What my first job at Cirque du Soleil taught me

After I got my bachelor degree in Marketing, I ran away with Cirque du Soleil. It started as an internship, then a contract for 3 months… I left nearly 9 years later at the age of 30.

Cirque du Soleil is where I learned about three important terms: invoke, provoke and evoke. At the time, it was ‘’avant-gardiste’’ for a company to center its strategy around the customer experience.

I was in charge of the Cirque Club, a community that grew from 1 million to over 3.5 million members under my management. Our 700+ email communications per year, social media initiatives, websites and onsite benefits had to live up to the brand and its mantra.

Then, I’ve been assigned to special projects, such as the revamp of the online Cirque du Soleil Web experience and the creation of a global event ticketing and customer service solutions.

Yes, it was challenging. Expectations from sponsors, business partners and executives from around the world had to be managed quickly, and creatively. Working with famous brands, agencies, and consultants like I did, at that age, and for a brand like Cirque du Soleil was extraordinary.

I learned so much. And, I had a lot of fun too.

Everything (almost) is possible

I learned there is nothing impossible. There is a solution for every issue or problem you might encounter. Look at all the options you have. Sometimes, you best bet is to take things off the equation to have a clearer view, take risks, and think outside of the box.

The power to influence is in your hands

I learned about negotiation. You cannot always win, and you have to accept it. But you can influence, or at least try to influence. At first, I was often being the person who did not agree, who said ‘’no’’. One day, I started to present alternatives, options. At that moment, my relationship with my own team and the others changed in a positive way.

Collaboration: a necessity, not an option

I learned about collaboration and communication. When multiple stakeholders are involved, you better over communicate to manage expectations. Each stakeholder has to feel their team is part of the project at some point. Collaboration helps to build a group of influencers within your business. It is not easy, and it might be (is) time consuming and difficult. But it is worthy, much more than doing a project by yourself.

And now…

In December 2012, I got two offers. I needed to move on; it was a sign. I left the entertainment industry for the financial sector. It was not an easy decision, as my Cirque colleagues were my second family.

I knew that I had to acquire experience in more types of companies if I wanted to reach higher. But still, I will always be grateful and nostalgic of these years.

Thanks, Cirque du Soleil!

(This article was also published on Medium)

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