Pioneers
Mar 04, 2022
| 4 min read

“Every good manager must have doubts from time to time”

Women on the power to lead: Valérie Morillon

At Sartorius in France, at the end of 2021, the 1,402 people strong workforce was equally divided between men and women. In addition, there is also exact parity in management positions. One of the women leaders is Valérie Morillon, Head of Virtual Sales Europe, for Sartorius’ lab products and services division. Read about her growth story and learn what helps her become a better leader.

This article is posted on Sartorius Blog.
 


Valérie, you have been with Sartorius since 2015. Back then, why did you decide to join the company?

"After several years in another company, I wanted to use my experience to serve customers and employees in a growing business such as Sartorius. I hoped that in a growing company, I would find an innovative culture and exciting challenges. And I wanted to contribute my experience and my skills to unite teams in order to support this growth and to achieve the company objectives together. Looking back, I can say I definitely found this in Sartorius."
 

Tell us about a moment you experienced a breakthrough in your career.

"From an Application Expert position today, I’d say it was when I realized I brought my own value into the organization. I took responsibility for an entire market and product line and oversaw teams comprised of Sales, Customer Service, and Logistics. I was driven by the interest of the company to find ways to work together to develop our company and market further. The task was a challenge for me – but not an impossible one. And I took it on. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I think this relates beautifully."
 

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With International Women’s Day coming up, let’s look at women’s roles in our industry. From your perspective, what kind of positive influence do women leaders bring in a technology and science-driven company like Sartorius?

"From my experience, women have a different yet complementary sensitivity, which allows us to shed particular light on human relations and some technical jobs. I believe, we tend to bring in more harmony. A company without female leaders would likely be unbalanced and less robust. Yet women leaders are still rather rare in our industry. I think tech and science companies need to understand that women can have a different social role which can be extremely valuable for the business. So they would do well to embrace this."
 

A company without female leaders would likely be unbalanced and less robust.

Valerie Morillon, Head of Virtual Sales Europe for Lab Products and Services

How do you yourself as a manager address and handle this challenge at Sartorius today?

"What’s most important to me is equality. For women and men. In the hiring process, for example, I pay a lot of attention to choose the best candidate to cover the position — be it man or woman. The key qualities are skills, commitment, and self-confidence. Additionally, you should not create limits for oneself – this one is especially true for women. Women must have confidence in themselves but also the potential to take on leadership roles. Today, my management team is equally composed of women and men. This was not a must or a move to fulfill some quota; it is because each of them was the best person for the job." 


My management team is equally composed of women and men. This was not a must or a move to fulfill some quota; it is because each of them was the best person for the job.

Valerie Morillon, Head of Virtual Sales Europe for Lab Products and Services


When you look at your own growth, what factors in Sartorius have been favorable for you to develop your leadership and overcome doubts or fear? 

"The possibilities for women at Sartorius are real because of the openness of the company. The company entrusts women with responsibilities. When I joined the company, I was in the right department to develop my leadership skills further. Moreover, what’s very important to me is that I know I can connect with my relatives or my colleagues to discuss thoughts, ideas and reactions. This often helps to understand their relevance in case of doubt. And frankly, I believe that every good manager must have doubts from time to time. Without self-doubt, no growth mindset – that means you will stay put where you are. If you have the confidence to challenge your own ideas and question your own concepts, this will help you advance."


Without self-doubt, no growth mindset – that means you will stay put where you are.

Valerie Morillon, Head of Virtual Sales Europe for Lab Products and Services


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About Valérie

After earning a master’s degree in engineering in food and life sciences industries at AgroParisTech, Valérie Morillon decided to completed a PhD at the University of Bourgogne. Her research focused on understanding and modelizing the water transfer at negative temperatures in food. Valérie quickly decided to pursue a career in sales.

After more than 16 years in different sales positions in the food industry, she joined Sartorius in 2015. Since then, Valérie has advanced her career from Sales Director South Europe to Head of Virtual Sales Europe and Managing Director of Sartorius’ lab products and services division in France.

Valérie lives with her husband, two teenage sons and her pet cat in Reims, in the Champagne region in France."My husband used to take care of the kids when they were younger and when I traveled to visit customers. A precondition for combining family and career is having a supportive partner, " Valérie explains.


Women at Sartorius: Facts & Figures

At Sartorius, 5,394 women are working towards our ambition of enabling better health for more people, advancing their careers and growing with the company.

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