Rosie Shephard

5 Questions With... Tatiana Dupond

Briony Sturgis

The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With... interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise. For this episode of the series, we spoke with Tatiana Dupond, Head of Luxury at LinkedIn.

As a luxury industry thought-leader in digital communications and transformation, Tatiana joined LinkedIn six years ago to build a new luxury division that advises global luxury groups on connecting with their audiences in its unique, sophisticated and brand-safe environment. Previously she worked for The New York Times in Paris and was in charge of strategic luxury brand accounts, helping them to develop new forms of content. She has lived and worked on four continents, and holds a Master's Degree from ESSCA in France.

Interview with Tatiana Dupond, Head of Luxury at LinkedIn

1. What do you love about your job?

That's a great question. I'm very lucky because I do really like my job and actually have always loved the jobs that I've done. I think what I love about my job is the combination of different elements; the first obviously being working within the luxury and fashion industry, and the second working for LinkedIn itself and being able to collaborate with such a diverse team of people around the world. It's such a privilege to work with such creative brands. I enjoy the excellence of the products and find it pretty fascinating; from looking at the craftsmanship that's behind the embroideries within a show, or if you visit a watchmaker in Switzerland, it's pretty fascinating to hear about the traditional approaches to how watches are made. I really enjoy the creativity and the excellence of the industry, and to be able to work within it as part of LinkedIn, it's pretty cool.

Ultimately, LinkedIn is more of a tech company, and what I love about LinkedIn is the vision that LinkedIn has and has had since when it was created in 2003. It's never changed; the company has always creates economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce. I am convinced that we have a role to play in today's world. We have more than 770 million members that are connected to LinkedIn - to network, to find jobs, to upscale, to read the content - and I really think we have played a huge role in boosting economies and fostering entrepreneurship. It drives me to work for such a company, and I guess it's this combination of things that makes me believe I have the best job.

2. How has the industry changed since you began your career?

I started working with the luxury and fashion industry between eight and ten years ago, so obviously there's been some big changes. I think what's the most obvious is the major wake-up call that seems to have occurred recently. It's very interesting to see brands commit to being more sustainable, from tracking diamonds to creating entirely up-cycled collections. What I find most interesting is how brands have been able to bring creativity and innovation together, and how that has allowed new products to be created. On another note, from a media and communication perspective there's been a transformation that's been boosted by the pandemic. When I started my career, I guess there was always that question of how can we be digital? How do we remain authentic and become digital? I think today, for most brands, that question has been lifted. It's pretty clear to most brands that digital is necessary, and it's still okay to remain who you are.

3. Launching products and collections has been challenging for everyone during the pandemic lockdown. What have you learned from this new virtually powered world that we are adapting to? 

It's a great question, and I think it's always interesting to look back in order to understand what has changed and what you can do better. As we said earlier, what has happened recently has boosted the digital transformation, and from what I've seen in my years working in the industry I personally think that luxury brands are very innovative. Sometimes they've been perceived as brands that would not change, but I really don't think so; I think they're at the forefront of digital innovation, and love to test new formats to connect with people in a different way. What has happened has provided continuity to what was happening already. What is interesting is that most brands have always kept in mind that they have to connect with their audience, however the expectation from consumers today has evolved a little bit; they want to know more about the brands, more about the brand's sense of purpose, the brand's values, etc. It's not just the product, it's what's behind it - what is the inspiration for the product itself?

What we've learned is that in a digital world - or a world that is going into lockdown - you have to remain connected. Of course, we've seen shows and fashion shows going live, which I think is also a very good way to democratise access to fashion shows. Obviously nothing will ever replace a real fashion show; a show is more than just launching a collection because it's the design, the message, the music. But I think doing it live is a good way of widening the reach. And something else that we've seen a lot on Linkedin is brands doing a lot of live events. An example is Dior - they've been doing a woman speaking series, where they are interviewing female leaders that are part of different industries across the world - and I think it's a great way for them to connect with their audience on the values that drive them. It's a way to be very authentic.

4. If you had a magic wand and could create one tool to help your company operate better, what would it be?

There's not much I can think of, to be honest. I'm a pretty optimistic and positive person - so maybe that helps - but for me, it's very important to work for a company that has a purpose, and I think that not only is LinkedIn really clear with its vision that I shared earlier, but it's also paving the way in terms of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. I find it amazing that we have a lot of speakers that come to LinkedIn to share their vision, provide us tips and tell us how to be more inclusive in our everyday life and in the way we work. The leadership is shared between men and women - we have a lot of groups like Women at LinkedIn etc - so I think that's very important too. Overall, the company has an impact that's external, impacting the world and on society in general, but also internal - because we have such strong values and commitments, and I think we have learned how to work in a very different way. I'm sure all of us who work at LinkedIn are going to be able to bring some of the learnings that we've had when we change jobs. There's not much I would change.

5. What is one tip you would give to your younger self?

It's a tough question. I have two daughters, so obviously when I hear that question it's more than what tip would I give to myself, and more like what tip would I give to them - or indeed will I give to them someday. I think in general, obviously, I would tell them to be curious; to ask questions and to understand what's going on around them. Be confident. And of course, in terms of work, I think it's super important to ask questions and talk to people. I wouldn't necessarily try to look for a job in itself, but instead ask what do you like? And how do you put together what you like? And what are the skills that you have? And then find something that you will do. I feel like my generation thought more along the lines of; "Do you want to be an accountant?" "Do you want to be a lawyer?" "Do you want to be a stylist?" "Do you want to be a photographer?" And I think maybe I would look at it in another way - more like 'how am I going to have an impact in the job that I do?' 'What type of industry excites me or drives me?' I think to be able to do that, it's important to be able to be yourself, and I feel like the younger generations will be better at that than we were, which is good. I think it's good to be confident enough to ask questions and to be very open. And obviously, I will tell them to be proud to be a woman.

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Tatiana Dupond

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