Géraldine Le Garrec
Géraldine Le Garrec, Brands Director for Bruichladdich, made the jump from maternity leave fill-in to full-time employee, moving to Scotland to work with our Progressive Hebridean Distillers after several years in our Paris HQ. Now with the Rémy Cointreau Group for 11 years—and a textbook case for successful international mobility—she inspires us all to “be the master of our own destiny.”
The journey within the company
How did your Rémy Cointreau story begin?
In 2006, I did a V.I.E (French program that grants young professionals job opportunities abroad) in Brazil with an international car manufacturer. While it was an unforgettable experience, it wasn’t long until I realized the necessity to believe in the product I worked for. Upon completing my V.I.E, I knew I wanted a job in an industry I was passionate about.
I sent an application to Rémy Cointreau for a CDD (fixed-term contract). Not only was the idea of working with Rémy Cointreau —a family-owned business with an international scope— very interesting to me, but I was also attracted by the Group portfolio of premium brands, which I felt truly showcased the excellence of French culture and savoir-faire worldwide. The size of the company was also an asset: it wasn’t an international monstrosity, enabling agility, while being more people-centric. I worked with Rémy Martin, Passoâ and Cointreau during my several years in the Paris office, and then came the Bruichladdich opportunity!
What was your first impression of Bruichladdich?
It was a very unique encounter. Bruichladdich had not been with the Rémy Cointreau Group very long when I first met the Laddie team in Paris. Listening to Simon Coughlin, co-founder and Managing Director, Douglas Taylor, Global Brand Director, and Jim McEwan, Master Distiller, at that time presenting Bruichladdich to the French staff… I was blown away by their philosophy, their vision and attitude. I knew that if ever an opportunity in Scotland presented, I was all in.
How did Rémy Cointreau help you with the transition?
First, I had a discussion with HR in Paris before embarking on this journey. Then, I came to Scotland to meet the Scottish team for an interview. It was not the kind of traditional interview you would expect. This interview was, of course, about the job, but mainly to ensure there will be a “people fit”, that we would work well together. They took the time to meet me, and me them, and that’s how it went.
I signed in November and moved (pregnant!) to Scotland with my family in December 2013 to become Global Marketing Manager for the single malts portfolio and The Botanist. And here I am now, Brands Director for the Progressive Hebridean Distillers: an exciting, 4-year journey in Scotland!
Advice for other professionals seeking to move abroad?
You have to be curious and a risk-taker. To be successful, moves abroad should not jeopardize family and personal life for only a career step. While I was up for a new professional challenge, moving to Scotland was a family decision.
Would you say it is easy to change position?
There is openness at Rémy Cointreau. Managers are open to have these types of discussions to help us meet our goals and provide opportunities for growth. But you have to leap to make it happen. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Be the master of your own destiny!
For example, very recently, Emma Lamont, from my team, came to us expressing her wish to experience a new step in her career, ideally abroad. Emma is now Senior Brand Manager for the Malts in the US, based in New York City.
Since her testimonial, Géraldine has been appointed Vice President & General Manager for Westland, our American whiskey.