Today, we exchange with Valentine Malivel, an alumni student from the LFS Promotion 2016, who spent her Grades 11 and 12 on our Qingpu campus. Now living in Paris, Valentine works at L’Oréal.
Hello Valentine, it is a pleasure to take the time to discuss. Could you introduce yourself in a few words and tell us about your time at the LFS?
Hello, my name is Valentine, and I was in the LFS Promotion 2016, I did my Grades 11 and 12 in Qingpu, where I passed a Baccalaureate ES (Economics & Social Science). I am very grateful for the education received at the LFS. Our teachers were of high quality and with the extracurricular activities, I was able to get into journalism as well as United Nations simulations (MUN – Model United Nations).
As an anecdote, I was 15 the first time I came to China. I lived with a Chinese family for two weeks as part of a school exchange when I was living in Brussels. I was lucky to be welcomed by a kind family who opened my eyes on their culture, so rich and different from my own. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, on both a human and intellectual levels because it gave me the keys to understand our globalised world. My parents can remember when I went back home, I had sparkles in my eyes, and by chance, a few months later, my father had the opportunity to take us to live in Shanghai.
What did you do after your graduation at the LFS?
After graduation, I went to UCL (University College London) to study a Bachelor’s in International Relations, with a specialisation in environmental public politics; I was able to obtain a scholarship to deepen my knowledge at Shanghai Jiaotong University.
During my second year, I had the opportunity to participate in a competition of social start-up creation, which opened my eyes on creating projects which have an impact, entrepreneurship, and social intrapreneurship. The following year I did an exchange in Barcelona and specialised in entrepreneurship and Spanish.
Following my Bachelor’s, I had the opportunity to do a Master’s degree in sustainable development at HEC and continue my volunteering work within a charity organisation, 180 Degrees Consulting (180 DC), the biggest consulting association for NGOs and social startups in the world.
It has been over two years now, and what I love the most with this NGO is the positive impact we have with our beneficiaries and the people I have met along the way, because they bring me the international perspective necessary to apprehend the world and the impact we have collectively.
I am very happy to be able to continue working within an NGO alongside my daily job, to multiply my impact and cultivate beautiful friendships with the other volunteers.
Why choosing social and ecology issues?
I am lucky to have grown up within a family where both my parents were expats, and thus, enabled me to live and grow up in 8 countries. These incredible experiences pushed me to realise social and environmental inequalities do exist. I think I feel indebted to have an impact.
During my education at the LFS, I was involved with several NGOs likeHabitat for Humanity which helped homeless people, A Pleines Mainswhich helped disadvantaged people, and Mifan Mama, for disabled orphans. I first started to work around social issues before realising that preserving the environment was also a clause close to my heart, especially because climate change will have a significant impact on social condition of all societies around the world.
How do you feel at L’Oréal?
L’Oréal is a group walking towards its ecological transition to decrease its environmental impact, which is what attracted me the most when I did my first internship within the group in RSE (Corporate Social Responsibility).
You have to admit that, as any big group, there is still a long way to go in order to be more virtuous, but I am witnessing a true wish to change. Besides, I have been lucky to meet inspiring mentors who have enabled me to develop my social intrapreneurship skills, to concretely contribute to the transition of this field, and to learn daily.
And in Paris?
I am French and yet had never lived in France before Covid. I arrived in Paris by train two years ago, during the President’s speech regarding the lockdown, and have been loving it since then. Paris is a very cosmopolitan and culturally rich city. At every street corner, you can find a great exhibition or an awesome restaurant to try, so you never have time to get bored!
What would you advise students who are considering diving into a field linked with the environment?
I would recommend students to test and gain practical experience, to do internships in different types of organisations and roles. I particularly like the concept of Ikigai, a Japanese concept which gives everyone his/her reason to be, based on 4 axes: what you like, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and what you are good at.
We wish her the very best in her journey!