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17/06/2020

This Kedger Has Founded Her Own HR and Management Consulting Agency

KEDGE graduate, after a successful career in the hospitality sector, Virginie Forest has headed her own agency since January 2019 – FV CONSEIL


INTERVIEW 💬

1️⃣ To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE? 

I started at KEDGE in Marseille in 2001 after having taken two years of prep classes (HEC Scientific).  Over those four years rich in learning and meeting others, I had the chance to leave for a semester on an ERASMUS exchange at the University of Valencia. The “auberge espagnole". or almost! Then I decided to take a gap year and work in the marketing, product, and quality department at Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port.  Those 12 months immersed in a luxury hotel gave me the hotel/catering bug!. I finally got a permanent contract in 2006 and I’ve been there for more than 12 years! 

I was a member of the video association Mars'Eyes, and the Student Office’s fashions committee. I remember photo sessions in the school’s parking lot on weekends and soliciting shops to make the clothing designed by young creators in Marseille for our catwalks.

2️⃣ Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?

I got my first permanent position in 2006 with the Sofitel Scribe, in Paris. I started off working as a housekeeper and managed a team of 25 chambermaids aged from 18 to 60, with at least 10 different nationalities. That gave me the chance to practice my inter-cultural and inter-generational management skills! After that, I was promoted to Sales Manager for Seminars and Banquets at the same hotel, which was an opportunity for me to discover the exciting world of catering and cuisine. The French art of living put in the spotlight with a clientele that was half foreign who wanted to discover French gastronomy. After living for three years in Paris, I asked for a transfer to the South of France, and I returned to Marseille. There, I worked for the Pullman Marseille Palm Beach, the legendary hotel of the Corniche. For 10 years working that establishment I thought I knew everything! Amongst other challenges, I entirely created an HR position that I had to create entirely. I attended ACCOR Group's HR France Workshop, had incredible discussions, and made friendships that still last today. I hope everyone can experience the emotions I experienced there. It not only saw me grow and gave me a lot, but I gave a lot to it too.

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3️⃣ What are you doing/what is your situation today? What gave you the idea and why do you want to do what you’re doing today? 

In January 2019, after having worked on a total renovation of the hotel as well as a brand change, I told myself that I had done my job and wanted a new challenge, including what was perhaps the biggest and most difficult of all: that of creating my own company. So I set up my own business and created FV CONSEIL, an HR and Management Consulting agency. Throughout 2019, I worked with companies who wanted to outsource some of their HR tasks to an external service provider that would bring advantages to their companies both in terms of cost and the experience. It was a very rich year that brought me a lot!

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4️⃣ What are your development plans for the future?

In February 2020, I partnered with a scientific naturopath to created WELLNESS & PERFORMANCE, an innovative method that combined human resources and preventative health. For my part, I steer the HR strategy for better employee engagement, and my associate works on preventing possible chronic illnesses that cause absenteeism. She also takes steps to increase employee vitality. These two customised approaches complement each other and give us the ability to improve employee performance to the maximum. It's a 100% win-win situation for both the company and its employees. And this challenge is more relevant than ever in this current post-Covid environment.

 

5️⃣ If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be? 

The school gave me the desire to create, to start things, and to have confidence in myself and others. Students receive a demanding, quality education that will carry them through their careers. I also made two very close friends with whom I’m still in contact, even 19 years later! 

For those who want to enter the wonderful world of the hotel and restaurant business, I hope they hold from the start because, although you often start at the bottom it’s essential to know how businesses work. At the end of the day, its nothing but joy! For those who wish to start their own business, I suggest that they prepare their project well in advance, surround themselves with good people, and participate a lot on the different social networks. This is easier for the young graduates of today because they have been on them for a long time, versus me who hasn’t mastered them!

 

DID YOU GET A PROMOTION, OR ARE LAUNCHING A PROJECT OR A START-UP?

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