Emmanuelle Guerin shares her journey to becoming PPG general manager of the Industrial Coatings Business for EMEA, what she’s learned along the way, her passion, her family and, importantly, how to clear her mind.
Life before PPG
After completing her business administration degree, she built her experience by working in a variety of roles, including key account manager, customer service, supply chain manager, project manager, product manager, and sales and marketing management. Eventually, she found her way to business management roles with a multi-country focus.
Before joining the PPG family, Emmanuelle worked for nearly 20 years in the chemical industry for raw materials producers of rubber and engineering plastics, serving automotive, aerospace, and chemical processing markets. She also spent some time in the USA before returning to work in Europe at the headquarters in Switzerland.
Motivated by Collective Brilliance
Now in her fourth year at PPG, Emmanuelle is impressed by how engaged the company is in cultural transformation despite being so large and 136 years old. We don’t just talk the talk, and she’s proud to be a part of that change.
I like the challenge of transforming our business for accelerated growth. It is very satisfying when we manage to unlock a challenge or achieve significant results as a team through collective brilliance.
As general manager, she oversees business for EMEA and works with her team to drive sustainable business growth. She finds working in an industrial environment exciting, with many opportunities and interesting jobs to do.
Pictured from left: Pedro Serret-Salvat, general counsel EMEA; Isabella Ercole, plant manager, Quattordio & managing director of PPG Industries Italy; Emmanuelle
Diversity in Technology
Traditionally, women are not well represented in technical sectors, and Emmanuelle says that for many years, she was one of few in her teams.
Evolving in a technical and industrial environment requires persistence and extra effort to establish credibility, be recognized as competent, and respected whether internally or externally.
But she also says it may not be solely the case for women, and that it varies greatly.
Take Industrial Coatings EMEA in our European Technical center in Marly, many of our technical managers are women, and they are very successful.
But, she adds, there is still work to do to improve diversity in commercial and technical support functions.
PPG is supportive, and I can see that it really tries to talk the talk on diversity commitment, but there is always more to be done. We have to continue driving diversity in senior management functions in particular in our industrial coatings European leadership team.
Finding the Work-Life Balance
Emmanuelle loves to spend time with her family, especially her two daughters. They enjoy bike riding, hiking, skiing and just spending time at home together.
I allocate time blocks in my work calendar well in advance for specific activities that I do not want to miss with my family, and I plan around that.
But she doesn’t feel the work-life balance always works out perfectly. She says it takes planning and deliberate intention otherwise work can take over fully, which can be unhealthy.
She also systematically tries to take 30 minutes for herself every day. For her, being outdoors and doing sports is important as she finds taking that distance helps her clear her mind, process challenges, find solutions and manage stress.
I see myself as a change agent leading the organization to raise the bar and continuously improve to do better today than yesterday, every day!
There are challenges in every job, and sometimes it can be really tough. But it is those experiences Emmanuelle feels have equipped her with a toolbox for her current role.
My takeaway after all these years is that I learnt the most from the roles with the biggest stretch relative to my comfort zone.
Her great passion for what she does sees her getting completely engaged. Her persistent nature means she never gives up and that resilience enables her to handle any difficult moments.
However, if she were to give her younger self advice, it would be that there is a right time for everything and you need to step back and get perspective. Try to be like water, going around boulders – what doesn’t move today, may present a window of opportunity soon. Be patient, then cease your moment. After all, it is those moments that Emmanuelle seized along the way that have brought here to where she is today.
Team building with Industrial commercial leadership team Robert Byrne, technical service manager EMEA (left), Sijmen Visser, segment manager APAF EMEA (Middle)