- IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Leadership

Award-winning e-commerce executive on the Building on Talent experience

Valérie Dassier says BOT increased her confidence and put her in touch with a valuable network
November 2014

Recently recognized as the most successful e-commerce professional of the year by the French E-Commerce Magazine, Valérie Dassier has enjoyed a fruitful twelve months since she finished the at IMD in the fall of 2013.

Valérie started her career at the multinational LVMH group, working in sales, purchasing and project management, before starting her own interior design e-commerce business in 2002. She is currently head of marketing, digital and e-commerce at Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princess Tam Tam, French online fashion stores, as well as a member of the executive committee at the company which owns the businesses.

Originally Valérie discovered IMD because the Human Resources department at her company wanted to test the Building on Talent (BOT) program, designed to turn high-potential managers into leaders, and Valérie was happy to volunteer. She said it didn’t hurt that IMD was recognized as the best European school for leadership by HR at her company.

“BOT is an incredible leadership program. I found the methodology perfect. Working in small groups in order to discover your personal leadership style and to understand what works and what doesn’t really helped me, although it was a challenge,” Valérie said.

According to Valérie, the BOT faculty created a sense of confidence and trust among the participants which allowed them to be comfortable enough to experiment with their leadership styles, something that wouldn’t be possible or well-received on the job at her company.

She also appreciated the diversity of the group. Working together with participants from all over the world, Valérie learned about cultural differences but also about cultural similarities, which helped her work more efficiently with the others.

“Taking such a deep look into myself was occasionally destabilizing but it paid off and the quality of the faculty and the lessons was excellent,” she said.

In order to get the most out of the program, Valérie had to make a choice.

“I had to decide if I really wanted to get the most out of the experience by opening up to the other participants and faculty, or if I wanted to play it safe and observe without sharing too much,” said Valérie.

She chose the first option and two days into the program when she had to tell her peers what she thought was holding her back, a breakthrough occurred.

“It helped me to say, OK let’s dive deeper into my leadership style and take this opportunity to analyze it better. I don’t regret it at all. It released me for the rest of the experience. After more than 15 years of my career I found it very useful to examine what was powerful in my leadership, and what I could improve. It made me feel more comfortable with my leadership and increased my self-confidence,” she said.

Additionally, Valérie appreciated making interesting contacts, some of whom she is still in touch with. After sharing such a personal journey, she feels like she can count on them to help her if needed.

“The program was an incredible moment in my career. I got to step back, analyze where I was at, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to get there. Once I was back to work, I was in a better position to lead,” Valérie concluded.

Building on Talent (BOT) is designed for high-potential managers who are early in their careers and are looking to take on greater responsibility.