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Q&A with Imane Jelloul, Head of Operations of ArcelorMittal University - Master Coach

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Imane Jelloul, Head of Operations of ArcelorMittal University - Master Coach.

How could you describe your career path in few words?

In one sentence that would be a wonderful and exciting journey of 19 years’ experience of a woman leader in the steel industry .

I actually started as an automation engineer, freshly graduated, in the project team of the first steel making plant in my country “Morocco”, a challenging and exciting project where I had the chance to be one of the first women in the world to head of production of a modern steel plant in 2008 and 2009. In parallel I prepared my Executive MBA with Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and moved afterwards to a more transversal role leading operational excellence for the 4 industrial units of the group before I was asked in 2013 to take in charge the startup of a new unit upstream of the steel plant.

During the 15 years spent in operations, I discovered my passion for the human and realized that my greatest satisfaction comes from the development of my teams; accompanying them to develop their capabilities, their autonomy and see them grow gave me real pleasure and that's how I took the opportunity to move to Luxembourg and join the group corporate HR department 4 years ago where I had the chance to work on global learning and development processes and took a step forward on an important personal project, preparing my certification as a professional coach and focus on leadership and personal development.

What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset?

My most challenging experience was definitely the startup of the steelmaking plant and it’s ramp up with a young and non-experienced team. Being a woman in an industry dominated by men made it even more challenging and difficult but I quickly understood that being self-confident, developing team spirit and peoples’ capabilities together with a strong will and a smart use of my own strengths can make miracles.

This made me as well so resilient, empathetic and a result-oriented leader. I will be always grateful for those who trusted me for such an important role that made me the leader I am today.

When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?

I would say that I’m not so surprised by unusual or uncertain context, I leant through my experience that change is the only thing fixed in our lives. I believe in change and growth mindset and feel always ready to embrace it, should it be on the right direction of course, and my first reaction would be curiosity more than anything else; I need to understand what it is about, what is at stake and generally speaking build significance so that I can quickly be actor of change and not only adapt or react to it.

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader/manager?

Based on my own experience, the key success factor for a female leader/manager is to be self-confident, believe she’s equal to man and deserve the same opportunities in life and more. This is not so obvious for many women who has grown up in a conservative and patriarchal culture and will need some deep work on own biases and self-awareness.

This may seem obvious when we are young as in most cases, we are rejecting the inherited traditional models and would like to prove ourselves; What I’m speaking about here, is building self confidence in time as a mature female leader on strong basis which might be simply remembering and being proud of the achievements we have reached in the past and build on learned lessons and that would be my advice to all woman leaders as I truly believe it’s key for success.

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