Julie Therond is the general manager of Longchamp Australia and New Zealand and has worked with the fashion brand since 2012. With an extensive career in marketing and retail, having previously worked in Paris, China and Hong Kong, where she was a sales director, before coming to Australia to head Longchamp’s ANZ operations from Sydney. Therond speaks to how the 2020 pandemic provided an additional challenge just six months after moving to Sydney for her new role. Inside Retail: Tell me about
ut your career journey. How did you get into the retail industry, and what are some of the different roles you’ve held along the way? Julie Therond: I started at Longchamp almost 12 years ago in the Hong Kong office as an Apac area manager, before being promoted to Apac sales director. I was in charge of all the Apac markets where we had franchisee partners and also all the duty-free partnerships, from Japan to Australia. When the decision came to buy back the Australian business from our distributor, I was offered to move to Sydney to open the Longchamp Australia affiliate. IR: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you dealt with them? JR: Moving a family with two very young children to the other side of the world, while starting a new management role, in a non-existent structure where everything had to be done, was the biggest challenge I had to deal with personally and professionally. Covid happened six months after having moved to Sydney and disrupted the original timeline and plans. IR: What are some of your career highlights so far? JR: I am very grateful for my international and multicultural experience with 14 years of experience in Asia, in Shanghai and Hong Kong and five years in Australia so far. Having worked closely with so many different countries, nationalities and cultures through my previous Apac roles, and also today in Australia, has been so enriching and has impacted the manager I am today. IR: What do you love about your job? JR: In my role, I love to be across all the different departments daily. From finance to marketing, from operations to strategy. I love the broadness of my role. I love to see the results of the actions implemented and to be at the forefront of the brand development and its establishment in the Australian market. IR: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your line of work? JR: I believe having experience in all the client touchpoints – retail, e-commerce, etc – will help to develop a full understanding of the operation side of the business, grow managerial skills and allow the capacity to give a big-picture point of view. IR: What are some key leadership lessons you’ve picked up throughout your career? JR: Transparency and altruism. To me, the best leaders who manage to have people following them are the ones who are sincere in their work relationship and make decisions for the good of the team or the company and not for their interest only. I believe a lot in transparent communication and collaborative approach. IR: What advice would you give someone wanting to move up the corporate ladder? JR: If you are ambitious, work hard and be patient. Things don’t happen by accident and in one day. Make sure to be strategic instead of opportunistic in your career choices. It is key to have solid experiences to build strong foundations and knowledge through stability. Be one step ahead and always think about where this new role could bring you after always having an objective in mind and making sure your choice is aligned with your career goal. IR: Where do you go for career advice? JR: My professional network mainly. I like to explore people’s career paths, understand what they have done before settling into their current roles and see how they project themselves in the future. IR: Do you have any business heroes? JR: Recently I was impressed by Leena Nair who became Chanel’s first-ever global CEO of Indian origin with experience in HR and a global consumer goods company. Her career path is very admirable. It was great to see that there is not only one way to achieve great things. I am also very inspired by Jacinda Arden and the way she has led a country with empathy and compassion in a successful way.