Meet the Member: Brigitte Gouarin "Change & Optimization" Practice Leader

Member news | May 05, 2021

Meet Brigitte Gouarin, an energetic and passionate Senior Project Manager at Talan with a proven track record of successfully managing and delivering complex projects to deadlines and budgetary targets while achieving substantial business benefits.

1. "Change & Optimization" Practice Leader is not a job title you hear often. Can you share with us a little bit about your unique career path?

I am a Senior Project Manager with over 20 years of consulting experience. At Talan Americas, I am the “Change & Optimization” Practice Leader.

Prior to joining Talan, I worked at top-tier firms including Deloitte and BearingPoint where I specialized in IT/Business transformation programs and Change Management.

I have acquired a strong expertise working for very large global organizations and demonstrated my ability to manage virtual teams and deliver complex programs to deadlines and budgetary targets, while achieving substantial business benefits.

Before moving to New York in 2014, I spent 9 years working in Dublin, Luxembourg, London, and Jersey (British Channel Islands).

2. What drives you in your career?

Change drives me. Whether it is helping customers overcome new challenges through the implementation of IT/business transformation projects or cutting down operating costs, I am passionate about Change & Performance.

I am passionate about:

  • Learning from new experiences and sharing.
  • Working out of my comfort zone, trying, failing, and learning at a faster pace.
  • Increasing clarity & reducing complexity to deliver successful projects.
  • Partnering with my clients to advise & support them to succeed in their major transformation projects.
  • Making a positive impact, contributing to the development of high-performance teams (allow them to learn, grow, and lead).

This passion is why I have been working as a consultant in the Financial Services industry over the last 20 years.

3. How has Talan evolved during the pandemic?

I am very proud of the way Talan Head Office and Management Committee members responded to this crisis.

From the first signals, they anticipated the implementation of restrictive measures such as complete lockdown and curfews. All our management and support teams were 100% operational in working remotely one week before the various announcements were made, which means that we were 100% available to support the transition of our clients and partners. There has been no early termination of any consultant assignment during the pandemic.

Local & proximity management is a strong pilar of Talan culture & mission statement. This later allowed, not only to work together according to different terms / arrangements at a given time, but also to keep a strong relationship within each & every single team, while strengthening the feeling of belonging to a single & unique team. 

Our managers have also strengthened their intimacy with their customers, helping them to adapt, both in terms of processes and/or tools.

It is difficult to mention all the other measures taken internally, but I can emphasize the very strong involvement of management, the monitoring of a periodic survey issued to Talan employees to take the pulse of the teams health and mindset, the use of our global internal social network to share our good news and positive vibes, orders of hardware and miscellaneous equipment (computers, screens, office chairs, copier/scanner, etc. ) and even a VPN card reader for a customer because he was not able to supply it himself.

 Our consultants have also been involved to ensure that their expertise is put at the service of the community. For example, we have developed a free application for a Regional Health Agency in France to enable them to better identify health needs.

Our experts within the «People & Culture» practice issued several publications and hold webinars to help our clients to transition to this “New Normal”.

Different initiatives were suggested to strengthen/boost relationships across teams, create and maintain the feeling of belonging to the same team, such as:

  • Workshops through the Klaxoon platform to make the experience more interactive.
  • Adapt the onboarding process to engage newcomers from the early stages (host virtual coffees, enhanced follow-up in the early days, 1:1 meeting with several teammates during the first week).
  • Strengthen the relationships between manager and his/her team members with regular catch-up meetings to maintain social relationships - and between managers by sharing best practices to improve employee’s efficiency.
  • Set up a virtual "Coffee Break" channel to allow employees to initiate an impromptu and informal user-friendly session with available colleagues.
  • Circulate a "Feel Good" newsletter every week: advice on fitness, cooking recipes, sports training tips, birthday celebrations, etc.
  • Schedule weekly or daily team games and small challenges to maintain the collective and speed up the new joiner’s integration. Here below a few examples:
    • Chinese portraits: guess who is hiding behind the answers.
    • Secret stories: among the 3 proposals associated with a colleague, find the one that is true.
    • Virtual escape rooms, afterworks in Visio, etc.

For me, it was also a special experience as I accompanied one of my clients in setting up its «crisis management organization».

Due to COVID -19, and because of the new social distancing policy, I was requested to monitor the move of 200 traders across 2 locations (Manhattan and New Jersey) within a very tight timeframe (e.g., 6 weeks!).

What’s more, I was requested to rollout DocuSign, electronic signing platform, across the Americas.

Following the successful POC (Proof of Concept) in Paris, the solution’s rollout in New York was achieved in record time. Indeed, because of the lockdown impossibility of sending paper documents to be signed, my client Business representatives and their clients were in need of a secure digital solution.

4. How can FACC members start taking advantage of Talan’s services today?

Talan Americas is probably already working with FACC members in the United States or elsewhere in the world! However, for those we have not yet had the chance to meet, I’ll try to provide you with a brief overview of our capabilities.

Difficult to summarize all of our offers, especially since we have a customer-tailored approach, based on project background, clients’ systems, organization and technological maturity, etc.  More broadly, we assist our clients to create more value by leaning on technological levers. Data mastering  - in all its forms -  is naturally at the heart of all these projects. But we also address use cases based on many ancillary technologies (Artificial Intelligence, IoT, BlockChain, Cloud,…).

Talan’s strong differentiation factor is that we do not just tackle challenges from the angle of an IT project, we combine with agility and pragmatism our consulting & technology expertise and know-how to create substantial value for our customers.

My playing field is “Change & Optimization” and I could spend hours chatting with the FACC members to assist them to overcome their operational & strategic challenges.

For the other topics, I will be happy to put you in touch with our several experts based in the United States, Canada or in Europe.

5. What can we hope to see from Talan in the future?

Talan Americas is in the midst of Talan global expansion.

The recent acquisitions of One Point in Luxembourg this year and Data Partners in the UK last year, are part of our ASC 2024 Strategic plan:

  • Accelerate our transformation.
  • Strengthen our relationships.
  • Conquer new territories.

Our ambition is to quickly create regional champions and to reinforce our value proposition around:

  • Data Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence and Smart Automation
  • Cloud services
  • Smart sourcing, nearshoring (Canada), and shared services centers

The beginning of this year marks a new stage that should enable us to accelerate our growth and considerably expand our playing field!

6. What encouraged you to join the FACC network?

Each Talan presence abroad begins with the support of one of our French customers’ subsidiary. Once this first “trading post” is created, each office grows in its own market, with teams made up of local resources and other consultants, mainly from France. This dual culture is highly appreciated by our clients, French companies of course but also all those who have to work with customers/suppliers/partners in France or who work themselves for a French group.

Joining the FACC network is of course a fantastic opportunity to introduce Talan to all the FACC members, share our expertise and know-how, and leverage on the wide multitude of businesses within the FACC to initiate preliminary discussions & explore potential avenues for future collaboration on various projects.

Meeting with people from different horizons and cultures is essential to learn more about the industry challenges & trends, adapt our services & offers and keep delivering superior value and tangible results to our clients.

This will also bring the opportunity to increase our brand awareness, expand our reach, and encourage those who will be interested to work for a dynamic and fast growing French/American company, in a fast and ever-changing environment & technology, to join us.