Progress Over Perfection
Updated: Jun 2
Part of the Intellectual Property team (IP) within the Richemont Legal Team since 2013, Emma-Jane has been able to visit the different regions to experience the Maison's characters and culture. She is now bringing both online and offline together for the first time to create a full spectrum anti-counterfeiting strategy. For her, seeing products in real life is always a great reminder that she and her team are part of protecting the spirit of the Maisons, with digital anti-counterfeiting and brand protection activities.
My career path...
My career path in the group has been quite a journey - I have had six different positions in the last eight years that I have been at Richemont. I joined the group as a legal assistant/paralegal in June 2013. To qualify as a lawyer in the UK, I needed to do a training contract which consists of working for two years as an assistant to and being trained by more senior lawyers. I also studied at law school part-time in the evenings. My managers at the time were immensely supportive in setting up the training for me and always encouraging me to progress in my career. Doing this type of training in-house within an organisation (compared to training at a law firm) is not that common, but the great support that I had allowed me to qualify as a lawyer in 2016 while still working at Richemont.
I have been part of the Intellectual Property team (IP) within Group Legal ever since I joined. I have worked on several projects but have always been involved with digital anti-counterfeiting and brand protection activities. I took over responsibility for this a few years ago and am also now responsible for offline matters, heading up the anti-counterfeiting team globally and bringing both online and offline together at Richemont for the first time to create a full spectrum anti-counterfeiting strategy. I feel that I have been very lucky to progress so much in my career within Richemont - I never would have imagined when I took my first legal assistant job in 2013 that I would end up in this position that I am in now.
What I have learned...
When I first started law school several years ago, I thought I wanted to be a barrister, which is a different type of lawyer in the UK: a self-employed and more solitary career undertaking court appearances. However, since working at Richemont I have qualified and ended up working as a solicitor, which is very different, and it has taught me that I prefer working within a team. The value of teamwork and collaboration is absolutely vital to me now. Within the Intellectual Property team, we have the overall shared goal of ensuring that our Maisons and their products are protected to the best extent that we can. Any successes that I have had, such as achieving good results in court cases or with online takedowns, are the results of all the great teamwork and input from all of my colleagues.
I have also learned that it is really important to consider and be fed with different views and expertise. My role is global in tackling the problem of counterfeiting worldwide, and I think it is necessary to be quite humble and to recognize that you might not be a subject expert in every particular country or project. There are different specificities and processes in local markets, and we need to adapt our anti-counterfeiting strategies and actions for each region that we work in. I also think it is crucial to trust your team on such matters: I have team members in several different global locations and I defer to them as subject experts on how to work in their countries and regions.
Furthermore, I have definitely seen the importance of being adaptable to change and staying up to date with new trends. The nature of work that I do is very fast-moving. For example, we are monitoring new technologies such as live streaming sales very closely, since it is a new and fast-growing way of selling goods online - unfortunately, counterfeiters are using it too. I have had to learn how to be flexible and quick to react in my position, which is a very good thing!
What surprised me...
Besides all the personal knowledge I have been able to acquire, I have been very surprised by the longevity within Richemont. There are so many people across the various Maisons and functions that have had such amazing long journeys and careers here. There is an incredible length of service which you do not see very often. People are quick to change jobs nowadays, but the Group is very willing to foster talent and invest in people to grow and improve within their roles.
How have I impacted the group...
Well, firstly I hope I have impacted the group by reducing the number of counterfeits available! I have tried hard to develop different safeguards and put new technologies in place against them. Also, I am quite proud of the relationships I have been able to build, both internally and externally. Because I have team members globally, the trust and dedication I built between the different stakeholders are very important to me and I think this has impacted a lot the way we work.
My favourite memory...
I have been very lucky to travel to a lot of fascinating places because of my position, from the United States of America to China and Japan. I loved seeing new places and meeting new people, and have missed doing this over the past year. We can do a lot of great work with Zoom meetings, but in some circumstances, it is really worthwhile to go and meet people in person to foster teamwork and build relationships. A lot of my favourite memories are associated with those kinds of moments.
A particular favourite memory was a wonderful tour of the Cartier Mansion on 5th Avenue in New York that was set up for me. It was a very special opportunity to learn more about the history of the Maison and see all of the products - as well as the beautiful historic building. On a similar note, I also really enjoyed visiting SIHH every year to see the Maisons’ creations in person, rather than through photos (or fake versions of them!). Seeing products in real life reminds you that you are part of protecting the spirit of the Maisons, and those kind of interactions with products and Maison history are truly inspiring.
Wise words I live by...
“Progress, not perfection.”
This means always trying to educate myself, to evolve and improve, and trying to have a growth-oriented mindset. There is always more to learn, which is exciting!