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Sonia Lemaitre - STU 2012 - Nexity

Posted on | Alumni Portrait
Portrait by Juliette Christophe

Can you tell us a little about your background?

After a literary preparatory class and the STU master's degree, I joined Nexity's strategic marketing department (the equivalent of a studies and research department) in 2012 as a research officer. I worked on the relationship with local authorities and on territorial dynamics. In this capacity, I produced "territorial observatories", prospective documents on the dynamics of major French cities, and ad hoc studies for the development projects of Nexity Villes et Projets.

In 2015, I became head of sustainable city and innovation projects. I belonged to the sustainable development department of Nexity. I had two types of missions:

  • In line with my missions in strategic marketing, I worked on "new generation" consultations, such as Réinventer Paris and Inventons la métropole du Grand Paris, both in Île-de-France and in the regions. I participated in the elaboration of urban projects and in the choice of partners (start-ups, local associations, technical assistance...). It was a matter of understanding the expectations of the territory to propose a tailor-made project.
  • At the same time, I contributed to the creation of new types of residences to inject social innovation dynamics into Nexity projects (facilitating the participation of residents, promoting social and multigenerational links). For example, I participated in the development of Complicity, a form of multigenerational residence, or in the development of a co-designed residence.

Since the end of 2017, I have been in charge of major project development and I now work full time on responses to consultations, within an operational structure of Nexity.

What led you to Nexity?

I joined the company as a trainee at the end of my studies because the missions were interesting. I stayed because they evolved along with my desires. I was lucky enough to be part of different teams and to have assignments that were always stimulating. Moreover, I have always had very good relationships with my colleagues, which doesn't spoil anything!

Can you describe your current activity, what you find stimulating, constraining?

The wave of responses to consultation has led to a significant increase in the demands of communities in terms of innovation and sustainable development, which requires us to be always at the forefront and aware of the latest technical and societal innovations. We must always be on the lookout and remain imaginative.

Each consultation is different: on the one hand, the territory and the expectations of the communities vary, and on the other hand, we choose a different theme each time (culture, health...). In fact, the consultations are halfway between foresight and operational work: one morning I can do research on artist residencies, cultural mediation and art in the city, understand the issues, look for partners, and in the afternoon discuss with the architect and the landscape designer of the urban project.

The most constraining aspect of the consultations remains the rhythm imposed by the agendas of the communities: rather calm periods during which we have to try to anticipate future consultations and longer, very busy periods during which we really respond.

How would you evaluate the evolution of your career since you joined the company as an intern? What opportunities do you see in a company like Nexity?

Nexity is a large group, with very diversified activities. The advantage of starting out in cross-functional departments is that you get to know all of the group's businesses and have very varied tasks, allowing for a lot of learning. Among my various missions, I was then able to choose my favorite one: consulting was really what attracted me the most and I jumped at the opportunity to join an operational structure and to work exclusively on this subject.

Do you plan to continue your career elsewhere?

Not at the moment.

How would you evaluate the contribution of your training at the Urban School to the positions you have held during your career?

My training at the Urban School gave me methodological tools that still help me and will undoubtedly help me whatever my position: elements of reflection on the city, survey and research methods, legal notions...

Des conseils à donner aux étudiants actuels ?

Seize the opportunities that arise, while keeping in mind your medium-term ambitions!

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