Season 7 Episode 7: ‘I try to help people grow and evolve in a way that’s good for both them and us’—Sanofi, Empowering Life and its employees

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Get a transcript of this episode, and a special bonus debrief episode at the link below.


Celia Berenguer. since November 2017 Chief Learning Officer at European-headquartered Life Sciences giant Sanofi, couldn’t have been more excited getting ready to press the ‘Go’ button a new Sanofi University. Then, as we hear on this latest episode in our on-going Season 7 look at Purpose in the modern enterprise, a certain novel coronavirus decided to mess with her plans. This is a story, then, about not just how she and her L&D team had to help flip the company to remote working, but what to do about that whole corporate Learning endeavor.

Celia—a graduate of Tufts who’s held senior Learning roles in organizations including Barclays, BP, and the Harvard Business School—tells me and this week’s co-interviewer, RedThread Research’s Dani Johnson, not just how she won through, but how a renewed Sanofi focus on Purpose driven by its new CEO, Paul Hudson, helped her work through many of her most difficult issues.

A way we decide to understand all this is that COVID’s been a way to help L&D see that what it needs to offer is access to skills and support for talent mobility that makes sense for the individual, the company’s and their own Purpose of ‘Empowering Life:’ Purpose, perhaps, as more bottom-up than top-down, compared to other companies we’ve profiled in our exploration of ‘Is Purpose Working?’

Expect to hear a lot of honest reflection on the first steps of an amazing journey, then, as well as all the countries you need to live in to end up with that accent, the fun and challenge of working with 140 nationalities working hard on everything from general medicines to consumer healthcare to vaccine creation, as well as:

  • how she’s seen the Pandemic throw out the talent rulebook and end standard career pathways
  • how Learning at Sanofi has a new focus, aligned to getting products out there to help patients
  • the contribution to making Purpose explicit by her new CEO
  • why she sees L&D as the source of all the support mechanisms and development tools that can bring that Purpose to life for people
  • democratizing and sharing Learning in a crisis
  • and so much more.

Celia is on LinkedIn here, her employer, Sanofi, here

Sanofi’s ‘Empowering Life’ Purpose statement

RedThread’s Purpose work is here

Finally, don’t forget that the NovoEd-hosted Season 7 overall microsite hosts all these episodes as well as much, much more—and that’s where you can quickly get online registration for the final Q1 2021 webinar.

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