A woman of steel

She was supposed to become a doctor in order to continue the family traditions. She was not fully convinced that studying medicine was the best option. She also rejected the idea of becoming a lawyer. In fact, she became a part of WSB-NLU quite accidentally where – as it soon turned out – she was able to not only develop language skills, but also reveal a predisposition to act in a strategic way. Today, Joanna works in a global company, travels around the world, speaks five languages, and her colleagues are people from different countries and continents.


It all started right after college, when Joanna took a job in a Polish office of a global giant steel company called Arcelor. Her leaders quickly offered to transfer her from Cracow to France. She recalls an incredible feeling – soon after arriving in Paris she walked through the business and corporate district called La Défense. She remembered going on a similar walk many years ago, during a high school trip. At that time she thought with regret that this world is not available and out of sight. It turned out that she was able to conquer it and fulfill all her dreams. And that’s what she’s doing every day.


In the beginning, when was working for Arcelor, Joanna was responsible for the sale of steel pipes to the Asian, North American, South European, East European and African markets. Steel pipes that she was able to sell were used to make massive light towers in the world’s largest cargo port in Hong Kong. Later, she was responsible for market research, sales strategies and development of several specific products for the automotive industry.


She currently works as an economist for another French company called Vallourec, specializing in the oil, drilling and energy industries. She started at the operational side of this company, as it was in Arcelor, and moved onto developing the company’s strategy and its future progress. Joanna is involved in the company’s key projects related to energy. As a result, she was able to understand the ins and outs of energy issues and also become acquainted with a lot of interesting people from a variety of industries as well as politics, academia, diplomats, writers and journalists. It’s a completely different job than my first ten years – declares Joanna – I appreciate it very much. There is less stress than working in operations, a lot more learning, acquiring knowledge, analyzing data and then coming up with a specific vision and finally developing business projects. I am also in a direct contact with the board (here the stress is large ☺). First of all, it is a very interesting job, and the world of energy and future energy issues are a huge challenge for humanity.


Joanna is a result-oriented woman; she requires a lot from herself and strives for perfection. Her leaders see and appreciate the fact that all of her projects are well prepared. It is thanks to persistence that she was able to prove that, in an industry dominated by men, women can also succeed.


Working for Vallourec is calmer and more conceptual and it allowed her to balance her professional and personal life as well as made it possible to find the time to enjoy the pleasures of every day. She lives with her husband in a 200-year-old house in Paris. I love our village, we have great neighbors, with whom we spend a lot of time together; all is as it is – people do not have to pretend to be anyone else. A neighbor across the street is a quantum physicist, a woman living next door is a taxi-driver. We also live next to a sculptor and a television host. Joanna spends her free time taking care of her garden, raising dogs, and reading books, which she “absorbs” in several languages. She even admits that she has a library in the toilet! Since I moved to France, wines became my passion – she says. – I finished wine-making courses at the Ecole de Vin in Paris. She dreams of starting a vineyard somewhere next to the Atlantic perhaps combined with a restaurant.