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delphine cudelou
Delphine Cudelou

Director General, Chamber of Notaries, Court of Appeal of Caen

In this podcast, I look back at my time at EM Normandie. These years allowed me to build a powerful network and to make a place for myself. In a few years and thanks to the right people I met, I arrived in the notary's office. From a position in communications, I then took over the general management of the Chamber of Notaries of the Court of Appeal of Caen.

What is your academic background?

I started with a Master's degree in law at university to become a lawyer or journalist. I find that at law school, you are very disconnected from the professional world and that you evolve without really having a professional project.

The university is quite harsh in the relationship you have with the professors. Classes are held in large lecture theatres. The relationship is not very friendly. You feel like a number.

At the end of the fourth year, you have to take a competitive examination to become a lawyer. The uncertainty of the competition really scared me. You had to work alone to prepare for it. I wanted something else at that time.

I met a neighbour by chance who was about twenty years older than me. He was a lecturer at EM Normandie for the Master in Management and Territorial Development. He told me that this type of course could be a good opportunity for me and seemed to correspond to my profile. He also explained to me how the school and the programme worked. 

I decided to join EM Normandie. When the door opened on this School, I really felt good. The students seemed much more open and fulfilled than at law school, with more varied profiles in terms of culture. I found the staff really caring and the speakers cool. I felt that we had a real value and that we were taken for nuggets in the making, which was not necessarily the case at university where I didn't feel like I existed as an individual.

Creating a network within the School

When you are a student, you learn new things but you don't necessarily connect them with the professional world. You don't know what professionals expect either. On the other hand, I didn't have a network at that time. The School enabled me to build up a network. When you join the School's network, you have to be able to take advantage of it and build lasting relationships. For me, it was a succession of encounters that allowed me to evolve. 

At the School, you are in contact with professionals who come to explain their daily life, what they do in the company, what they expect from students. They also come to present their missions and recruit students for assignments and internships. In this context, I did my internship at the DDE for the town hall of Rots. I had to carry out a study on the "Château de Rots" to find out whether or not the town had an interest in acquiring it and for what purpose it should be acquired.

The first steps in tourism

At the time, it was Jean-Léonce Dupont, the current president of the Calvados departmental council, who was the director of EM Normandie. He was also the mayor of Bayeux and had assignments to propose in that capacity. His chief of staff was a former student of EM Normandie. 

He asked me to join his office to work on an economic development project for the Bayeux business park.

I had an interest in communication and tourism. Very quickly, I moved into this sector within the firm, particularly through the Bayeux Tapestry, which made it possible to link Bayeux, Falaise and Caen in a joint tourism project called the William project. I modestly took charge of this project as an intern. 

Provoking opportunities

I was responsible for representing the town of Bayeux in these meetings. On this occasion, I met Jacques Belin, who at the time was the director of the Caen Memorial and president of the town's tourist office. We had a relationship in common and I took the opportunity to go and talk to him. We often sat next to each other during these meetings. We got on well together and at the end of the internship he offered to send me my CV so that he could offer me a job. 

The stress of the first job

It is always stressful to start your first job. If you are studying to become a doctor or a dentist, you know immediately what you are going to do when you leave. On the other hand, in business school, the choices are much more varied.

I had decided on a course of study, but I didn't know whether it would offer me any opportunities and whether I would be able to contribute to the job market. At first, I worked in the public relations department for the Caen Memorial and in sponsorship. Then I worked on cultural events.

The Memorial is a fairly large organisation in the tourist field. About a hundred people work there in a wide variety of jobs. It is a very structured establishment and the organisation is rigorous. The departments work very much in silos, whereas I preferred to work in project mode on issues of logistics, communication, public relations, etc. 

Jacques Belin was also the president of the Caen Tourist Office, so he suggested that I go and work one day a week at the Tourist Office to continue the work on the William the Conqueror project and develop it.

The arrival in the notary's office

Having studied law, I was still connected to the legal world. I found an advert from the Chamber of Notaries that was looking for a profile to work on communication and that combined good legal and communication skills.

I immediately told myself that this ad was made for me, that if I failed, it was really because I had failed my interview!

Being on the move

When you come into a job at the age of 30, you don't really look two, three or ten years ahead. You just do your job and keep an eye out for opportunities.

I came in as a communications officer and a few months later I was offered the general secretariat of the Regional Council of Notaries.

I have been in this position for 20 years, but there is no weariness because the presidency changes every two years. A new team arrives each time with new desires. Each president has his own personality and his own ideas. For me, it is a new challenge to accompany him and to propose projects.

I have always been lucky to be trusted in this position. I am naturally bored quite quickly. I need things to be moving all the time. Some people are reassured by doing the same thing over and over again. Personally, it makes me anxious. I need to have projects on the go, one after the other. It's in my personality. If I didn't have this constant renewal, I would leave.

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