According to Lilia Perret, it’s always a good time to step out of your comfort zone
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the first article of “HFA Dream Team”!
In this series, we’ll be introducing each of the members that make up High Flyers Agency. A “Dream Team” isn’t just a cliché
The term originally refers to the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, described by American journalists as the best team ever assembled. Today, “Dream Team” is used to describe an unconventional but perfect combination of people for a particular purpose. Each of our team members has a different personal and professional background, and together, they make the best Talent Strategy team out there.
Leaving a career in the notarial profession after two years of experience with a “Bac +7” level of studies in the field does not sound like the kind of career move your parents would approve. It is, however, just what Lilia – our Product Owner – did in 2016. Following the steps of her grandmother and aunt, she decided to become a Notary after High School. “Both my grandmother and aunt are very strong women – the kind of women who always know exactly what to do.” says Lilia. Born and raised in Marseille, Lilia grew up among all the happiness a notarial profession could provide. “It is rewarding to help people throughout their lives’ milestones, particularly in helping them navigate the technical landscape of French law”. However, after two years of working in a Notarial office, Lilia decided it was time for a change.
Worlds Apart: Law and Tech
Attracted by the new and emerging startup scene, Lilia moved to Paris. After a first Legal-Admin gig at a French startup, Lilia found High Flyers Agency in 2017. “I wanted to join a company from its very beginning, and at the time I joined, HFA was only 1.5 years old”, Lilia states. “Not only that – I also wanted to join a company that had similar values to mine, with a real vision, and a lot of will to shake the status quo in an industry.” However, she was aware there was a large gap between the skills she had learned in Law School, and what was required for an operational role in a startup. “People that do closer career changes can focus on transversal skills, but I had to go a step further,” she says. “I had to apply a lot of my thought structuring skills from the Legal field. You’re taught to spot judicial issues, needs, and, in order to do so, you need to structure your thoughts to make sure there are no legal gaps or loopholes in a contract. As a Product Owner, I also need to prioritize and structure our team’s needs while staying both pragmatic and creative. I drive a step-by-step process in which a product progressively covers our team’s operational needs while making it increasingly attractive and inviting. In addition, I also have to articulate those goals efficiently to our developer team, so they’re able to transform it into the digital solution we expect.”
At first, Lilia dealt with the changes of going from a more administrative role in a previous company to becoming a part of the operational core of an emerging startup. She says that her first impression of HFA helped with the transition: “Making such a drastic career change is scary for many, but actually, there are a lot of people out there that can help with the transition. I was lucky to find such team at HFA.” She continues: “During my time here, HFA has grown enormously – it has fully assumed its will to send a strong message through our work, to help companies move forward through talent, to never rest on one’s laurels and always be agile.”
Paying it forward
As a Product Owner for HFA, Lilia oversees the development of innovative methods and technologies to optimize our Talent Strategy and Sourcing. The most exciting element in her job? “The number of transversal skills everyone has.”, she responds. “Since we’re a small team, everyone wears multiple hats, and we all share a lot of what we do with each other. As for my job as a Product Owner, my favorite part is being close to the team, always analyzing their needs and helping make their jobs easier.”
A true team player, Lilia enjoys not only working, but also constantly learning with her team every day. “Since we all come from radically different career paths we have this dynamic of always daring, and worse comes to worse, we will learn how to do things together”. In this case, she says, HFA truly fits her professional mantra: Say yes and always try. “Don’t stick to what you know”, she says, “Get out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid of challenges, and seize the opportunity.”
As we continue to grow our team of Talent Strategists, Lilia tells potential new team members during interviews: “This is going to sound like it’s not true, but honestly, every single person here loves to come to work every day.” She continues, “Being in the front line of helping fast-growing companies hire, and helping people step into the new economy is the most exciting thing I’ve done in my career.” Looking back at the impact and energy she brings, we think her parents did approve that career change after all.
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