BACK TO THE BEGINNING – INTERNATIONAL KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER RACHEL LEVOYER RETURNS TO THE LUBRICANT BUSINESS AT TOTAL AFTER 23 YEARS
One of Total Lubmarine’s latest recruits - Rachel Levoyer – has returned to where her journey in international logistics and business first began. For Rachel started her career over 20 years ago with Total after completing her Masters Degree in International Business and Foreign Languages with a speciality in logistics, followed by a specialized graduate diploma in International Negotiation at the Sorbonne.
Now joining Total Lubmarine as International Key Account Manager for France, multi-lingual Rachel brings with her not only the experience of a highly successful career, but a passion for international business, logistics and shipping. Here she tells us about her excitement for her new role, her love of multi-cultural business environments and how, having been born in Le Mans, she still holds a passion for motor sport.
You have joined Total Lubmarine after a 20-year career - tell us about your professional background?
After finishing my studies – I entered Total in 1997, where I worked for 2 years in both the Lubricants team in international logistics and was also involved in the Base Oil side of the business for the chartering division. I left the lubricant business – and worked in logistics and supply chain with Cray Valley (a division of Total) for almost 20 years in a number of roles.
Initially I worked in logistics and compliance positions in the “Photocure resins” division. But from 2008, the Cray Valley business moved into specialty chemicals (functional additives and hydrocarbon resins) and after 2 years as a Logistics Coordinator and Compliance Management, I became Sales and Key Account Manager, initially for France and North Africa but within 18 months, given my knowledge of German, I also took on the German territory and all German speaking regions including Austria and Switzerland.
A lot of this work was involved in working in the military and aerospace sectors so it really was a diverse, multi-cultural working environment and I loved it. We were working with a huge range of different types of businesses that required low molecular weight functional additives and hydrocarbon resins for their products, processes and manufacturing plants. As well as military and aerospace we were also involved in the automotive, construction, manufacturing, well-being and healthcare sectors where there was a requirement for adhesives and rubber.
But I never lost my passion for the shipping sector.
What are some of the key things you have learned in your time in international business that you bring to your new role at Total Lubmarine?
Customer satisfaction is critical. And that starts from the very moment you are trying to develop the business, understanding their needs and where we can provide solutions to meet those needs. If we make promises to clients we have to fulfill them. We also need to ensure we add value to the client and that means anticipating any potential market impacts but also ensuring that we are providing the best available solutions to them.
Adding value is one of the key things that sets us apart and gives us a competitive advantage.
The major difference is the relationship with the customer that we develop. If you do not have a good relationship with the client, then when there are any business challenges, then the relationship will not stand these challenges. If you do not love travel, talking to people and developing relationships and supporting them, then this is not the job for you!
As someone who loves to meet customers and develop great working relationships how have you found the restrictions through Covid?
It has been frustrating not being able to visit customers but in terms of business continuity we have been able to keep positive and regular contact with clients, which is vitally important. As someone who has worked for several years with a team based in different parts of the world, we have been used to working through online meeting platforms. The challenge was to move clients who were used to face-to-face meetings to meetings online. But as we all now know it has gone very well.
You started your new role at the beginning of September. How are you finding it?
My first love is the shipping industry so it is fantastic to be back in the lubricant family, which is where it all began. It is a really exciting and challenging time and the role of International Key Accounts Manager is a busy one!
Whilst the role is based in France, the work with clients is international and it’s an environment I love. One of my first challenges was to meet members of the team here at TLM and customers on Teams or Zoom. Suffice to say I am looking forward to meeting them in person at some point in the future!
I’ve joined a great, friendly, technical, and knowledgeable team. Yes, we have important roles as individuals but it is the team efforts and everyone’s expertise within the team coming together as a collective that delivers the results for our clients. The spirit of Total is a family one, we have people from such diverse backgrounds but they all work together and come together and it is a great role and I am very happy to join this team.
I am working with all types of shipping operators from Ro-Ro customers and bulkers to offshore support, and even wind farm support vessels. The role will also include working with the French Navy. The needs of the customers are very wide. The applications and challenges of our customers are diverse and you have to be able to cover them. Every day is different and the challenge, which I am looking forward to, is to develop my portfolio.
Being Born in Le Mans – Is Motorsport one of your Passions?
Absolutely – I think everyone in Le Mans has motor sport running through their veins! I used to go to watch the racing at Le Mans and of course it remains a real passion for us as a family. We are fans of classic cars and modern sports cars. In fact when I was younger I worked for the Automobile Club de l’Ouest*. I know every part of the circuit and my family still lives close by.
When you are not at Work - what do you like to do?
I have been living in Paris for 25 years but when my husband, my daughter and myself are not here, we love to spend time in Burgundy. We spent several years renovating a family farmhouse so it is a retreat away from Paris for sure.
And of course – we follow motorsport!
[*] The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) organises the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Total is partner of ACO within MissionH24, a collaborative project between ACO and the engineering consultancy GreenGT that aims to create a dedicated category for hydrogen-powered electric vehicles at the 24 Hours of Le Mans event in 2024.
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