Name: Cecile Thirion (@CecileSF)
Title: Global Marketing Director @XeroxTransport
Company: Xerox Transportation (Xerox Services)
Q: What role has mentorship played in your career?
Cecile: Mentorship has played a key role to learn and grow in my career as well as making a positive impact by giving back to the community.
For the past 3 years, I have volunteered as a @Techwomen mentor to inspire and empower the next generation of STEM emerging leaders in Middle East and Africa. This is an initiative of the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs launched by Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As a mentor, I received as much as I gave. It changed the way I mentor, coach, and manage my team.
Q: How do you approach someone who you may want as a mentor?
Cecile: I believe in a win/win relationship: what’s in it for me and what’s in it for the mentor? Do your homework on the person to explain why you believe she/he could be a great mentor for you and how you think this person could help you. This means be genuine and helpful, be interesting when you approach a potential mentor. At the same time, think what you could offer in return – an introduction to a person in your network or some tips on social media – can go a long way. You will demonstrate you’re respectful and grateful of the mentor’s time as well as you want to build a meaningful relationship.
Q: What does leadership mean to you?
Cecile: Leadership is about vision and discipline. I believe we’re not born leaders. Rather, leadership is a journey and we become leaders. It’s about having a higher purpose where you set the vision, and empower and help the people around you to make an impact. Leadership is about having people at the center of everything you do, you thrive as leader with and through people.
Q: What are the traits of a great leader that you have observed in your career?
Cecile: Great leaders have clear vision and are confident they can execute on this vision. They are knowledgeable, authentic, humble and approachable. If you feel inspired, energized, valued, and learned something, then that means you met a great leader!
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten in your career? Explain what and why it was so good.
Cecile: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is “pick your battles”: you can’t have it all at the same time. The more responsibilities you have in your company, the more decisions you’ll have to make. Don’t try to boil the ocean and disperse yourself in multiple directions; be laser-focused on areas where you can have an impact and where you have the support you need to be successful. It isn’t incompatible with taking a stand, stretching further, or accomplishing more.
Q: What tips do you have for other women just starting out in their career?
Cecile: Get out of the office, be curious and have an explorer mindset because you never know what you can learn, who you can meet, where a good idea/opportunity can come from. Culture, family, society, traditions, etc., tend to restrict women from having a fulfilling career while having a happy personal life. Don’t let the environment shape what you want to do. Live the professional life you want and create the conditions of your own success.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that is a fun fact
Cecile: I started my career in the Indian Ocean on Reunion Island. I worked for the local Marketing Director of Air France-KLM and built a sponsorship program from the ground-up: recipients were locals surfers, artists and musicians…it was fun!
Cecile’s preferred quote: “Chance favors the prepared mind” Louis Pasteur
Cecile Thirion has 14+ years of experience in global marketing (B2B, B2G) and Fortune 50 Strategic Account Management.
She is currently a Global Marketing Director @XeroxTransport, a billion dollar annual revenue Industry within Xerox Services, where she oversees multicultural teams in the US, Latin America, Europe and APAC. Cecile is a result-driven leader, passionate about Marketing and Innovation. She is a change agent on a journey to drive marketing transformation in a digital world. She joined Xerox Corp Executive Marketing Council (CMO and worldwide marketing leaders) in 2012 as their youngest member and her marketing practice is considered as benchmark in Xerox Services.
She served on the 2013 & 2014 TechWomen Selection Committee and has been elected in 2014 at the TechWomen Alumnae Organization Council. She served as a judge for the 2014 BMA National B2 Awards and the 2014 French-American High Tech award organized by the magazine Leaders League. In March 2015, she served as judge for the prestigious BAA REGGIE Awards 2015, the premier industry award recognizing the best in promotion, integrated marketing & Brand Activation. She is among Xerox Services 2015 President’s Club winners.
Cecile is multilingual and has lived on 3 continents.
You can follow her on Twitter @CecileSF and read her blog posts on LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/in/cecilethirion