The MDE journey

How to recap key learning and give a spring to the future



About me


My name is Nathalie Leroy-Mandart. I am French.

During my childhood, I was attracted by drawing and painting, and “doing”.

I always wanted to do as a job something that will changing people life. So becoming a designer was a kind of “natural” answer to my aim.

I did my design education in Paris. And I will always remember what they told me at the welcome speech: 90% of product and objects surrounding me in the 80e will be renew, design new in ten years. I would be part of this process, and I was really thrilled about that!





I had the chance to be pictured with Robert Louis DREYFUS in the adidas’s Book MAKING A DIFFERENCE, p 231


Footwear designer at adidas

I start to work for Adidas in 1995, I was not planning to stay that long in Germany. Years were passing, and technics, process and materials use have tremendously change in the industry of footwear, my job remain a constant learning and still fascinating to me. Also, this company I am working with have the power to renew itself, to make sure to be in tune with its time, to remain attractive to work with.

And here I am an adidas footwear designer with more than 25 years’ experience. Still passionate by her job, rich of experience. Looking back, I can be proud of it. People look at this long career with respect.

Click on that picture, we will access to my portfolio page


Now I would like to try new path like design management to influence to a bigger scope, big picture on ranges, and be responsible of a complete range, find and manage people to work on it and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to make the best out all us, this will be my perspective for the future.



What is the most important in my job?


I am perceived as a creative person. This is a very important strength to do my job,  and I am making sure to put creativity on all what I am doing. This very web site-blog is helping me to showcase what I am doing.

What is creativity? Basically, it’s to bring on the table association of concepts, ideas, line, shape, texture, materials, colour blockings unexpectedly.

It’s also zooming in zooming out. Exploring edges. This mindset is accurate to be a good designer but can be easily apply to others jobs.
To do so, you have to trust yourself on taking quick decisions and hold them.

Does it mean to bring creativity on the table into products, into your way of acting is just enough? It will not if you are not aligning with your time, with your audience. You also have to take serious empathy with your consumer, with your stakeholders by listening to them, understanding, and solving problem for and with them. At Adidas, this is a crucial point : consumer is at the center of everything.

As a designer, I am alway picturing the consumer I could see wearing the shoes I am designing, I am showing them in my presentations.

To practice creativity on a regular basis, you must stay curious, on a constant and open learning state of mind. Actually, it’s also what is request as a growth mindset to be flexible, to learn, to grow.

Persistence – courage

I give you one tip : Everything you are doing need to look easy, even if it’s not. As when you doing a sketch, something is coming wrong in it, perspective is too much tweaked, line are not enough speed ? redo it, redo, redo again, maybe ten times ! You have to make sure  it’s looking like a easy sketch because this is the one you will show, this very last one recap all you’ve been through before. For your audience, it will appear magic, not questionable as they won’t see the work behind but only the purpose of it.

I give you an other tip : You spend 3 hours working on something you didn’t save and suddenly computer crash ? – You have to make sure that the time spent before redoing again everything is not lost by redoing even better to make sure this very new work is worth the 5 hours in total (included the time before the crash of your computer).




What’s bringing me to a MDE cursus? Why should it be interesting to me ?

“Having experience is not enough “

I’ve been told as I was asking for a promotion. This was the kick. Where do I want to go? and how?

Through this cursus of approximately 6 months, I reconnect to some mindset and learn some habits to define the where and the how.


High habits to high performance routine

Growth mindset

I am not part of this generation who were raised with computers surrounding them. I had to learn drawing on computers during my career. I worked hard on that to stay at the right level by watching tutorials during downtime or private time on youtube or other platforms to mastering,  Illustrator, Photoshop, and now Procreate, a drawing software on Ipad for example where I am more or less exclusively drawing.

In your learnings, find your motivation. To me, it will be trying to define an aesthetic and harmonic side on everything I am interesting with as well as fun.

It’s also a way to showcase. A way I  found to reflect better on some failure of mine and transform them into strength as I create this website some years ago in order to showcase my portfolio as well as some private projects I am working on.

2 recents projects worked mainly on Ipad, at least for the main sketching steps


Also, I am not a figure person. When powerpoint presentation about stats on growth and market implementation pourcentage are showed, I am often bored … What ‘s is helping me to stay open is to picture these abstract figure into person, villages, cities. As I have more a visual memory, this is a tip for me to remember better informations I will need to keep in mind.

Everybody have tips to translate to make sure to remain in the boat and give value to each single conversation. This is my way to transform weakness into positive mindset.



“High Performance refers to succeeding beyond standard norms consistently over the long term”

Means now: having a plan on a long-term journey to keep your curiosity open (how do you think, vibrate….), and on others (how do they think, connect, vibrate). Also, ways to work better (how all that can remain, give a constant spring and energy every day).


So here we are, it’s about training, like practicing a sport and see changing your way of thinking more focus and accurate. It’s having special attention and relationship with your colleagues and with new people you will connect with, and move.

Instagram post during 2020’s lockdown.





Mindset trainings, key learnings.


DEVELOPING YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE was the most interesting pack resources to me. I was expecting this will be all about going deeply into my own psychologic system ( and I am not font of this kind of things) but not at all!

It is all about the way we listening to others!

For example: we all are taking decisions on what we already convince and believe… (This is also the way cookies on internet, I believe, on social media are working). The fact is that it’s leading you to nowhere but only to remain in your bubble…

Working at adidas wants to be a leader in the field of inclusiveness is a great opportunity for me to meet colleagues of different nationalities, different cultures, all ages, gender, social conditions …  and to exchange views on professional or private topics. that you might want. Also, when traveling and doing the factory trip, what are the best opportunities to learn about the culture, the history of the country I am visiting? I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world. In private, I am part of a church community and I meet people there that I will never be connected with in other circumstances but to be part of a community whether adidas or church this is not to be part of a fan club where everyone thinks and believes the same thing, on the contrary, it is the diversity and the complementarity which make the relations intense and true to find its place in the world.


Understanding that it is enough to REALLY  listen

It often happens that listening to concerns expressed in a meeting is a way for some people to express their ideas on a topic, but those concerns are not necessarily meant to be addressed. As we work as a team, every feedback is important. In fact, these interventions give the conversation a tone and a wealth of possible and discussed choices that should be remembered when it is time to recap and decide what next step needs to be taken.

Sometimes we’re (and so am I) looking to recap a conversation before it ends or think about what question we might be asking instead of really listening. It’s strange. While we are doing this, we forget certain points of the speaker, and again we find ourselves trapped in our bubble. It’s a fact that every conversation counts as learning, as a unique experience. And stepping aside is the key to really listening and making sure the spot is never on us but on the speaker.

It sounds easy, but it’s not. I so often do shortcuts on various reviews and feedback myself.
So, I try to practice listening to the conversations that are important as if they were taking place in a language that I do not know. Paying attention to every single details like i will do in a foreign country. And focus on observing every detail, every intonation like you can find in podcasts, for example (background noise, intensity of silence, speed of the talk…).


Personally, I decide that this will be my main focus and the best key learning that I will need to practice as often as possible. That this very mindset will become for me a label to remind me of all the learning I got over the 6 months of my MDE journey to achieve a true mindset of growth, high habits, guidance and stay open for the future.

It will become the central element of what I aim to continue to manage my life, the people with whom I will interact.


I am on my way – here practicing electric unicycle.



Posted in Footwear, Notes on the fly.