Spotlight Series: Meet Career Coach Anaïs Poulain

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

Sure! First of all, thank you for having me (virtually) here today! 

So, for the classic intro: I'm a Career Coach, specialising in Career Transitioning and I'm based in London. 

I have planned and made several career transitions within my own life and I have the passion, energy and enthusiasm to help professionals navigate their own successful career transition. I do actively support my clients to ensure that their career transition will bring them the sense of fulfilment, enjoyment and meaning they crave, whether that is within the same or different field or even into being self-employed.

I’ve made it my personal mission to empower 100,000+ individuals to build a career they are truly passionate about by 2035. It is a very high target to reach and might feel like a gigantic unachievable goal to reach but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at the time, and in this particular case: one client at the time!  

And if I'm not coaching, you can probably find me working out or eating! I can honestly say that I'm a French cliché so I'm really passionate about food and cooking but also making sure that I stay in shape mentally and physically to cope with all the cheese I eat!

2. What was your first job and how did you get it?

So the very first job I had was when I was 16 years old and I worked for McDonald's for 4 years whilst going through the French equivalent of the A-levels and the first years of Uni. Whilst this was the biggest learning experience of my life I believe this might not be the most relevant ones (and probably not the answer you were looking for) so I'll move the timeline slightly if that's ok with you!

As part of completing a MSc degree in Supply Chain and Procurement, I had the opportunity to work for one year as Global Buyer trainee for a French company named Atos. As part of this internship, I built great relationships with all colleagues and superiors, including my mentor who then moved on to another company as I was still an intern. 

When he left Atos he said to me "If you're looking for a work opportunity once you've completed you're Master, contact me". Which I did! And that's how I had my first work opportunity to work for EY in London as an Associate within the Procurement function. That made me realise very early in my career that having a network and building great relationships in any work experience you have is a critical component.

3. How did you decide and get to your career today?

As I worked for EY for almost 3 years, I realised that I was more interested in facilitating successful collaboration with all my colleagues coming from different backgrounds, cultures and with different objectives than the work itself. I decided to combine my Global Procurement expertise with Projet Management to follow this path but I realised that I needed to explore opportunities to work in a more dynamic environment that could expose me to various team and businesses problematics. 

This influenced my second career move to become a Consultant, as I was looking to work in a more dynamic environment for various clients, industries and within different teams. As I started this role, I realised that working with various individuals and teams within different environments was still driving me but should be even more at the heart of what I do! I started researching opportunities to develop my knowledge when it comes to people development and identified coaching as the right next step for me and my career. I made the decision to specialise in Career Transitioning as I believe everyone should have a career they are truly passionate about (as I've mentioned above!). I've also kept a foot in businesses and I'm specialising in Scaling Up businesses which for me is a great blend of my previous experience as a consultant and coaching. So today I am a qualified Career Coach and can honestly say that the core of what I do is about people and empowering them to build a career they're passionate about and that's what I'm absolutely passionate about myself! 

4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?

I'm a very passionate individual (I know, this might come as a surprise!) and therefore I invest myself 1000% in what I do. Especially early in my career, I was so much invested and took it so personally that I had my first burnout when I was 21 years old as I was in charge of leading a global tender across 14+ countries. And I would not change a thing of everything that happened because again, I've learned a lot from all the various experiences I had. Some people might call it failures but for me, every day is a school day, and the biggest learnings have come from the most painful/stressful situations which bring me back to my first burn out (which was not the last!). My manager at the time said to me: I should have never given you that many responsibilities without giving you the right support, but I had no idea this was affecting you so much because you did not mention it to me. And that was when it clicked: you cannot expect people to change their approach if you're not expressing clearly that this does not work for you. Communication is key! It can be hard sometimes, but it's so critical to properly communicate with the people around you. 

5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?

Good question! In 2025, I'll probably still be London (or the UK) based, and still on a mission to empower 100,000+ individuals to build a career they are truly passionate about. By then, I'd love to have made a positive impact on 25,000+ individuals! 

Stay connected with Anaïs!




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