Leading with Heart and Purpose
Carole’s Onouviet path to professional success has been nothing short of extraordinary. With a background in agronomical engineering, she embarked on a journey that would take her from the heart of the forestry sector to the challenges of the mining industry in Gabon, and ultimately, to the world of management, all while championing sustainability and ethical practices on a global scale.
Carole’s Background Before IMPM
Carole’s career began in the Forestry Sector, where she spent almost eight years as an agronomical engineer. Her role focused on the management of forestry resources, ensuring the sustainable development of this vital natural asset. This phase of her career required her to address issues like sustainable development and quality control in often remote areas. From this, Carole transitioned into the mining industry, which posed a new set of challenges. In Gabon, she headed the sustainable development practice and quality control in mining operations situated of the national mining company. Her responsibilities encompassed a broad spectrum, including safety measures, environmental compliance, and delicate interactions with local wildlife and communities. Carole’s journey in these sectors provided her with a strong foundation in resource management and leadership, but also a personal commitment to ethical and sustainable resource management.
In 2016, a significant turning point arrived in Carole’s career. She explains, “There was a kind of a breakdown in the company I was working for, and I was reflecting on my background and what I wanted to do. I was looking for an EMBA to have a kind of a shock on myself and maybe start something that I wanted to manage.”
It was during this search that Carole stumbled upon the International Master’s Program for Managers (IMPM). She candidly shared, “I didn’t want to pursue a traditional MBA program. I was seeking an educational experience that would challenge my perspective and encourage personal growth, and align with the values I had been taking to work with me throughout my career.”
A Transformative Experience
Carole’s IMPM journey proved to be profoundly transformative. She fondly recollected her initial impressions, saying, “I was impressed by the calibre of CEOs and senior managers in the same room with me. As we began collaborating and exploring different perspectives, I felt a strong sense of belonging.”
The IMPM experience resonates deeply with Carole, particularly its emphasis on collaborative and cooperative mindsets. She described the program as an ongoing conversation where diverse viewpoints were not only welcomed but encouraged, and left with three main takeaways she continues to carry with her.
- Reflection Before Action
Carole’s IMPM journey significantly honed her ability to pause and reflect before taking action. This newfound skill has been instrumental in her decision-making process, and Carole firmly believes that acting without careful consideration can result in missed opportunities. “In resource management, impulsive actions can have far-reaching consequences. Whether it’s deciding on sustainable practices or addressing environmental challenges, taking the time to reflect can reveal innovative solutions.”
Carole’s commitment to reflection extends beyond her professional life. She emphasises how it has enhances her personal decision-making as well, with a thoughtful approach to life’s challenges and opportunities has become an integral part of her leadership philosophy.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, like many entrepreneurs, she faced the daunting task of adapting to a rapidly changing world. This period was marked by uncertainty, economic disruptions, and the need for creative solutions, but for Carole, the pandemic was particularly challenging as she lost her husband. Carole’s resilience and ability to adapt her while facing these unprecedented challenges demonstrated her capacity to thrive in the face of adversity.
- The Art of Capturing Unspoken Insights
One of the most profound lessons Carole derived from IMPM is the art of deep listening. “When you genuinely listen, you capture 80% of what the other person has to say.” This skill goes beyond simply hearing words; it involves an immersive understanding of the speaker’s perspective, conveyed not only through words but also through body language, behavior, and, as Carole highlights, “the unspoken”.
Carole’s deep listening ability plays a pivotal role in her career as a manager and collaborator; by attentively engaging with her team, colleagues, and stakeholders, she fosters an environment of trust and open communication. Carole’s journey has illustrated how this skill can be a game-changer in building meaningful relationships and driving successful outcomes in both professional and personal spheres.
- Forging Unity in Diversity
The collaborative mindset has left an indelible mark on Carole’s leadership style, and she continues to emphatically highlight the significance of working together, embracing diverse perspectives, and finding common ground. Her experience in China, where the Collaborative mindset was hosted during Carole’s IMPM journey, vividly exemplifies the essence of what we teach in this module.
“The Great Wall experience taught me that there isn’t a single ‘right’ way to reach a destination. We all had our unique paces and approaches, yet we all made it to the top. It beautifully mirrors the essence of collaboration — recognising and valuing diversity while moving toward a shared goal.”
The Future of Management
Carole firmly believes that the future of management lies in a management approach that encourages self-awareness, collaboration, and holistic leadership, and she encourages us to embrace the principles of IMPM and approach management as a dynamic, ever-evolving endeavor.