As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we discover the stories and celebrate the Women of ESSEC SMIB over the week!
Today, Larissa Mascarenhas, current SMIB student, tells us more about what International Women's Day means to her and how she plans to integrate her two greatest passions, social responsibility and luxury, after the SMIB.
Tell us about your background and career path.
I am Larissa Mascarenhas, and I am currently in the Corporate Strategy track of the SMIB program in Cergy, France. I am a former international model and Marketing Consultant at UN Women Brazil.
I am specializing in strategy and management of international business with a specific focus on social responsibility to improve brand awareness in the luxury and the beauty industry.
In 2017, I stopped modeling and went back to Brazil to pursue a degree in marketing and publicity. I believe that was when I truly started to put into action my passion for social responsibility. While I was studying, I coordinated a volunteer project for more than 2 years and also, I started working at the United Nations, first with social protection and then with women’s rights.
Now, after having this mix of diverse experiences along with the academic knowledge in international brand management that I am acquiring at ESSEC, I feel complete to combine my two greatest passions: social responsibility and the luxury industry. My main goal is to work on managing and preserving a brand DNA while tackling today's challenges in social sustainability.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
For me, International Women's Day is a date to reflect, to learn. It is a special day to recognize women and youth for their relentless pursuit of gender equality and human rights.
In addition, it is a day to look back and be grateful to the great and courageous women who fought so that we, women, could vote, study and work as we would like to. I believe it is a day of dialogue, a day for reminding the world that feminism does not strive for perks or superiority but for gender equality in all aspects of our lives.
How have your experiences of working on Inclusive Growth and in UN Women impacted your perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world?
Working at the United Nations with inclusive growth and women’s rights, I started to have a more direct and in-depth contact with the serious issues related to the constant challenges that women are confronted with in our daily lives. In particular, I learned about the efforts that are already being made and those that can still be taken forward in order to help all women overcome many difficult situations.
How do you think we can encourage more females to fulfill their goals and why do you think this is important?
Offering leadership and decision-making positions in large companies and governments, ending gender stereotypes and, mainly, offering support, especially emotional. Women should not have to be warriors all the time, this view of strength bothers me because it only stresses even more that in order to get the same place as men, we need to work harder.
I believe that encouragement should begin in childhood. Girls need to be reminded that they can be whatever they want, that they can play with whatever they want, that there are no typical professions for women and men, but that ALL professions are possible for future careers.
What are your goals after the #ESSECSMIB? How do you plan to integrate your experience in social responsibility with what you've learned from the SMIB program?
My main goal after the SMIB is to integrate a company where their values and commitments are aligned with mine. My dream job is to work with social responsibility in the luxury industry. This way, I will be able to combine my two greatest passions and contribute to the company with my greatest strengths.
The SMIB was a great contributor to what I am today and what I want to build in the near future. Before ESSEC, I thought I would have to choose which career path I would prefer to take: the luxury industry or a job in social responsibility.
At the end of the day, the program has actually been giving me all the proper tools so that I can successfully integrate my social responsibility skills with strategy and brand management knowledge, becoming an all-rounded professional not only in luxury but for all industries.
What advice would you have for aspiring female graduates of the SMIB?
That they are motivated to carry out their goals.
That learning never hurts and that prioritizing personal and professional growth has a direct and immediate impact on the life we intend to carry out.
That there will be challenges, but that willpower, dedication, and hard work will certainly bring rewards.
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