Tell us about your career journey
My journey in life has always been quite natural but very unusual. I followed one opportunity after the other, never fearing the unknown and always quite upbeat about taking on a new challenge because I am a very curious person who loves discovering new horizons (and who gets easily bored!). That is how I went from studying marketing to international finance in Japan. When I repatriated to Switzerland, I was hired by the US tax department at Deloitte Switzerland in Geneva where I worked for three years, before taking on new roles in international mobility at Firmenich and then Cargill.
A few years and two babies later, I left the international corporate world to look after our children and find some real work-life balance. I then started my own company, making bespoke birthday cakes. Two years ago, I turned 40, and that is when my husband convinced me to pursue my life-long dream: to become a published author. In 2020, I published four children books for Auzou Suisse and there are more to come in 2021. It is a dream come true!
How did Deloitte set you up for your career or finding your purpose in life?
Deloitte was my first real permanent job after my studies. It gave me a world of opportunities, plenty to learn and plenty to look forward to. I will always remember Yvon de Coulon, the partner that welcomed me with the words “US tax? Well, fear not, that is an excellent start in life. That is how I myself started at Deloitte.” when I started. It was such a lovely thing to say. I also loved the flexibility of working early or late as our department was very dynamic in that respect, and I was lucky to have great colleagues. The most important thing Deloitte gave me perhaps, was my husband! He joined Deloitte Geneva almost two years after I started and it was love at first sight. We have been together 16 years now.
Where do you see your journey taking you, either professionally or personally?
Personally, I do think I have everything I could dream of (apart from more hours in a day!). Professionally, I would like to also publish for adults, as well as my novels for children.
What is one positive memory you have of working at Deloitte?
I have lots! At Deloitte I discovered "feel good” English novels with one of my colleagues. I also loved the "pizza nights” during busy season when we were working so late to finish as many US tax returns as we could manage. Going horse riding during lunch break is also a fond memory, since I was a very early bird and a late worker, I was able to enjoy the sunshine at midday! And of course, the day I met my husband, but that goes without saying – I still remember it as clear as day.
Séverine writes under the pen name of Philippine de Gréa and you can find her on various social media networks. Some of her recent books include Les Véhicules et Engins de Chantier Suisses, Marguerite et Madame de Staël: Un Espion au Château de Coppet and Les P’tits Atlas des cantons Suisses: Genève.