Communication, trust and be the change
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
From a standardised to a hybrid approach in system management, Michelle has guided Richemont to its biggest step toward the cloud. Now Platform and Automation Team Meader, her team and she developed a hybrid governance model focused on the Maisons’ needs and customer-centricity to deploy resources in the cloud. During her journey, she learnt that the key to trust is getting everyone on the same level of expectation and communication.
What is your career path in the group?
I joined the Group in 2013 as a Unix/Linux administrator and then got offered the position of Unix engineer a year later in the ICS Hosting department in Fribourg. When I started at Richemont, I was the only person responsible for the Linux Red Hat Platform within the Group. As I was the only person knowing the system and working on it, I started creating the whole Linux platform. From three Red Hat Linux systems, we ended up building over two thousand Linux systems worldwide.
After six years, on the evening of the Christmas party in 2019, I got a phone call asking me if I would be interested in building a Cloud Platform Team. The objective was to develop products that standardise and industrialise the way we manage the cloud environments. Also, it would manage resources and then provide these solutions to the Maison’s and Richemont’s departments.
Was it a big jump?
Having been a Team Leader in previous positions, it was not much of a change in that sense. However, in regards to the cloud, we had to learn quickly about AWS, Alicloud and GCP. In the beginning, it was not very Linux focused. Thus, we had to deploy and ensure that our instances and resources were working easily within the cloud system and show teams how to do that in an automated way.
Richemont is an organisation that keeps changing and adapting to the context, to the market’s trends and to what is new, modern, and the most efficient for the Maisons and their business. We went from a standardised approach in system management to a hybrid one, which was our first biggest step toward the cloud. We created a new, hybrid governance model focused on the Maisons’ needs and customer-centricity to deploy resources in the cloud. There has been a lot of change this year and our whole department jumped from the background of the environment to its front page.
What have your learned?
Every day is a chance to learn on a personal level. I quickly learned that if we want to work on delivering the best outcome, we need to improve communication and trust in our environment. One big realisation is that we don’t have the same expectations and people have different perceptions in terms of quality. It is not necessarily what you expected or assumed and vice versa. It has been an important step to learn how to pass that bridge and then be able to get everyone on the same expectation level. After understanding this, it became much easier to build communication and trust.
Also, you have to be open to change. In the past, I was not necessarily open to change, which can easily block your development or let you be seen as a blocking point in certain situations. Now, as soon as I hear the word “change”, I see it as a challenge or something I can adapt to. You do not know how much this change is going to affect you, just be open to it. Even if it is a bad change, you can make it into a good change!
What impressed you the most?
How fast we changed from our previous status to a cloud environment. Four years ago, we never thought that we we would migrate to the cloud. It has been really impressive to see how fast many have adopted the cloud. Seeing the reactivity and proactivity of the teams while working with these integrations has also been impressive.
How have you impacted the group?
Besides my team’s work, I love it when people come to ask me for help or my advice. We never know the impact we have on people, but seeing them come to me is rewarding. On a professional level, I was challenged to make sure that Richemont won the Nutanix Cloud Transformers award in 2018, which had a great impact on the department at the time. It has been an amazing moment to receive the award and see the collaboration of the teams.
Besides, I think that my biggest impact has been to allow people, teams and departments to use our standardized solutions through my work. My team and I worked hard on providing enough information to guide and lead people to take their first steps into the cloud environment.
What is your favourite memory?
My favourite moments are the conferences or events that we get to attend with my team and colleagues. The great thing about my journey has been the social aspect. What you learn from the people you meet are amazing moments because I do enjoy sharing experience and knowledge. Due to the current context, we have not been able to enjoy all the events that Richemont organises for their employees. These are missed, because those were full of great memories. We hope to enjoy them again soon.
Any wise word you live by?
One of them is that “you should not speak because you have to say something, but you should speak because you have something to say”. It is important to know the importance of listening and not focus on the sound of your own voice. Another one is that “you can not push the river”. It means that you can’t make things go faster than they will. And then there is, “listen to the music behind the words” because sometimes people can tell you something but mean something else. And finally: Cheesecake! Anytime.