The members of our leadership team come from diverse backgrounds, have a wealth of expertise and hold various views of the world. This diversity of perspectives is what makes us a rich, inclusive and strong collective. In this series of articles, we sat down with some of our leaders to discover their own unique POV on B4H (business for humans).
Is there such a thing as work-life balance? When you work a lot (or too much), how can you claim that your work and personal life take equal space in your daily life?
After a marathon of more than 20 years in marketing, both in agencies and on the client side, Julie Brault wondered about this balance. Unable to conceive of the fact that work was taking up too much space in her life, she took a leave of absence to reflect and recalibrate.
“I had a rich but way too crazy work life, this insane pace where the human behind the work gets forgotten. The previous two years had been particularly difficult for me. We had just adopted a three-year-old girl, under the guardianship of the DPJ (social services department), who needed a lot of love and support, when we found out that my husband had cancer,” says Julie. “He had to undergo several operations and chemotherapy. Thankfully, everyone’s doing well today! After this period of stress, sadness and intense uncertainty, I needed to take a sabbatical to refocus and recharge. After a few months of rest, I read an article by Sébastien Fauré about the Humanise Collective. And after talking with him and Jean-Sébastien Monty, I really wanted to learn more about the collective.”
Julie had already realized that the next step for her had to offer an environment and organizational culture that considered the human being behind the work, not just getting results and meeting objectives. So she accepted the position of Executive Director at U92, our digital marketing agency, which was in the midst of a transformation when she arrived.
“This was an opportunity to build something new, where technology would serve people in a work environment focused on flexibility, development and the wellness of the talent. At U92,” explains Julie, “we rethink digital and omnichannel ecosystems to optimize the user experience and innovate, and it’s our collaborative approach that empowers the client to achieve their business goals. We’re very close to our clients, and we accompany them on a creative and strategic journey every step of the way.”
With a holistic approach to leadership and managing resources, Julie leads with the understanding that great service is not just about perfect projects. It’s about educating, being supportive and eliminating surprises. “We want to demystify what we do for our clients and make it personal. If you’re tasked with developing a brand new digital environment, you have to make sure that you not only meet your objectives, but that the client stays involved throughout the process. There are so many elements that need to be integrated and approved, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to collaborate to achieve excellence, without running up against surprises.”
Moments of truth
More than just “tecky,” as Julie puts it, the U92 team is made up of strategists, thinkers, creatives and “digital facilitators”. “We whisper in our clients’ ears to support and guide them to their objectives, just like horse whisperers whisper in horses’ ears to build trust and complicity and guide them.”
Julie, who lives on a farm and owns several horses, explains that “proposing something that people don’t want, understand or need is out of the question. Listening to what people say and understanding the challenges of our clients and the industry is what it’s all about. So many moments of truth come up along the way, and it’s our job to hear them.”
Passionate about her leadership role, Julie still has much to accomplish. “Some things have always been clear: we’re in a people business, and that means we have to listen, be proactive and always be generous. We take the time to get to know our clients, and we nurture our relationships, because at the end of the day, they nurture us too. From this standpoint, we know who we are and we’re always reinventing ourselves. There is so much room to grow.”
Julie brings all her humanity to her relationships, whether she’s with clients or with her team of experts. “We are very fortunate to be part of Humanise. Rather than separating work and life, and thus prioritizing work life over personal life, we invite everyone to be themselves, to talk about themselves and what’s going on in their lives: to be human. This adds colour and richness to our environment, and ultimately, it’s the only way to truly feel more than just work-life balance. When you can be yourself at work, that’s just what life is all about.”