Laurence Marzin’s dynamic career began in Calais, France where she was born, married, and educated. She describes the experiences that shaped her career and attitude, what working mothers need, and coping during COVID.
With a BA in accounting, I took a temporary job as a switchboard operator and sales secretary in the steel industry in 1989, and was quickly promoted through jobs in different departments until I discovered my real calling at the Financial department as Business Controller Assistant. After two years there, my Director suggested I keep working while pursuing diplomas in Financial Admin, French Accounting, and Corporate Law. This took me four years and I continued to move up, through Business Controller, Financial & Administrative Director, and Site Manager. In 2015, after 25 years at the same company, I felt inspired to bigger things and applied to the Chief Financial Officer’s job in Scora owned by ICL. Today I am the CFO and HR Manager. Balancing both roles is very challenging but I’m proud of myself and the team’s performance – we had a record year in terms of sales and profit despite the COVID crisis!
My work is very diverse and every day is different. I oversee a team of 7 people in Finance, HR, IT, and Purchasing and I also work closely with colleagues abroad in the Netherlands and Israel on issues of HR, Finance, Legal, Compliance, and Purchasing. But of all my activities, HR is where I feel I can make a significant impact. As HR Manager, I make sure that people are at the right position and at the right place. People are our most valuable investment. Upgrade your staff, and your company will grow. Believe in your people, and your people will believe in you.
The mentality I bring to work (and my advice to women in the workplace) is to stay confident in the face of challenges, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid. My mother always encouraged me and raised me to be confident, which was helpful from my first managerial role as in the male-dominated steel industry. I’ve definitely seen improvements in women’s professional achievements over the years, and I have found that men like working with women because women are well-organized. But women’s success depends also on external factors – how much support they receive from their partner or from society when they become mothers. It is difficult to reconcile motherhood and professional life. Sometimes, you’re forced to choose.
The COVID pandemic changed my daily workflow, for better and worse. France was on lockdown for 55 days from mid-March until end of May 2020. My husband, my children, and I all worked from home. It’s a nice arrangement, from time to time – no commute, fewer distractions, and you can organize your day more flexibly. I exercised more while in lockdown – amazing! On the other hand, my kids struggled to be productive, and my colleagues missed me even though we took virtual coffee breaks together. Also, I am a horse rider – I’m lucky to live near the sea, so I often ride on the beach with friends – but during lockdown my horses missed me a lot as well. My dream, when travel is possible again, is to explore the world on horseback!