My V.I.E. Story: Marie Silvestre, international trainee at Pernod Ricard
In which company are you working and what is your role as a V.I.E?
I am working as a Champagne and Cognac Brand Ambassador for Pernod Ricard in South Africa, based in Johannesburg. Pernod Ricard is a convivial, responsible and successful global wine and spirits group number 2 worldwide that includes 240 premium brands available in over 160 countries.
As a Brand Ambassador specialized only on our Champagne and Cognac Houses: G.H.Mumm Champagne, Perrier-Jouet Champagne and Martell Cognac, my role revolves around spreading curiosity about our products and our Houses heritage, reassuring consumers the House’s credentials. Therefore, I am organizing tastings, trainings, masterclasses, creating experiences where people can discover more about our brands. Additionally, I train our clients: bars, restaurants and hotels staff on our products and their categories explaining in detail how it is crafted. As the face of the brand I also deal with public relationships making sure our Houses get the right media exposure (on TV, radio, press, social media etc) and finally, I am also supporting the Marketing, Digital and Commercial team on some projects.
Considering your background, what did you bring to your company as a V.I.E., and what did this professional experience bring back to you?
Before working for Pernod Ricard, I was graduated from Grenoble Ecole de Management Business School, in France. Thanks to my studies, I had the opportunity to live, work and study in 5 countries over 4 different continents: Canada, Scotland, USA, China and now South Africa.
Then I had different experiences as an intern in the beverage industry for 6 months in USA and in the luxury cosmetics industry for 1 year in Paris.
As I have always been passionate about travelling and living abroad, this V.I.E as a Brand Ambassador in South Africa was a unique opportunity for me to continue on my international path which also fits in my career goals in order to evolve in the Marketing and Digital world.
This experience was one of the most enriching I experienced, from living in a country with so many different cultures, languages to working with different consumers, clients, media and even internally with all Pernod Ricard Departments, I can say that I am today very flexible especially with the COVID-19 pandemic that was a very complicated period for my company as we faced different “alcohol ban”, I had to always adapt and find innovative and creative solutions to face these challenges.
How would you describe your experience in your host country?
Being a V.I.E in South Africa was an amazing experience for me, on a professional and personal level. I have been able to meet so many different people during these 2 years that were all very convivial, warm, and welcoming. All Pernod Ricard South Africa made me feel extremely welcomed and comfortable, it is like being part of a family now, a family that made me grow professionally and personally.
Also, the country is extremely beautiful with all kind of landscapes: game reserves, mountains, ocean, forests etc and it is very easy to travel internally either by flight or by car.
What tips would you give to future V.I.E. coming, or wishing to come, to South Africa?
I would say please do not read too much about the negative information on South Africa that you can find online, of course it is very important to learn about the security rules and how to live in the country but do not over inform yourself. South Africa, as we say “the Rainbow nation” is a country with amazing people, rich history, incredible landscapes and many professional and business opportunities. I would recommend 100% South Africa to enjoy fully your experience as a V.I.E.
Contact us for more information about the VIE international internship program.