Isabelle Harsch

1987

SME owner, Geneva

"There’s no question that I got to where I am because of my father ! He was the one who entrusted me with the business at the age of 28 and who has always believed in me."

My career path

I’m CEO of Henri Harsch HH SA, a family-run SME operating in the removal and artwork transport business. We have 130 employees in four offices, in Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich and Laufenburg. Given the size of the company and the fact that it’s a family business, I’m involved in all management aspects : defining our strategy for the future ; building and running the management team ; keeping track of performance indicators, especially sales, financial and qualitative indicators ; growing the business, moving into new markets and adapting our structure accordingly ; creating and developing strategic partnerships ; and representing the company to the outside world.

My passion. The people I work with, including my management team and all our other employees. I also like how diverse my work is, that I can make decisions and have a concrete impact on the business. I enjoy the challenges of taking on responsibility, the creative aspects of the job and developing new projects. And I like the feeling that we are achieving something together and that we have a common goal.

My career path. There’s no question that I got to where I am because of my father ! He was the one who entrusted me with the business at the age of 28 and who has always believed in me. He has been an amazing mentor. He was always there when I needed him, reassuring me and pushing me to go beyond my limits and out of my comfort zone, but always with a lot of love and kindness. My friends are a great support because they like me for who I am and not because of my job title or my social status. They’re often there to ensure my feet remain firmly on the ground. I appreciate the members of my board of directors for their frankness, and my assistant for her unfailing loyalty. My outside consultants have also helped me to see things more clearly and to get some perspective on the company and on myself as well.

A downside or obstacle ? I always need to be looking for something new or a change, which means I don’t always keep things as consistent as I should for the company. And sometimes my lack of experience and my overconfidence can be a downside. There aren’t many women in my line of work, but I think there are more and more coming from my generation. There aren’t enough female role models to inspire women to become a CEO. It can perhaps be hard to reconcile a heavy workload with a family life, and on top of that people are often overly reluctant to put women in these roles.

I’m proud of my courage. I took over the company at the age of 28. It wasn’t easy. I had to learn very quickly on the job and be able to question myself. I’m also proud of my enthusiasm, which keeps me positive and helps me to motivate my team on a daily basis. I’m business-minded and I always want to push myself.

The Proust Questionnaire

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Au-delà de votre profession

Les pèlerinages et les marches en montagne, l’introspection, la nature et le journalisme.

Des personnes qui vous inspirent

Antonella Joannou, ma prof d’équitation (à l’époque où j’avais le temps d’en faire) pour sa force, sa passion, son abnégation, son positivisme et plusieurs de mes professeurs à la Faculté de droit de l’UNIGE, en particulier, le prof. Gabriel Aubert et le prof. Michel Hottelier.

Un livre & un film

Celui que j’écrirai ! :-) En attendant, Le guide des égarés (Jean D’Ormesson) & Wild avec Reese Witherspoon (Jean-Marc Vallée)

Un modèle

Ma mère : pour sa sensibilité, sa perception des situations et la rigueur de ses analyses et mon père : pour sa droiture, son enthousiasme, sa fascination vis-à-vis de ce que peut accomplir l’être humain.

Un objet

Mon casque à musique et mon carnet de voyage.

Une couleur

Le rouge

Un rêve

Enseigner : pouvoir transmettre ce que je crois savoir, tout en continuant d’apprendre des personnes auxquelles on pense enseigner.