Local Dubai #Trendsetter – Marianne Berthelot
In Conversation With The Ambitious and Accomplished Marianne Berthelot
So the idea of interviewing Marianne (whose been one of my friends for years now,) came about due to when I noticed how hard she works, how much time she invests into her relationships that matter to her and still always manages to look amazing! In this interview we ask her how she manages to balance a full time demanding career, being a wife, a friend, a sister and a daughter as well as all about her fashion preferences!
Nadia Karmali – NK
Marianne Berhelot – MB
NK – So Marianne how long have you been in Dubai for?
MB – It will be 8 years this August, it’s unbelievable how fast time flies! I had originally planned to come to Dubai for 1- 2 years maximum, and then I ending up meeting and falling in love, with my now husband! I initially had a whole plan to work for my previous company, and then move to China to work for the Shanghai Expo 2010. I had even started learning Chinese during my Masters, and came to Dubai with all my studying materials. However I ended up leaving learning Chinese and focused on Arabic instead!
NK – And how long have you been in the communications field?
MB – I have been working in the field for about 10 years now, and I still work with the same amount of passion as I did when I first started out!
NK – How did you get into the field?
MB – I was 17 and about to do my baccalaureat (the entry exam to University) when I started thinking about what direction and what career path I wanted to go down. I knew I was bad at math but good at languages, like English, Italian and Spanish, so I needed to find a job that would encompass my particular skill set. I had studied economics for my baccalaureat, so I ended up buying a book on what the possible university career opportunities there were. At that time, I knew that I wanted to find something with languages, but above all with an application for a career. That was when I decided corporate communications was the way to go for me! So with my degree in one hand and my luggage in the other, I moved to a city called Grenoble. It was only a mere 300 km away from my home town in France, but for a country girl like me was a big change! The town I grew-up in, Sallanches, was very small, so for the first time in my 18 years I had to learn how to take the bus! After two years there, driven by my passion for languages, I managed to do my second year mandatory internship in Genova, Italy, when I was 19. After perfecting my Italian I decided that Spanish would be the next language I wanted to tick off my list, so I applied for a scholarship to do my 3rd year of university in Malaga, Spain. After all this, I returned to France and chose Paris to complete my studies where I did my Masters. Money wasn’t plenty at this time, so I had to live in an area which was not so safe, but by that point my trips and adventures had helped me become street smart and navigate through any kind of trouble!
NK – How does it feel having reached where you are today?
MB – The simple answer is that it feels amazing! I truly think that if I was to die today (God forbid!), I would have absolutely no regrets! However, having now accomplished most of the goals I set for myself for my 20’s, I now feel the urge to set myself a new vision and new goals for my 30’s, (so that I don’t become complacent and lose my drive in life!) I think that there’s some sort of turning point moving from your 20’s to the 30’s; lots of people feel the urge to have accomplished big things professionally and personally, but life is full of surprises so it’s important not to compare yourself too much! Just think about what you really want to do, what you want to become by the time you are past your 40’s, and above all do what makes you happy!
NK – How do you manage to balance such a demanding career, being a wife and still look FAB?
MB – I have to say I contest to you using me and the word fabulous in the same sentence, you really are too kind! I would say I’ve taken the principles of Stephen Covey’s book, ‘ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ to heart. In the book he describes the multiple roles a person has in life; for instance for me being a wife, a co-worker, a daughter, a sister and also an individual. There are several roles I must fulfill to keep a balance in my life! The essence of the book is to make sure you remind yourself of these different roles, so that if you can’t get support from one relationship in life you can always have the others lean on. As you’ve invested just as enough time and energy into all of them!
NK – How would you describe your sense of style?
MB – I would say I like to combine comfort and style whenever possible, my choices are more often practical rather than extravagant! The most important thing for me with clothes is to have the choice of colours, styles, and an outfit for every occasion! I actually sort out my clothes by colour and type, so that it’s easier to choose what to wear in the mornings. I like to take inspiration from magazines or the net, especially when it comes to assembling colours. Even though I grew up in the West, I’m quite conservative when it comes to my work outfit choices, my moto is, to be classy with a twist of style! You would never find me going to work with open toe shoes, shorts, spaghetti tops and mini-skirts. These are a big NO NO for me!
NK – What’s your favourite article of clothing/accessory that you can’t live without?
MB – For me it’s jewellery. I absolutely LOVE my jewellery cupboard! Every morning I dress up first and then go to my jewellery cupboard to choose what matches my outfit! If I’m going out, I like to wear a statement piece like an extravagant necklace or earrings. I try not to layer-up jewellery, so if I’m wearing long earrings I’d pair it with a simple necklace. At work, I make sure to wear simple and classy jewellery. Pearls are amongst my favourite, even though they are a bit old fashioned, they immediately give your outfit a stylish edge, (Marianne is French after all!)
NK – Who is your style icon?
MB – Interestingly enough, I don’t have a style icon! I’m still searching for my style soul mate and even though I don’t always agree with my husband’s outfit choices, I must say he has a great sense of style!
NK – What’s your favourite brand?
MB – For bags I would say Lancel is one of my favorites. For clothes, I like Mango, Ted Baker and Zara. I always believe that you don’t need to splash a lot of cash to look good! It’s all in the details of the ensemble and in the confidence with which you carry yourself! One brand I also rely on to find my trousers is Promod. Every single trouser I try there always fits me to perfection, as if they were tailor made just for me! I think we all have our favorites shops, but it’s nice to know which ones you can rely on to find what you need, when you need it!
NK – And finally, what’s your next venture in life? Are you planning on staying in Dubai for the next couple of years?
MB – We never know what life is made of, but I definitely want to continue to challenge myself both professionally and personally: explore the world, learn a new language, meet people from different cultures I’ve never come across before! I believe it’s very important to set a new vision for yourself at every juncture of life! Sometimes we are very good at setting professional goals, and tend to forget that it is equally important to do the same with our personal lives! Once you have a vision, you might not draw a straight line to it, but you can put a plan in place with specific goals to drive yourself towards it! What happens in between is not always in our control, but life is about living, so making the most of it is all that matters ultimately!
Some of the Key Moments in Marianne’s life
(The reason Marianne, stayed back in Dubai, LOVE!)
(Marianne was selected by her company, Dow to be the official torch bearer of the Winter Olympics in Russia, on January 24, 2014.)
Marianne Berthelot, is the Business Communications Manager for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics for the Middle East, Africa & Turkey.