Engines of society – Nadine Gros

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In cooperation with Losch Luxembourg, we regularly present women from Luxembourg who have had a very special impact on society through their professional careers or simply through their personal stories.

Nadine Gros strides through an imposing metal gate and then past a fleet of hundreds of vehicles, in every colour imaginable and all made by VW. In a floor-length floral dress with a rocking leather jacket and of course the obligatory mask, the self-confident 45-year-old makes a young, energetic first impression. When she reaches the reception of Garage Losch in Howald, she has to wait for a brief moment. Then the entrance door swiftly opens and she steps into another world to let time stand still for a few hours.

Nadine Gros

When the Covid pandemic paralysed life in Luxembourg and around the world last March, many businesses and institutions had to temporarily close their doors and an unprecedented sense of uncertainty spread through the population. But Nadine and her team went about their daily work. She is the head of the day care centre at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) in Luxembourg City and, together with her team, looks after young children up to the age of four whose parents are members of the hospital’s health staff.

A white VW ID.4 sparkles in the large garage. Nadine Gros gets in and is surprised by the comfortable interior, which impresses with its high-quality workmanship. The designated driver slowly feels her way around the electric car. “It takes some time getting used to, ” Nadine says of the augmented reality head-up display, “but it’s interesting”.

With this exciting option, important information such as the speed indicator is projected onto the windscreen. And the special thing about it is that only the driver can see this display. All other occupants, no matter how hard they try, only see a clear windscreen. Apart from the fact that there is absolutely no noise when pressing on the accelerator, the educator and manager seems to quickly get used to the brand-new vehicle and drives off as if it was her own.

It’s been a year…

On the relaxed drive to the Bambësch, Nadine reflects on the last year. When the lockdown in Luxembourg came into effect on March 13, 2020, it was immediately clear that the nursery at CHL would leave its doors open. After all, the parents of the children – the hospital staff – were particularly challenged during this time and were grateful that their children were being taken care of. So, everything had to continue functioning as before.

Nevertheless, a lot of things had to be reorganised within a very short time, because suddenly everything was different from one day to the next. “Who can work and who can’t?”, “How will the situation develop?”, “Will the day come when we have to take in even more children?”, “Do we have to wear masks to work with our children now?”. There were no concrete answers to many questions at the beginning and this presented stressful challenges for all team members. “Often parents came with the siblings of their small children, whom we then naturally took in as well in order to avoid the children of the same family having to stay in different institutions during the day, ” explains Nadine Gros.

Nadine Gros at the day care center at the CHL

In the early days, many had a queasy feeling, but the whole team felt safe at all times and there was always an open ear for questions or organisational problems. However, it felt strange when the road leading to the CHL was completely closed very early on. Then the army set up tents in front of the hospital and nobody knew how this scary situation would develop. A little later, the patients from the Grand-Est arrived in Luxembourg, which added to the uncertainty. Nobody knew what the next day would be like.

Even everyday things like drinking coffee and chatting with colleagues during the break had to be dispensed with. Of course, the mood at work suffered as a result. Nadine Gros also had to restrict herself in her private life. Every day she drove from Consdorf to the CHL, located in the city, and back. In between, she did some shopping for herself and often also for her family members. Otherwise, she kept her social contacts to a minimum, as she did not want to take any risks.

It’s good that there are still moments when such limitations seem like a pale memory. Despite its considerable size, the ID.4 is very nippy to drive and you get off the ground very well in any situation, as Nadine notes. A pleasant driving experience. Probably the most impressive thing is the heavenly quietness of the interior. The driving noise is reduced to a minimum which makes it easy to have a conversation.

A career with a focus on the very young

Arrived. The pleasant light amidst the trees in the Bambësch is perfect to snap a few photos. Nadine Gros poses confidently next to the sporty compact SUV, which at the same time blends into the natural landscape with its clear, flowing design and yet stands out with its modern, strikingly futuristic features. The ID.4 is not only VW’s first all-electric SUV, but also the brand’s first e-world car. This means that it will be produced and sold not only in Europe, but also in China and later in the USA. Eight different, pre-configured ID.4 models will be available soon. They are called Pure, City, Pro, Life, Business, Family, Tech and Max. This means that customers can find the model that suits them quickly and easily.

The sunny spring weather is inviting, so: time to leave the car and go for a walk. The driver lets her soul dangle. Very early in her life, it was clear to Nadine Gros that she wanted to work with children. But when she graduated from high school, she actually thought she would end up working in the banking sector. But it didn’t work out that way and so she ended up doing her training as an “éducateur gradué” at the Institut d’Etudes Educatives et Sociales in Fentingen. This laid the foundation for her future in this field.

“For example, when parents call and ask 'How is my child?' and you don’t know who that child is, the situation is difficult.”

She quickly realised that working with children was exactly what she wanted to do. She worked in early education for the first 18 months after graduation. She has been employed at CHL since 2002. The first three years she worked there as an educator and since 2005 she has been in charge of the day care centre. However, one aspect that was very important to her when she took the job as manager was that she could continue to work directly with the children. “For example, when parents call and ask 'How is my child?' and you don’t know who that child is, the situation is difficult, ” Nadine explains.

She really values the contact with the children. At the same time, she takes care of the administrative tasks such as setting up the work schedules, cleaning, organisational matters, and she is the contact person between the management and the staff. In addition, she is in permanent contact with the parents – because of issues concerning their children or simply to inform them that their child is developing well.

Not only manager…

If Nadine Gros had to describe herself in her own words, it would be as follows: “I have always been a friendly, very open and content person, and I laugh a lot and with pleasure. I like to be in company.” For this reason, the last few months have not been easy for her.

In her free time, Nadine Gros likes to do sports. When she comes home in the evening, she likes to put on her running shoes and go jogging in the forest to unwind. She also trains three times a week with a group of like-minded people. Especially in times of Corona, this sport in the community was particularly important to her, even though in the beginning, of course, no training could take place. Later, she was all the more pleased when the measures were relaxed and she was able to resume her joint training. With mask and distancing, of course.

The educator is also passionate about travelling. She enjoys hiking in the mountains as well as simply relaxing by the sea. However, as soon as the pandemic is over and a bit of normality returns, going far away will not be a priority for her. Nadine is much more looking forward to finally seeing all her friends again, chatting together outside or in a tent and spending a cosy evening together.

Before the journey back, Nadine’s gaze falls on the large central infotainment screen of the ID.4, where you can intuitively and easily operate the navigation system via touch or voice assistant, as well as numerous other programmes that are also connected to the internet and the cloud. Look, touch, learn. The same is true in life. Asked if there is a key to good education in her eyes, the educator thinks for a moment and answers: “It is important to accept situations as they are and make the best of them. If there are problems, you still have to treat each other with respect and communicate on a good basis, without aggression.”

As the car comes to an almost silent stop at Garage Losch in Howald, one last thought. If she could give children one piece of advice for the rest of his or her life, it would be this one: “Everyone should do what makes him or her content and happy, and not let anyone influence their path. If you want to do something, just do it! Because if you really enjoy it, you can do it!” After all, this is exactly the advice she followed in her own life and today she can say with satisfaction that she has achieved her career goals. She feels good and right where she should be, both privately and professionally.