone didn’t stop ringing. While I didn’t have an opportunity to get a degree in my specialty area, I learn through working every day. At Rémy Cointreau in Paris, I took care of IT for everyone at headquarters, as well as in Switzerland, Africa, and the Nordic countries (Paris + the EMEA zone without local IT teams).
How did you prepare for your move to Islay?
I had the opportunity to visit the island before my departure. Here, people work in very harmonious conditions. They take their time. I found the atmosphere really calming.
Your main missions?
Above all, to be present to help people. I try to show that no matter what happens, I am there to help, and they can come find me. I also try to find solutions to resolve some complicated problems.
Typical daily rhythm?
I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After work, we do lots of hiking on the island and we meet in pubs. I live three minutes by foot from the distiller in a small house with a garden next to the Academy, which also belongs to Bruichladdich.
Best professional memory on Islay?
Bruichladdich Day for the Feis Ile festival on May 26th: There were a lot of people there, who were all having fun, which was really pleasing. All of the Bruichladdich staff was expected at the distillery at 9 a.m. to wrap-up preparations. The weather was terrible. It was raining, windy, soaking wet—and we were supposed to open to the public at noon. Would you believe me if I said that at the moment when we opened the doors, the sun appeared? The weather was beautiful all afternoon, and when we closed the gates, the cold wind returned!
Rémy Cointreau’s culture?
At Rémy Cointreau, even in very busy times, everyone is kind. Nobody is expected to fit into a mold at Rémy Cointreau. I feel that we are not just hired for our skills, but also for who we are.
Tips for future V.I.E (Voluntariat international en entreprise / International Volunteer in a Company) candidates?
A V.I.E opens your mind, teaches you to live in another culture, learn another language and job … I recommend it to everyone!