Portrait Gilles Devillers
Gilles Devillers (MBA 2001) : " Promote weel-being in the workplace and a genuine respect of one's employees, demonstrated through care and trust "
After studying pharmacy and graduating from emlyon in 2000, Gilles Devilliers founded three companies in the medical sector. His new goal: a social entrepreneurship project.
- You were president of EMLyon’s Health Club for a number of years, one of the last topics addressed by the club was health in the workplace, what do you think about the draft law concerning burn-out?
It’s more than a law; it’s a collective recognition of this phenomenon. Talks about presenting a draft law will certainly help to raise awareness but leading by example would be even more effective. We must applaud companies and entrepreneurs that successfully promote well-being in the workplace and a genuine respect of their employees demonstrated through care and trust. I try - on my own small scale - to spread this message, in particular at the last EMLYON Forever Health Club meeting, which was a great success.
- Do you feel that your time at emlyon was instrumental in the creation of Bio Elpida?
For a many years, I wanted to become an entrepreneur. However, I didn’t feel like I was ready after my studies in pharmacy and pharmaceutical engineering. Therefore, I gained some experience in various companies in Britain, making the most of the Anglo-Saxon model whereby greater trust is shown in one’s capabilities enabling me to take on more responsibility. Nevertheless, experience isn’t everything. In 2000, I decided to develop my theoretical base by obtaining the kind of tools an MBA provides. When I graduated, I was able to channel my energy in a more structured and efficient way.
- What do you remember most about your time at emlyon?
More than the tools; I remember the methods and the experimentation with new concepts. But in particular, I remember how much I learned from my colleagues and their different ways of approaching work. It was intensive, both in terms of work and in terms of relationships.
- What advice would you give to a student today?
Either to do an MBA immediately after your Bachelor’s degree, but only if you have a real project to develop, or to wait until you encounter real problems, in order to fully benefit from this accelerator. You need to look for more than tools, you must seek to understand the methods and adopt modern concepts. Ideally, you need to create and experiment with new concepts.
- What are your forthcoming projects?
The three companies I co-founded take up a lot (too much) of my time. By developing these companies, I hope to achieve better-adapted treatments for cancer patients and also, in my own small way, to create jobs and nurture a culture of ‘free spirits’. My latest company (Neolys Diagnostics) develops a service to customise radiotherapy treatment to prevent secondary effects and to increase the treatment’s efficacy. However, I do have a project in the back of my mind, a project of social entrepreneurship and solidarity, which is radically different from what I do at the moment. I am waiting for the right time to start this new project. I am not in any hurry. Just like when I became an entrepreneur, the right time will come.