During the last 7 years, Severine worked her way up from being a Paralegal to managing a global team that negotiates most of the commercial contracts across the business. Discover the story of an amazingly strong woman, who learned very soon that keeping a clear head and being open for healthy compromise can lead you towards having the last word even in the toughest negotiation.
Describe your professional path within the company.
I joined Endava 7 years ago as a Paralegal working in a team of 2. I started reviewing the project-based contract and basis framework agreements. I negotiated my first MSA 6 months later, a deal worth £45M. That was a real learning experience! As I was working alongside Senior Management, I got my first experience of proper contract negotiation and realised how much I loved it! Along the years, I managed the negotiation of most commercial contract across the business, working not only with UK clients, but also the US and across Europe, including in Germany and Denmark. In the past 3 years, the legal team grew to become a strong team of 10 people spread in a few locations of the group, which I've been leading for a year. I thrive on developing their skills to support the business and also to progress their career. I enjoy helping each of them as best as I can to build their skills and career within Endava, and I hope I'm doing a good job. My professional growth within Endava has been exciting and rewarding, and I am confident that it will keep on going.
What do you think is your primary driver in Endava?
The contract negotiation! I love the challenge of having to negotiate Endava's position, argue legal points to reduce as much as possible the company's risks, try to reach an agreement that is as much reasonable and balanced for both parties. Still, most of all, I love winning the negotiation. My proudest moments were when either one of my team or myself managed to win the negotiation of a legal point which significantly reduce the company's liability. My most important lesson has been to keep a clear head and take a deep breath while in the middle of a tough negotiation when you can sometimes feel very tense. However, I realised that there is always a way around, and you can always find a compromise that will satisfy both parties. I also love the work environment in Endava. I love how Legal interact with the other departments, especially Sales and Delivery. They are both an essential part of the contract negotiation and often help us win an argument. I'm particularly proud of how much the legal team and their work is respected within the company.
I love to be challenged and to have the last word and my day to day job gives me exactly that! I also love to meet new cultures, so I love working with people across the business, sitting in different countries.
If colleagues were to describe me, I believe they would say that I speak my own mind, I'm very direct, but at the same time, I'm very committed, flexible, helpful and efficient.
Name some books/tutorials/speeches that had an effect on your career path.
Nowadays, I mostly read crime, history or literacy books. But as a teenager, I read lots of John Grisham's books which had an effect on me and my belief in justice. As a French person, the speeches of Simone Veil and Robert Badinter, both ex-lawyer who became politicians, has a real impact on my beliefs and my career choice. Simone Veil fought to make abortion legal, and Badinter fought to end the death penalty in France. Neither issue is anywhere close to my daily job activities, but they got me into law!
Who is Severine outside of work?
I'm a mum of 2, a girl of 8 and a boy of 4, so I can tell you that my life outside of work is as busy (if not more) outside of work than at work! I love spending time with them, whether to go to the pool, the movies, the museum, or "going on a bear hunt*" in the woods (*children’s book)!
I try to get some me-time which does not happen very often when I go for a run or binge watch Netflix. My mantra has always been that there is a solution to everything, but it became even more critical in the last few years when I had to deal with health issues and tragic loss. I believe these difficult moments made me stronger, and I now treasure even more every moment and everyone in my life.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting work at Endava today?
I don't know if I would change much of what happened in those 7 years. I feel that I had the chance to work with very skilled and professional people who taught me a lot and I'm very grateful for them sharing their knowledge and helping me to develop and grow.