With its facilities still located in the Northern French village where the brand was born, cosmetics company Yves Rocher is deeply committed to staying true to its roots — still sourcing high-quality botanicals, employing locals, and remaining accessible to the average woman. This authenticity is what originally attracted Nathalia Del Moral Fleury to the company. Now, less than three years after joining, she is their first female General Director for North America, based out of Montreal — and the youngest person to ever hold that title.
Within three years at Yves Rocher, you’ve gone from Zone Marketing Director, North America to the General Director of North America. To what do you attribute this success and escalation?
Two things. First, passion. If you love your job, if you’re passionate about it, you’re going to enjoy doing it and you’ll do it well and it will show. People will see that you’re achieving things and moving forward. I love my job. Second, having a mentor. My boss was the General Manager before me, and I worked with him very closely. Three years ago, I would look at him and think: “I would never do this job.” It’s hard, and it’s very lonely at the top. Then, when he proposed the job to me, I was hesitant, but it ultimately didn’t seem that scary anymore. I was close to him, I saw how he worked and thought alongside him. He helped me gain the self confidence you need to have to say “yes I’m going to do it, I trust myself, and it’s okay.” If you fail, whatever! You also have to trust people — if they’re giving you this job, it’s because they saw something in you.
We talk a lot about the power of mentors, as well as the power of sponsorship. The difference being that a sponsor not only coaches you, they prepare you for the role and advocate for you when you’re not in the room. How do you feel that your mentor did that for you?
First, developing my self-confidence. He took on the role of coach rather than just boss, by asking the questions so that I had to think and come to the answer by myself. Giving me the positive reinforcement I needed so I understood I was doing well. Giving me the space to be myself. It’s really the type of leadership I’m trying to emulate. It’s not about me — I’m the boss, but it’s never about me. It’s about the team. You’re supposed to be there for the people, for the brand, for the company. If they’re doing well, you’re doing well. It’s like giving that platform for your team to present, to learn and to grow. He did that for me very well. He challenged me. He trusted me. He gave me space. When you know you’re good at your job, you can give space to other people. It requires a lot of generosity, caring for others, and being humble, but also a visionary, for the company and for the people. Knowing what that person you’re coaching can do, and helping them see it.
“You also have to trust people — if they’re giving you this job, it’s because they saw something in you.”
How do you intend to develop that same relationship with your team?
I have a team of seven people. When I took the job, I left a small hole behind me, so I promoted people, and that was really nice to give them the chance to grow and to be with them along that growth path. I myself have a coach right now, because in taking this new position I want to be sure I ask myself the right questions, and I take the time to step back. So I asked him, “How can I be not the boss that tells them what to do, but how can I leave the room being confident that they’re going to make the good decision?” I make sure I’m the one who speaks last, not first. I lead with questions. Instead of telling them what to do, I ask them, “Do you have everything you need to make that decision?” I try to coach more than be the boss. Feeling how they’re feeling, observing, being present. People often don’t say how they feel — yesterday, one of my team members looked really tired. So I asked what’s happening. She told me she wasn’t tired, she was mad. So we had a discussion, but only because I opened the door. If I didn’t care or hadn’t seen the difference in her mood, I wouldn’t have been able to see what was the problem and address it.
You have an all female management team in North America. Was that the result of intentional effort, or did it just happen?
My previous boss and I tried to avoid the filters of society that make us look at women differently than men. I have people on my team who are really shy, who don’t speak up for themselves. If you are observant, and see their strengths, you see they have the potential. It’s been a few years of promoting people that are doing their job really well, but aren’t necessarily speaking for themselves. So, while it was not planned, if you’re careful, and you really look at people and their strengths and filter out the female vs. male biases, you’ll have more women naturally moving up.