On the 12th and 13th of March I was invited to attend the Women @ Dior program in Paris. An event during which the House of Dior welcomed 200 young women from all over the world as part of a yearlong initiative that pairs Christian Dior employees with female students to help them achieve their career ambitions. The program was an immersive journey to become acquainted with the House and its’ unique heritage, its many professions and métiers, and its leaders, both female and male.
Being part of Dior team in Shanghai, I had the incredible chance to get flown all the way from Shanghai to Paris for the event and got to stay at the Marriott Hotel located in the famous Champs Elysees. Having a good night sleep really helped with the jetlag!
At arrival, we were welcomed by Karin Raguin, one of the main orchestrators of the event. The program was kickstarted by Emmanuelle Favre, SVP Human Resources at Christian Dior Couture. The two days were arranged around three symbolic pillars: the Art of Educating, the Art of Empowering and the Art of Elevating.
Through these three journeys, we got to visit two locations that are usually off-limits: the Dior Héritage service and the Ready-to-Wear and Haute Couture ateliers. Kindly led by Maurizio Liotti, Bernard Danillon and Soizic Pfaff, we discovered and gained an in-depth insight into the fascinating universe of Christian Dior, something not many get to experience. We were also introduced to some of Dior’s Senior Management, who shared their journeys in discussions led by author and director Florence Sandis. I was truly touched by their passion for the House and their drive. Finally, we also discovered and learned about the codes of luxury through workshops given by the experts from the Dior Academy.
To conclude the first day and after a conversation with Dior Senior executives, we were all escorted to a dinner cocktail at Le Belair. We were able to network and get better acquainted with the other mentors and mentees during a fun evening filled with great food and activities. During the evening we could get the temporary tattoos featuring French words and quotes by writer Andre Breton, as seen on the SS18 Haute Couture Runway.
On the second day, we were introduced to key note speakers, such as the sculptor and NASA collaborator Anilore Banon, who presented her project Vitae, which consists of sending one of her sculptures to the moon, the one symbolizing humanity in a million hand prints. We were also invited to experience "the power of voice" through a workshop led by Stéphane de Freitas, founder of the Eloquentia competition and were introduced to the poetic universe by Vincent Avanzi, chief poetic officer.
To close this amazing program we were introduced to Maria Grazia Chiuri in a conversation with Emmanuelle Favre. As a huge admirer of the designer, this was the highlight of my two days in Paris. She expressed the importance of believing in yourself and doing things with passion. She talked about the challenges she has faced during her career and the relevance of art and how it prevails as one of her main sources of inspiration. She also referred to the importance of dreams and the power of emotion as one of the main drivers for the House of Dior.
Overall, it was an incredible opportunity to meet many brilliant people from different backgrounds and cultures and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to attend this year's Women @ Dior. The knowledge and tools I received throughout the program will follow me as I move forward in my career. One of the most valuable lessons I learned is to act on what I can impact: myself. But most importantly, one should dare and not take failure harshly; failure is constructive. Never stay in your comfort zone and believe in yourself. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many strong women. I am very grateful to the Dior team who made this event possible.
The next step after the event is through the mentoring programme. I was paired with Han Jin of Dior Shanghai, who will guide me during the coming year. I look forward his advice and experience to guide me through the following months after I graduate. Thanks to the Women @ Dior programme I really feel that nothing is impossible.
Maria Martin Santasusana
For more information on the MBA that Maria is pursuing: MBA in Luxury Brand Management