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Meet the FACC Ambassador: Mathilde Bernard, Executive Director of Sud de France USA
Member news | January 02, 2020
Mathilde Barnard, FACC Ambassador and Executive Director of Sud de France USA, plays an influential role in bringing products from the Occitanie/ Mediterranean Pyrenees region in the south of France to the American market.
Keep reading to learn more about her activities at Sud de France and what her core values are as a leader and how they have helped bring success to the organization in the U.S.
FACC: What is one characteristic that you believe distinguishes you as a leader and ultimately benefits the Sud de France’s culture?
MB: One thing I always strive for is transparency and fairness. As a critical interaction point between the Occitanie region and the American market, it’s crucial that all parties have an absolutely clear and unobscured view of the path forward.
Fairness is one characteristic that I believe is the most important as it creates a trustworthy relationship based on an honest exchange. I try to always stay as fair as possible regarding the decision I make for my team, our partners, and the producers alike gathered under the Sud de France brand. A brand representing fairly their companies will grow bigger and stronger.
FACC: How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your core values?
MB: Anytime a difficult decision is made, the focus should be on asking the right questions, understanding the operating parameters, and eventually making a data driven decision. As a regional economic development agency, we try our best to support and guide everyone even if we must go beyond our job requirements. What we care the most about at the end, it is to see everyone succeed.
FACC: What current trends are you seeing in the organic food industries in France and the U.S.?
MB: Most of the trends we are seeing currently are oriented probiotics, healthy foods, fermented drinks (like the Kombucha). We can see that the consumers tend to go towards a healthier lifestyle, especially in the US and more specifically New York. The vegan diet is also more adopted by the French consumers, it is a trend that is settling, and I think we will see more and more products commercialized to answer this demand.
FACC: How do you keep your employees and team members alike keen and motivated?
MB: In my experience, it’s key to balance giving people work that challenges and develops them with meeting business priorities. Listening carefully and addressing concerns in a caring and thoughtful way strengthens trust and motivation. I also always make sure that every team member can express their opinions on the different projects we are working on and leaving them the space to be autonomous and creative on their own missions.
FACC: What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on this year? Why so? (Not necessary to name the client)
MB: Every year we organize a wine trade tasting to put in touch 30 wine producers and over 90 wine buyers from all over the USA and Canada called Sud de France Calling! In 2019, we had over 120 buyers that came to our tasting. It was the biggest crowd we welcomed since the start of our agency. We are proud because Sud de France is getting more and more renowned among the wine world in the USA but also in Canada.
FACC: How has your FACC-NY membership helped you and Sud de France grow in the U.S.?
MB: The FACC helped me connect with a various number of contacts from different industries that I would never have had the chance to connect with outside of my FACC membership. It helped me to communicate and promote the Sud de France brand with a new crowd of consumers and professionals. I’m sure the best is yet to come!
Interested in connecting with Mathilde? Log into the FACC Member Directory to send her a message.
Meet all the current FACC Ambassadors and connect with an Ambassador today to learn more about the benefits of the FACC-NY binational network and membership.