Florence CONSTANT, a Woman serving Humanity

After 26 years with the Danone Group, where Florence Constant was one of the first women in France to be appointed as Director for a factory production site, she moved on to join the McCormick Group in 2016, again to direct a production plant at Carpentras. Thursday October 4, 2018, she participated in a special “Boost your CV” Day organized by Tremplin UTC (the UTC alumni association. Below is a portrait of this woman – decorated in 2013 with the insignia of chevalier in the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur - who sees human and collective needs and interests lying at the heart of her preoccupations.

Florence CONSTANT, a Woman  serving Humanity

Maybe it was the harsh nature she grew up with in Auvergne, that gave Florence a taste for accepting hard work, a certain form of realism and also the capacity “to think outside the box”. Put differently, Florence Constant does not hesitate at all to think beyond the common, consensual framework. She will always question orthodox hearsay and widespread opinions. As she herself puts it, the worst brakes to initiative are those we build ourselves and she encourages young people, particular young women, to avoid “any and all forms of self-censure when it comes to professional choices and decisions”. After all, was she not in 2014 one of the first women to be appointed as an industrial Plant Manager in France. She showed a wide sense of openness with respect to her colleagues and staff and as she says, he has the feeling that “nothing can go right until we have a tightly bound team!”

And this inclination for hard work, where did it come from? Partly through practicing and playing high-level basketball, in Bourges where her parent teachers has been appointed... well, until some painful back trouble forced her to stop the basketball 

Her sense of realities? Initially she wanted to become a « vet » - she spent a lot of her free time travelling round the Cher countryside with a professional veterinary doctor, but finally, having given thought to her own future, she opted to do a “classe préparatoire” at the Lycée du arc, Lyon. This choice was due to her interest in agro-food businesses and her deep conviction of the noble aspirations of a sector the finality of which is to feed the planet, with all its “varied and interesting professions”. Succeeding in a number of competitive admission exams, she yet again demonstrated her capacity to think differently and chose to integrate UTC via the analysis of her scholastic dossier rather than go to a classic engineering school (grand école) which she deemed of medium interest. “What I liked in the UTC protocol where my examiner not only took my school marks in account but also assessed my past in basketball and music”. It was an opening that enriched me, by ricochet.

It was during her first professional experience that she acquired a sense for serving others and collective systems. Her appointment was as QA engineer (quality assessment) in a Danone factory unit in Charleville-Mézières in the Ardennes (East France), Florence Constant encountered the archetypal boss “authoritarian, misogynous … old-fashioned management in short”. She decided to adopt exactly the opposite style and format and ever since she demonstrated, in every position she held with the Danone group up till 2016, that creativity, innovation and tem performance only are made possible if “we work together with synergy and complementarity rather than endure rivalry and authoritarianism”.  

The prestigious decoration of Chevalier in the National Order of the French Légion d’honneur, crowns not only an outstanding professional career but her display of human qualities that everyone who knows her readily acknowledges. The insignia were formally granted during the 2013 Agricultural Fair in Paris, by Minister Muriel Pénicaud (Manpower Resources and Employment), former Director of Manpower Resources for the Danone Group. n MSD


Bio-data

1989: graduate engineer UTC majoring in bio-engineering (UTC-GB)

1990: appointed QA (quality assessment) engineer in a Danone factory in Charleville-Mézières (West France)

2013: appointed Plant Manager with the Danone group and decorated with the insignia of chevalier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur

2016: Plant Manager, Production plant in the McCormick Group at Carpentras (South France)