LIFE SCIENCES, TOKYO
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How to get hired by a British country club without speaking English, why I recycle rare plant seeds, and what to do when an angry wild boar charges you.
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When Voltaire said “we must cultivate our own garden,” he meant we should never rest. Not many can claim to live this maxim better than Valentin. Raised in Guerande, Brittany, he spent his youth learning how to grow fruits and vegetables, tracking wild animals in the nearby woodlands, and biking to La Baule – Europe’s longest sand beach. Heavenly years. But when he was eighteen, with zero foreign experience, he suddenly decided to make a solo trip across the English Channel to Jersey. Beset by problems, through guts and initiative he ultimately turned it into a formative adventure, one on which he learned the joy of hard work, the power of cross-cultural exchange, and that difficulty can be reimagined as opportunity. These principles he carried into his professional life, acquiring an entirely new skill set so he could make the big switch from communications project management to recruiting, which he knew would better suit his goals. We are happy he’s fulfilling them at Zensho Agency. “The autonomy of our consultants and the culture are unique in the industry,” he says. “Here you are both the manager of your business and the member of a family.” At work and play, Val is indeed a non-stop doer. He enjoys having philosophical debates with friends as much as cheering for FC Nantes, reads everything from the classics to murder mysteries, is an aspiring painter, and above all (because why not take Voltaire literally as well?) an expert gardener. Together with his wife, he’s been growing radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, soy beans, paprika, basil – even mango and lemon trees. He’s really growing on us too.