Annabelle Orleac and her environment, health and safety (EHS) team have had a particularly challenging year. A global pandemic plus the implementation of a new EHS business model have made her job extra demanding. But, for Annabelle, this doesn’t stop her. She is able to rely on her positivity and enthusiasm to help her to find that very necessary harmony in her life and work.
Annabelle joined us in 2012 and became our EHS country manager for France manufacturing and for French Overseas and Suriname in 2018.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my team progress. To be exchanging, influencing, and moving forward together.
She is responsible for defining methods and processes for implementing EHS management systems and regulations. With her team, Annabelle assigns priorities, supports sites in their actions, recognizes good practices and explores prevention methods and more.
It is hard to imagine what a difficult and challenging year the team have had. It’s one of the reasons Annabelle is a strong advocate of the human and organizational performance (HOP) process that helps manage deviations. HOP is the idea that all human interactions with equipment, process, organizations or people, influence our decisions and actions. This can drive us to make errors, but we can also act differently to avoid or limit our error rate. She calls it a “driving force in our organization”.
I am convinced that our culture can greatly evolve by applying these principles.
A Conference Call Agenda Explosion
The pandemic might have asked all of us to do things differently, but at the same time, the EHS team was in the middle of implementing a new EHS business model per country. It's been a period of rare intensity, pressure, and unknowns.
While Annabelle was pleased to be working at home and at her own rhythm, her conference call agenda “exploded”.
I've broadened my capacity for decision making, working and being available to others.
In fact, 2020 has been such a busy year that a colleague recently said to her jokingly, "Hey, before COVID… we didn't work, did we?”
Above it all, Annabelle says the time has confirmed her connection with life and her priorities.
“Nothing Is Impossible, Everything Can Change”
Being the positive and enthusiastic person she is, it is logical that Annabelle is a mentor. She is also a professional coach externally. She uses all of this experience to help people overcome the barriers they encounter and to develop their skills.
It allows me to help people find the resources within themselves to remove blockages in their professional or personal lives and to find their own solutions. I believe that nothing is impossible, that everything can change.
She enjoys her role as coach because it “harmonizes” with who she is and provides an important balance to her life.
Do what makes sense to you, be aligned. But remember, you have the right to make mistakes, change your mind, and start over.
Being Serious Doesn’t Stop You From Having Fun!
Annabelle believes there is always time in any job to laugh and play. In fact, she has excellent memories of singing with “The Dirty Shoes” music band at PPG wellness and open facility days in 2016.
Annabelle with her colleague Valerie Paul singing with “The Dirty Shoes” music band in Marly
But how does she handle her work-life balance? Like many of us, Annabelle finds her mind is still connected to work during family and friends time. However, unless there's an emergency, she disconnects on weekends and holidays.
Breaks are essential to recharge my batteries. If, on top of that, I’m in the middle of the great outdoors, then life is perfect!
Moving Mountains in EHS
Things have changed, but when Annabelle started in the EHS field 15 years ago, it was still considered to be a role for men, and in the production field, even more so: “I sometimes feel like I have to prove myself all the time, that I have to be strong.”
But in the end, she says, the most important thing is to be authentic, and to remember that “no one can know everything”.
In fact, putting things in perspective, constantly asking yourself questions, and facing challenges one step at a time, are some of Annabelle’s mottos.
The one who moves the mountain is the one who starts by moving small stones, step by step.
Annabelle with her daughter Léana in Boston in 2017