Valérie Barlois Leroux
Sales director, residential programs, Center Region, Bouygues Bâtiment Centre Sud-Ouest / Team gold medal and individual silver medal in épée at the Atlanta Olympics (1996)
Tell us about your career in the Group.
Bouygues Construction had a policy for hiring high-level athletes, so I was pre-recruited during my second year at the ESCP business school. I joined the company’s HR department when I graduated in 1995. I benefited from a special schedule for my working hours, which was crucial for my sports training. I retired from sports after the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Today I am sales director for residential programs in the Center Region. I haven’t left the world of sports entirely, however. Along with my job, I am chairwoman of the board of the Bordeaux Aquitaine Regional Educational and Sports Center and chairwoman of the Compensation Committee for Paris 2024, the organization handling the bidding for the 2024 Olympics.
What are your best memories?
Winning the medals – those were magnificent moments, filled with emotion. I received about fifty faxes of support and congratulations from my colleagues between my two events, the individual and team competitions. Coming back from the Olympics was extraordinary too. I was invited to have lunch with Martin Bouygues, and I was asked to do things totally out of the ordinary for me, like a fashion show for Paco Rabanne and a photo shoot at Givenchy. Those were very special moments that I won’t forget. I realize I have been very lucky!
What has practicing a sport contributed to your career, and vice versa?
Practicing a sport and working in the Group involve common values: respect, for rules and for other people, commitment, humility – in the right amount – responsibility, personal performance for the group’s benefit. In sports, one’s mental state is very important, and the Group helped me to be stronger mentally.