Morgane Dalbergue

Talent Sourcer, 50inTech

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

I really had a happy childhood before my teenage years kicked in. I have loads of good memories of me being absolutely, carefreely and genuinely happy, but I think it all gravitates around my paternal grand-parents. Their kitchen more specifically. I remember one Sunday, I was about 7 or 8 years old, and my grand-mother was cooking couscous for all 15 members of our family. It smelled amazing! Everyone was coming and going, laughing, joking around, shouting orders too. My grand-father was there. We were all getting ready for a great Sunday lunch. I had many of those, growing up, but this one stuck with me, I don’t know why.

2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

I’m laughing, because I don’t think I’m an adult yet? I’ve been working for about 4 years now, I bought a place near Paris, I finished paying for my car, I pay taxes, deal with insurance people … but I still eat M&Ms for breakfast sometimes, I play video games a lot, still get Kinder Advent calendar every Christmas and I get ridiculously excited every time there’s a new Disney movie in the making. I’ve never seen myself as an adult, and I’m not sure when (​if?)​ I ever will.

3. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead​, by Brené Brown.

It’s a powerful yet humbling book about how we are all, without exception, allowed to be vulnerable. Brené Brown goes even further by saying we should encourage everyone to be vulnerable, to acknowledge our flaws, our fears and our misconceptions, in order to be better people. She brings science and 14 years (​or so​) of social work into her books and talks, she breaks hard-ass myths with foolproof facts, it’s amazing.

Pawn of Prophecy, Book 1 of The Belgariad​, by David Eddings.

I can’t remember how I got that book but it’s one I read every two years, along with the whole saga. It was my first real plunge into the Fantasy world and it made me dream of adventure, of long horse-journeys, of magic and sword-fights! I’d recommend it to all the Fantasy lovers out there, especially those who are tired of Tolkien’s popularity or the mainstream authors.

Black Beauty,​ by AnnaSewell, illustrated by WillianGeldart.

I insist on the illustrated edition because it was a gift from my grandmother, with a handwritten note inside. I’m a horse person, I even owned one for a few years. Anyway I love horses and this book tells a beautiful and heartbreaking story about a black horse, and there are pictures! Drawings, paintings, anatomical guides too… I think it’s the first book that made me cry and I was 10yo! It’s a beautiful book, in and out.

4. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?

It’s probably redundant but I’m going to say Brené Brown. She’s a social worker and she’s done a lot of behavioral studies about vulnerability, of all things. She wrote books about it, gave an amazing and mind blowing TED talk, did a Netflix stand-up too … I listen to her podcasts whenever I get the chance, and it’s as inspiring as it is humbling. She did one with Dolly Parton (​another idol of mine​) recently and it’s really worth your time. I dream of meeting her one day, because one of her books (​cf previous question​) truly changed my life.

5. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?

I think people often believe I’m an extrovert? I come across as someone rather funny, outspoken, always onboard with anything, ready to take on the world, always surrounded too … but I’m actually an introvert. Shocking, I know, but it’s true! I love nothing more than to lounge on my couch with a good book and a cup of tea, or to lose myself in a video game (​the solo mode, always​) and ignore the rest of the world. I only go to parties if I know there won’t be more than 6 people (​but there better be wine)​ , I love going to the movies alone, spending hours on a bench, either daydreaming or watching people to make up stories about them … I’m a lone wolf, and yet people don’t believe me when I tell them that!

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

I read lips, and yes it totally counts as a superpower!

I have a rather strong hearing disability, ever since I was four years old, and instinctively learned to read lips. I wasn’t aware of it until the specialized doctor noticed it during one of the many tests I had to go through, which consisted in repeating words. She was confused as to how, with such a hearing loss, I could do so well in that test, until she finally noticed I was looking at her lips. It’s very helpful, in my day to day life! My favourite thing to do to kill time in the subway is to read conversations from total strangers across the wagon. Sometimes, it’s extremely funny!

7. On what topic would you never make a joke? Why?

A French humorist/satirist, Pierre Desproges, said that “We can laugh about anything, but not with just anybody.”

I think nothing is really off limits, it just depends on your audience, the timing and how comfortable you are with the topic. I love dark, cynical humor but I have a lot of friends or acquaintances who just straight out hate it. Like in most things in life, it’s all about reading the room …

8. What is that thing which is OK to ask you about, but which other people are wary to do so?

I’m a very open minded, curious person so I’m okay with being asked pretty much anything but weirdly enough, people never know how to approach my disability. They’re often uncomfortable with asking me questions about the origins of my hearing disability, or how I handled it through the years or even how to make my life easier in this regard. I think there’s a real taboo about disability in general, and most people are just afraid of not being “politically correct”, which I find ridiculous because they won’t know until they ask!

9. What is your most prized possession? What’s the story behind it?

I’m going to go with the “sentimental value” and not the actual price tag here : my most precious possession is a Canon Camera my mom bought me for my 18th birthday. It’s an old one now, by today’s standards, but I still cherish it dearly and I never got a new one. I brought it with me every time I traveled, immortalized so many memories with it, it’s like a best friend, really. I remember crying my heart out when I thought it was broken, after a really bumpy trip in the desert around Dubaï, but we got it fixed and everything was well again!

10. What’s your favourite meal? Can you say why?

Do you realize I’m French? How could I pick only one meal, it’s criminal?!

I can tell you my favourite dessert though: my mom’s tiramisu. With a friend of mine, who got lucky enough to taste it once, we used to always try the tiramisu in restaurants, but so far none managed to measure up to my mom’s. If I really have to pick my favourite meal ever: it’s my grand-mother’s risotto. It’s rather plain and ordinary, with sausages and vegetables but somehow, no one else does it like her. My cousins, my sisters, my mother, my aunts … they all tried but they just never get it right.

11. If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?

It would be a great blend between an Irish pub, with dark woods, copper/brass pipes, plush leather seats and stained glass behind the bottles … and a cozy tea-room, with softer tones like dim grey, nuances of beiges and touches of blue or green, with comfy Swedish furnitures (​it exists, I swear)​ and no TV but bookshelves everywhere. I think it’d be a bar where people come to have a drink while reading a book, a concept I’ve always loved. I mean, having a drink with people is fun and all but drinking alone with a good book is even better! And the best part would be; if you finish your book in my bar, you can leave it in the bookshelves and take another one home with you!

12. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?

There’s this great line from the ABC family show Once Upon a Time “​Evil isn’t born, it’s made. And so is good.​”

It’s the character of the Evil Queen, who pronounces that line and it makes a lot of sense to me. I think there’s a lot we don’t know about antagonists. We rarely ever get to see the story from their side, how they got their hope broken, how they never had any real chance at redemption, how they just didn’t get the right people in their life … we just know they’re bad. We know how people become heroes, but how does one become a villain? Sometimes, the difference between good and evil amounts to almost nothing at all …

13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

I received a lot of professional advice, in my surprisingly short career. I think the best one comes from my mother, actually, and it’s not exactly professional as it is a life-advice that works in every setting … she says that the most important thing in life is to be flexible, adaptable. She used to say that having plans is great, but not having plans is somehow even better. She was right, as she always is!

It’s been extremely helpful because I’ve switched jobs a lot in the past three years, mingled with many different teams, had a few different bosses, saw different ways to do my job, learned a lot about what I want and what I don’t want … and through it all, I never really made solid plans, which allowed me not to worry too much about my future, about money, about my career. I was confident I’d always fall back on my feet.

14. Can you give an example of a time when you had to learn the lesson the hard way?

This is not exactly a “professional” response but there’s this line Harvey Dent says in Batman “​You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.​”

This is a very personal opinion but for me, the absolute disgrace of JKR is a lesson I’ve learned the hard-way. It has made me really wary about the term “role-model”. I know people are flawed and that no-one is perfect, but there’s a difference between being flawed and being an intrinsically, irredeemably, shitty person.

15. What role do you find yourself playing when you join a newly formed team? Can you explain why this happens?

I always try to hide my nervousness behind humor, and so far it’s worked! It means I’m usually the funny one, the amusing and cool newbie. I make bad jokes, terrible puns, I share doubtful musical references …

It can go both ways, though. Some people really don’t like my sense of humor and the fact I’m taking much space in so little time. Others, fortunately, love that and in a matter of days, I feel at home. It happened at Heetch and 50inTech, within a week it felt as if I had always been there. It also helps that I’ve been through a lot of onboardings already: I know the tricks, the tips and the obstacles to avoid/hardships to overcome.

16. Have you ever been the weakest member of a team? How did you handle it?

I have been the weakest member of a team, yes, though I’m not sure what ‘weakest’ means. When I joined that specific team, I was pretty damaged; professionally and emotionally. I was mentally tired, my self-esteem was at its lowest, I had a lot of doubts about my skills and I wasn’t entirely convinced by that new adventure. It got even worse, with COVID starting just weeks before I joined my new team, and I quickly realised it wasn’t the right environment for me. All the other members of the team worked extremely well under pressure, helping each others out and having a really good delivery, all things considered. I didn’t, and it ate me alive, which really didn’t help my already terrible state. I didn’t handle it well, to answer the question. It ended after seven months and I finally took time for myself, which is what I should have done before even thinking of joining them.

17. Name one person from your professional life who has had an extraordinary impact on your career. What did they do and what did you learn from that person?

This is a big shout-out and a heartfelt thank you to Damien Hié-Coloby, my manager at Heetch. At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal but he really made my integration in the team so much easier, and we were a handful! He also somehow channeled my endless energy, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. I always wanted to try new sourcing tricks, to attend every conference, to try new ideas, to take on all the internal roles … he taught me how to be smart and productive with all that energy. I didn’t realise how much it meant until I joined my current company!

18. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?

Not sure it’s a secret tip but I very quickly realized the power of social media, Twitter in particular, as well as the limits and the dangers that came with it. I became very visible in a matter of months, first in a small French buble and then on the international scene. It gave me the chance to become involved in a lot of events, to meet so many awesome people and to start writing articles to share my day to day life. On one hand, it’s really awesome, because it’s mostly how I got a chance to speak at SOSU EU 2019 but on the other hand, it led a lot of people to have a certain idea of the person I was, based on how I presented online. I’m as genuine and authentic as they come, on social media and in real life, but an online persona is never the exact same as the real person behind it. The lines can be easily blurred …

19. If you could add a question for the next person to answer, what would it be?

Which artist would you pick to write the playlist/movie of your life, and why? (​one of the two options, but I can’t choose)​

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

I had two names in mind, but my heart decided. I would absolutely love to read about Morgane Conrad’s take on this exercise.
She’s rather quiet on social media, she doesn’t do a lot of events but she’s one of the most amazing people I know; she’s smart, insightful and so incredibly talented! Which is why I think it’d be really interesting to know more about the human behind the recruiter.

Thank you to Morgane Dalbergue for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune.

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