metiers

They talk about their job...

Our businesses are diversified and evolving. And clearly, it is our teams who talk about it best!

 

Meeting with Claire Festuot, Deputy Director of Human Resources for VIVESCIA Cooperative and SubsidiariesClaire FESTUOT Claire Festuot

What does your position entail?

The agricultural world is changing, and the Cooperative’s businesses are changing with it. We have a holistic approach to human resources, because only multi-factorial, customised support over the long-term allows you to get to know people well and follow their progress more effectively.

Claire Festuot
Claire Festuot

What does your position entail?

The agricultural world is changing, and the Cooperative’s businesses are changing with it. We have a holistic approach to human resources, because only multi-factorial, customised support over the long-term allows you to get to know people well and follow their progress more effectively.

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My role consists in following the career development of employees of the Cooperative and the agricultural services subsidiaries’ seeds teams and technical sales staff. So I have a fairly wide and varied remit. This goes from recruitment to skills development, with the creation of bespoke training programs as well as the essential task of onboarding new hires, being attentive to employees’ career development ambitions, answering their questions, developing our employer brand, and building lasting relationships with schools.  

You are also a living example of professional mobility!

That’s true! I have rarely stayed in the same position for more than four years! When I was hired as an intern in 2007, I worked on the development of new software for the payroll department. Then I managed training for two years. In 2012, I moved on to recruitment. That was an absolutely fascinating time, with the merger of two big cooperatives that led to the creation of VIVESCIA Group, with all of the cultural adjustments and recruitment that it implied. At the time, I was in charge of developing a policy for work experience, internships, and the recruitment of employees on open-ended and fixed-term contracts for the Cooperative as well as temp recruitment, with the organisation of recruitment campaigns for the harvest and the coordination of teams in the field to onboard and manage 600 temporary employees. In 2016, I went from head of recruitment to the training and skills management for the Cooperative and its subsidiaries. In this capacity, I had diverse responsibilities which enabled me to learn more about our many businesses as well as develop relationships with schools that were better suited to our recruitment needs.  

Do you think you will continue to change position every four years?

Why not? That’s the advantage of working for VIVESCIA Group. You can envisage many different options for the future. You can change industry by changing company, from farming, to milling, to frozen bakery, animal nutrition or biotechnologies. You can choose to stay in our region of origin, where many of our businesses and head offices are based. Or you can choose to live far away, in China, New Zealand or the USA, for example. Some of our businesses have sites all over the world. In short, you can decide to change jobs without leaving the Group! 

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Some of our businesses have sites all over the world. In short, you can decide to change jobs without leaving the Group!
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Claire Festuot
Claire Festuot
Deputy Director of Human Resources for VIVESCIA Cooperative and Subsidiaries

Is this variety of choice open to everyone?

Potentially, yes. Of course, it depends on the needs of our companies, the businesses, and your individual skills and aims. But the Group supports you in your mobility ambitions. Training goes hand-in-hand with the Group’s development, whatever the business and the your level in the hierarchy. There are many opportunities for career development at VIVESCIA. For example, opportunities may open up in priority areas like the management of health and safety in the workplace or environmental management.  

Meeting with Baptiste Regouby, Area Manager for VIVESCIA Cooperative

What exactly does the role of area manager entail?

It’s a bit like being an orchestra conductor! VIVESCIA has more than 200 grain elevators across its territory: big ones, which are distribution silos, and little ones where our members take their harvest. Many of the grain elevators also have “stores” that sell seeds, plant health products, fertiliser, etc

Baptiste Regouby
Baptiste Regouby

What exactly does the role of area manager entail?

It’s a bit like being an orchestra conductor! VIVESCIA has more than 200 grain elevators across its territory: big ones, which are distribution silos, and little ones where our members take their harvest. Many of the grain elevators also have “stores” that sell seeds, plant health products, fertiliser, etc

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Each grain elevator is managed by an autonomous site manager with a team of professionals that know their jobs inside out. As area manager, I supervise several grain elevators. I coordinate the work of 26 people working on 14 different grain elevators, and around 35 temp staff during the harvest. Basically, my job is to put the right person in the right place at the right time in order to meet the needs of our customers and members, and to ensure that our employees have what they need to do their job properly.

But you weren’t always area manager…

I have always gone back and forth between IT and work in the field!  After my studies (agricultural baccalaureate, an advanced technician’s certificate in systems analysis, and a degree in large-scale crops and the environment), I started working as a storekeeper in the Sept-Saulx grain elevator. That was in 2009.  I was there for the merger between Champagne Céréales and Nouricia, in 2012, which led to the creation of VIVESCIA. I provided my technical knowledge of the field to help migrate the information systems with a view to creating user-friendly software for silo operators. After a year spent between Troyes and Reims, configuring and validating the software (SAP), I spent six months training all the Cooperative’s users. I stayed with the IT department until 2016, when I decided I wanted to return to the field. Management took note of my request! In 2017, I was appointed director of the Dontrien grain elevator, which is one of the larger ones and provides a whole range of related services. During an annual development interview, I said that I would like to become area manager, and my line managers supported me – and I thank them for that. My wish was granted in September 2021.

Warehouse manager, IT, area manager… Your career path has been fairly diverse! Did you receive support in your career changes?

These changes are first and foremost an opportunity. It is possible within VIVESCIA because the Group has many subsidiaries which opens up real career development opportunities with multiple avenues for people who really want to push on. And yes, I received support when I needed it. Managing a team can’t be completely improvised. I am currently following VIVESCIA Cooperative’s managerial training course, which features six modules: Communication, organisation, management, motivation, skills development, and health & safety.  

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These changes are first and foremost an opportunity. It is possible within VIVESCIA because the Group has many subsidiaries which opens up real career development opportunities with multiple avenues for people who really want to push on.
"
Baptiste Regouby
Baptiste Regouby
Area Manager for VIVESCIA Cooperative

What’s your next step?

The most important thing for me is to work with teams that are committed and proud to be part of the Cooperative. That’s our strength! And I’m proud of my teams. We are all pulling in the same direction, and they are incredibly committed! Beyond their undeniable business expertise, they are capable of adapting to cope with peaks and troughs in the activity, even if that means moving their holidays to provide backup when necessary. As for the next step, we’ll see. I am 35 years old, and I have a three year old child: my 10 years in the field and my three years in IT have given me a good enough grasp of the tools and the business to progress, but for now I need to find the right work-life balance. We’ll look at the opportunities later…

We meet Valentine Godaillier, a technical sales rep at VIVESCIA subsidiary and regional leader in animal nutrition, Nealia.

How and why did you become a technical sales rep at Nealia?

After a scientific baccalaureate, I obtained a BTS diploma in “farming systems management and analysis”. I then did an undergraduate degree in “livestock farming” with an apprenticeship at Nealia. I chose Nealia because their commercial approach matches how I saw the business: listening to farmers to understand their needs and not “making the sale at any cost”. 

Valentine Godaillier
Valentine Godaillier

How and why did you become a technical sales rep at Nealia?

After a scientific baccalaureate, I obtained a BTS diploma in “farming systems management and analysis”. I then did an undergraduate degree in “livestock farming” with an apprenticeship at Nealia. I chose Nealia because their commercial approach matches how I saw the business: listening to farmers to understand their needs and not “making the sale at any cost”. 

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What mattered to me was helping the farming sector and working closely with farmers. As such, the fact that Nealia is part of a cooperative group was also a plus for me.

What do you like most about being a technical sales rep?

The autonomy, being in direct contact with farmers in the field – it’s a business where you need to have good listening skills – being close to people, and the continuous challenge! My job is, of course, to keep my customers happy and to get new ones. But for me, it’s first and foremost about providing the best possible technical and financial advice. In short, I don’t talk to them about their costs, I talk to them about their margins. That’s what’s important for livestock farmers, especially at the moment. The livestock farming industry in difficulty. Finding solutions that improve their bottom line is a great source of satisfaction! 

How did your onboarding with Nealia go?

It was very smooth, because I had already done sales trips in the Vosges region during my year of apprenticeship, with my apprenticeship mentor: that helped boost my confidence and progressively make me more autonomous. After a one-year apprenticeship, Nealia gave me the opportunity to take over the sector of a colleague who was retiring: I followed him on customer visits for two months, to meet the farmers and get to know them, their farms, their practices and their projects. That was three years ago. Now my sector is even bigger! I cover the Seine-et-Marne and Marne departments, and part of the Aisne. 

That’s quite a responsibility for a young graduate…

They showed faith in me. And I also have a lot of support! I know that I can ask my manager and Nealia’s other technical managers for help at any time: they are great professionals, and they get back to me very quickly. We communicate by email, by telephone, and if necessary they come into the field with me. Like any new arrival in the business, I also followed commercial training to improve my business development techniques, prepare customer visits and make more impactful presentations… After three years in the field, I think I still have room for improvement! Nealia helps me in that respect. 

Final question: isn’t it too hard to be a young woman working in the livestock farming industry?

It’s not really an advantage! (Laughs) Although… mentalities are changing fast. In fact, there are more and more female farmers. Then it’s a question of temperament, presence and competence. What counts is the quality of the advice you provide. Because, as my customers and colleagues often say, you are always learning in the livestock industry!

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What I like about this job is the autonomy, being in direct contact with farmers in the field, and the continuous challenge: providing the best possible technical and financial advice. Finding solutions that improve farmers’ bottom line is a great source of satisfaction!
"
Valentine Godaillier
Valentine Godaillier
25, technical sales rep at Nealia