Élodie Doua: Corporate Intrapreneurship at Its Best


Élodie Doua is the epitome of a corporate intrapreneur. No, she wasn’t born into a family business. Instead, it was her ambition, determination and skills that led her host company, the highly renowned Havas agency, to champion her as its next intrapreneur.

Read on to see how Élodie became a successful corporate intrapreneur – and how you can do the same.

The journey begins

Élodie’s path to success was anything but typical. Unlike most of our participants, this young woman was hand-picked by her host company. Havas had already decided to take part in the Intrapreneurial Initiative Program. All it needed was the right employee and project to champion.

Fast forward to the end of the selection process and Élodie and her Club Social – Studio DIY project found themselves among our spring cohort (along with her mentor, Stéphane Mailhot, VP of Strategy at Havas). It was Élodie’s skills, proactivity and eagerness that made all the difference in the final choice.

Élodie’s project

Even before being selected to take part in the Program, Élodie, who is a project manager at Havas, already had a very clear idea in mind: Club Social – Studio DIY. Not only that, but she had already put her idea into motion — although she’s quick to admit that it was more of a sideline hobby. Founded with her friend Carolina Machado Cabral, Club Social focuses on the events sector and offers four services:

  • Event design
  • Custom creation
  • Planning and coordination
  • À la carte events

What makes Club Social – Studio DIY stand out from the pack is its accessible approach and quality events at reasonable prices. The Club uses a number of tools, including a digital platform, to substantially reduce costs, which in turn allows it to offer more affordable services to its customers. According to Élodie, one of the firm’s trademarks is the attention to detail that goes into the Studio’s creative work.

So why take part in the Intrapreneurial Initiative Program if her project was already up and running? “Before the Program, we were operating solely on instinct; we didn’t really have a business plan. I didn’t feel like an intrapreneur or an entrepreneur; it was more a sideline hobby than an actual professional activity.” 

Looking back at her intrapreneurial experience

By taking part in the Program, Élodie was able to not only develop her project, but thanks to her mentor, Stéphane Mailhot, she also learned how to rethink her firm’s clientele, approach and especially values. Surprisingly, Élodie and Stéphane had never actually worked together prior to the Program. For Élodie, this was a huge opportunity. Starting off on neutral footing also made it easier to move forward together with the best of intentions.

“I didn’t want to disappoint Stéphane or my host company, Havas, which had given me this incredible opportunity. I’m normally a thorough and determined person to begin with, but I pushed myself harder than ever. I was very fortunate to have Stéphane devoting time to my project, but it also put more responsibility on my shoulders. There was no way I was going to let the company or my mentor down, so I gave it my all.”

Were they a compatible duo? Élodie says she learned a lot from Stéphane’s strategic and marketing knowledge, and that having a mentor to support and empower her was extremely rewarding. Among other things, she was able to draw from his experience and avoid needless mistakes. His advice also allowed her to advance more rapidly, in the right direction.

Élodie says that one of the most memorable moments of the Program was her meeting with Alexandre Taillefer. To this day, she tries to use all of the tips she gleaned from this successful entrepreneur when making a pitch.

“That was one of the areas I really wanted to work on, so I latched on to his every word. I was extremely lucky to be able to meet with Alexandre and to discuss my project with him. So many people would love to have an opportunity like this; it’s a day I’ll never forget!”

Putting every moment and available resource to good use

So why was the Program so successful for Élodie? She took advantage of every resource that was available to her, whether it was help with creating a business plan, the meetings with other intrapreneurs, the inspiring dinners or the workshops—you name it. She used every possible opportunity to take her business further.

Élodie has a lot of great things to say about the Program. Participants were constantly inspired and motivated by everyone’s projects and ambition. Plus everyone was driven to succeed and not shy about challenging one another. And unlike working alone, the group dynamic forced everyone to keep questioning themselves and moving forward. All this made for a great working atmosphere among the intrapreneurs. Best of all, the contacts she made during the twelve weeks will endure long after the Program ends.

For the record, Élodie’s successful experience was due in part to the fact that her host company gave her the means to succeed. Havas gave Élodie flexible working hours so that she could attend classes and develop her project. It also gave her the leeway to dedicate as much time as possible to her fledging company while retaining her position at the host company.

Today, Club Social – DIY Studio is growing on a daily basis and is downright booming in the consumer sector (weddings, birthdays & private parties). The company now does 60% B2B and 40% B2C — an impressive feat considering that it did very little business in the consumer sector prior to the Program. It goes to show that you need to explore all possible opportunities for growth with an open mind.

Élodie now hopes that the company’s à la carte and modular services that adapt to each customer’s specific needs will make Club Social – DIY Studio the go-to firm for individuals and SMBs. Élodie says that thanks to the Program, she now feels better equipped to keep going and that despite her initial doubts, she now knows she’s an accomplished intrapreneur.

So why was the Program so successful for Élodie? She took advantage of every resource that was available to her, whether it was help with creating a business plan, the meetings with other intrapreneurs, the inspiring dinners or the workshops—you name it.

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