Podcasts to empower women leadership

Podcasts to empower women leadership

?  I have selected for you 5 outstanding #podcasts on how you can become a powerful businesswoman by empowering your leadership skills.


1. Fierce Feminine Leadership 

This female empowerment podcast helps you to run a successful business thanks to the leadership expert advice:  Eleanor Beaton. Her weekly podcast episodes feature inspiring discussions and interviews with influential women in the business world as well as tips and practical tools that female entrepreneurs can use to implement into their businesses to help break down barriers, inspire confidence and help then march to success in the business world.

2. A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard, the first and only woman who has served as Prime Minister of Australia to date, hosts this podcast in her role as Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership. Her episodes are reserved for interviewing remarkable female leaders across various industries, from business, entertainment, media, and politics. The episodes are full of frank discussions on topics such as sexism, misogyny, feminism and what more can be done to address women’s issues in leadership. Gillard aims to address the causes of the underrepresentation of women in these roles to help clear the path for more women to find success at the top.

3. Fearless Women Podcast by Janice McDonald

Janice McDonald has Inspiring Conversations with Fearless Women who are trailblazers in business, arts and culture, politics, and more. Listen as they share their stories, the challenges, and insights into how they’ve been driven to change the world and make it a better place, in whatever arena they are competing in.

4. The Leadership Strategies for Women Podcast

This is hosted by Ellie Nieves. Ellie is a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Coach. Tune in for expert advice and leadership strategies to help women show up, speak up, and step up in their careers and personal live

5. This Woman Can 

This Woman Can feature content and interviews to help women advance in their leadership ambitions in life and career. With personal insights from executive coach and host Janice Sutherland, hear interviews with inspiring female leaders and entrepreneurs around leadership, personal success, advancement, and work/life alignment.

Women and leadership : your differences are your best assets

Women and leadership : your differences are your best assets

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Today  is International Women’s Day. The first “International Women’s Day” took place in 1910 at the initiative of socialist working women who fought against discrimination at work. It was not until 1977 that the UN instigated this day for the whole world. So it took 67 years for women to get the recognition of their struggle! 

What also emerges from this story is that women’s struggle began in the workplace and particularly in companies. Initially led by female workers, who at the time were among the most qualified women, the professional  environment plays a key role in female emancipation. 

So where do women stand in today’s professional landscape? And does today’s professional environment favour their emancipation? 

No, men and women, is not the same fight …

To be able to work properly on the issue of women’s leadership, we must start by stating simple truths: men and women, we are not the same!

Neuroscientists have shown that men’s and women’s brains have the same architecture. What differs are the hormones that regulate neurotransmitters. To date, no one has been able to demonstrate the correlation between the role of hormones and behaviour. 

What has been proven is that the construction of our brain is shaped by the social, emotional and cultural environment. Women moved out of their homes to start working in companies after the Second World War. Seventy years later, women’s involvement in the life of their homes is greater than that of men, even when women hold high positions of responsibility and/or are more qualified than their husbands. 

Between the female hormones that influence neurotransmitters and the social construction of the brain, let’s admit that men and women have specific behaviours. In my opinion, we cannot reflect on female leadership if we maintain the myth that men and women react identically in their professional environment.  

Abolishing men-women differences is not enough 

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Men have created the management structures that have governed companies from the paternalism of the 19th century to the pyramidal and vertical management of the 20th century. This vertical management has its roots in the functioning of the army, where the use of a strong deep voice, disempowering those considered less performant and power struggles were valued. Today, it appears that in the working environment, male managers behave more assertively, are more likely to impose their opinion, delegate less and are more involved in political games. 

Faced with vertical management, women have pointed out the inequality of opportunity and the wage discrimination they suffer. This struggle is legitimate and is progressing, too slowly but it is moving forward. 

In the developed countries, education between men and women is currently broadly the same and there are even significantly more women in higher education. The issue of the wage gap is therefore the point that hurts. “Equal skills, equal pay”: All studies prove that this is not the case and that there is clear discrimination at this level. Maternity remains a barrier to career advancement. Not to mention the problem of harassment at work, whether moral or sexual. 

However legitimate and necessary these struggles may be, the issue of women’s leadership must look beyond gender parity. Abolishing injustices is one thing, but fighting for values is another. So what are the values that women defend in terms of leadership and how can these values be carried loud and clear in today’s professional landscape?

A favorable trend to the development of Women’s leadership

Women’s leadership does not fit the vertical hierarchical structures that have prevailed in companies since the 20th century. And this is a good thing! Because vertical hierarchical structures tend to disappear. 

Start-ups exploded this model from the 1990s onwards. They went from micro-structure to organisations developed on several sites, even several countries. What characterises start-ups today is the fact that the creative process is encouraged and that processes and procedures do not govern the decision-making circuits. 

At the same time, business management models have evolved. Large companies are seeking to set up management systems that reconcile flexibility and homogenisation of practices. Labelled as scrum, agile, no-boss, etc … the new management models are more flexible and more “flat”. 

Work is also organised differently. The first observation is that part-time work continues to develop. What used to be a hindrance to career advancement is now becoming an advantage. Maternity leave, breaks, part-time work to reconcile work and childcare: women have learned to manage the discontinuity in their careers. Today, however, job security is decreasing and where men struggle with an unexpected career break, women are more likely to adapt and bounce back. Secondly, linear careers are becoming increasingly rare. Here again, men must deprogram themselves and learn to reinvent themselves through successive experiences. 

The current Covid19 crisis has shown to men that handling both home and work is a struggle. Unfortunately, surveys have shown a setback in gender equality with a lot of women dropping fully or partially their job during the confinement to take care of the kids while men were keeping professionally active. This shows again how important the workplace is in women emancipation. 

The ability to bounce back and enrich one’s career path with a variety of experiences is beginning to be increasingly valued, even if there is still some way to go in this direction. What used to be called atypical careers go from being a “handicap” to being an asset… There are even firms specialising in recruiting for these atypical careers. This is another area where women can develop more easily than men. 

Women’s leadership is better equipped for tomorrow

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In an article published in June 2019 in the Harvard Business R, Professors J. Zenger and J. Folkman found that women significantly outperformed men in the following leadership competencies: initiative (56%), resilience (55%), ability to develop (55%), the research of results (54%), intellectual integrity (54%), ability to develop, inspire and motivate others (54%). 

It is very clear that these skills are the most sought-after skills in 21st century management 3.0. These skills can be grouped under three types of intelligence in the etymological sense of the term, intelligere: putting things together.

1/Collective Intelligence

  • Collaborative and inclusive approaches are developing over silos between departments. 

  • Whereas a department may have been embodied by a boss, new functional and matrix management forms are developing nowadays.

  • Women are more comfortable than men in collaborative work where delegation of initiatives and decentralisation of decisions are key.

2/ Emotional Intelligence

  • Experimental approach is favoured nowaday, with regular revision processes if the direction taken is wrong. 

  • Women are more likely to admit their mistake with humility and take a step back to reassess and correct the situation. In that regard, the added value of emotional intelligence will increasingly take value especially since a lot of automatized processes will be taken over by AI processes.

3/ Multipotential Intelligence

  • Where employees were asked to apply instructions in the past, they are asked to find solutions.

  • Women find it easier to integrate that problems must be dealt with in a holistic manner, taking into consideration the environment, people’s personalities and their aspirations.

A space to invest for women’s leadership

In these new models, structures, practices and work organisations, women have a space where they can develop their skills, assets and experiences. They have the advantage over men, they do not have to unlearn what decades of vertical management have taught them.

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In order to invest this space, women must open up the field of their struggle. Reducing this struggle to securing positions of responsibility or equal pay with men is not the only way to fight for their cause. On the other hand, continuing to develop women’s leadership in a professional world that is favourable to them is another path that must be invested in in a much more conscious and militant way in order to become “role models” for our daughters who follow us and all the generations of women who will succeed us.

Luz d’Ans is an Executive Coach certified by the ICF. A graduate of Sciences-Po Paris, she worked for 15 years in large international groups as a Risk Manager in France, Singapore and Switzerland. She is trained in neuroscience applied to leadership (neuroleadership) and systemic corporate coaching. She accompanies individuals and companies through the challenges of their transformations: complex projects, talent upskilling and business recovery after a life accident. She also teaches leadership at Sciences po Paris, School of Management and Innovation. 

Bibliography :

·      Catherine Vidal, « Hommes, femmes, avons-nous le même cerveau ? », 2007, Paris, Le Pommier.

·      Jack Zenger, Joseph Foklman, « Research. Women score higher than men in most leadership skills”, June 25 2019, Business Harvard review.

·      Luc Bretones, « Pourquoi le travail passera, dans le futur, par de nouvelles formes de gouvernance », 7 Août 2019, Business Harvard review France.

·      Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, “As long as we associate leadership with masculinity women will be overlooked”, March 8 2019, Business Harvard review.

My participation at the RiskIn and RiskMinds conferences

My participation at the RiskIn and RiskMinds conferences

At the beginning of this chaotic year, I had two conferences planned for Risk Management professionals in March and May 2020. Fortunately, risk is in the DNA of the organisers, so both were quickly postponed to late 2020. It will therefore be my pleasure to :

  • lead a coaching workshop at the rescheduled Risk-In Conference on 25-27 November in Zurich
  • to present a conference on “Leadership and Influence” at RiskMinds International postponed to the 8-10 December in Barcelona

I would like to thank Risk-In Conference and RiskMinds International for their trust. I am delighted to honour their invitation, as I myself was a financial risk manager for fifteen years in Paris and Singapore.

I now have some time ahead of me to fine-tune my paper, hoping that this crisis will be resolved as quickly as possible while respecting the best possible risk management !

Let’s learn to be sociable (online)

Let’s learn to be sociable (online)

We are all shocked by the unprecedented situation that the coronavirus crisis has brought to us. By now, it is clear that we will spend several weeks confined to our homes. For most executives, remote work will follow up. For single people, isolation is inevitable. For families with children, the constant noise and turmoil of daily life is to be expected ….

As always, there is an increasing amount of moralising talks urging a return to the simple things: swimming, reading, meditating, re-focusing on the household, on the children. Of course, those who are already adopted this dynamic will easily be able to skip the step. But for some others, the return to the household and the feeling of being cut off from the world can quickly become a nightmare. This period of confinement made us realise how sociable we are.

Re-discovering a online mobility 

If there is one right we take for granted and which is being challenged by the coronavirus crisis, it is our right to free movement. The last time this right was overridden by the urgency of the situation was during the Second World War: children were sent away from schools, citizens were confined … !

But there is nothing comparable today, we are experiencing a completely different kind of confinement. Although we can no longer move around freely, we can still stay connected thanks to internet and smartphones. We need to reinvent a new form of socialisation with these tools. We can, for example, set up video conferences with the simple objective of socialising: the video-conference coffee breaks !

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It’s also an opportunity to stop the frenetic exchange of text messages, emails and what’s app and to rediscover the pleasure of spending hours on the phone with loved ones, the elderly, long-lost friends … The furious pace of our lives makes us choose to read and respond to these messages whenever we want. With this forced break, it’s time to slow down these text messages and come back to the pleasure of talking, of getting to know each other and not simply interact because we bump into each other at work, at school or with our neighbours…

Ultimately, what we really miss in this social isolation is simply talking, exchanging information, even if it is trivial. In other words, start creating links, new bonds, because we are above all social beings ….

It is up to us to become re-learn to be social (online) ! And to keep these good habits when the coronavirus crisis is over.

Reflect on the after-crisis and project yourself 

Have you ever noticed that when we stay at home, one of our first instincts is to tidy up our things ? We want to see things clearly, throw away the junk and make room. The same applies to our lives. Allow it to happen and reflect on your lifestyle and your professional future. Am I satisfied with the life I have ? Does it correspond to my values ? What should be changed ? What do I aspire to ? Where do I start ?

Every period of crisis is also an opportunity to change our behaviour. Neuroscience studies say that the brain easily creates habits. In a constant environment, habits are almost impossible to break. It takes a total paradigm shift like the one we are experiencing to break the cycle of habits and to be pushed to evolve in our professional but also personal lives.

Confinement does not mean rest. Between our daily tasks, remote work and, for parents, children at home, the rhythm remains intense. In spite of everything, this is the moment to open a window on ourselves, the one we usually avoid opening because of our tense and relentless daily professional schedule.

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To open this window, open your computer and connect via videoconference with your favourite executive coach :-). I offer ONE FREE HOUR OF CONSULTATION to any executive who wants to reflect on his or her career and dissect his or her LinkedIn profile.

In the current context, since we all have to make a collective effort, I am happy to offer my expertise and my time. Interested ? Click HERE.

Luz d’Ans is an ICF certified Executive Coach. After graduating from Sciences-Po Paris, she worked for 15 years in large international groups as a Risk Manager in France, Singapore and Switzerland. She is trained in neuroscience applied to leadership (neuroleadership) and in systemic business coaching. She accompanies individuals and companies in the challenges of their transformation: complex projects, talent upskilling and recovery after a life accident.

Manager v3.0 : having influence or being an influencer ?

Manager v3.0 : having influence or being an influencer ?

Have you noticed that in the leadership literature, influence is often considered as a skill or “soft skill” to be acquired. Influencing your organisation is about developing more trust with your team or partners, expanding your network to spread your ideas and promote your projects or achievements. In short, do more, more, and more … And if you do more, you will become great and be able to influence, little beetle …

This way of thinking demonstrates once again that companies often remain in a logic of capitalisation. In the same way that we capitalise on knowledge or experience, we capitalise on our ability to influence. However, in my opinion, we can be good influencers regardless of our position and/or seniority. Because there is a big difference between HAVING influence and BEING an influencer. In the first case, it is indeed an additional soft skill, in the second case, it is a state of mind that is becoming more and more prized by recruiters. So, what does it mean to be an influencer ? 

Linkedin recently published the most sought-after soft skills for companies in 2019 (read HERE). Here are the top 5:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Team Spirit
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional Intelligence

I think that if we had wanted to make the portrait of the good influencer, we wouldn’t have been able to define him with more accurate characteristics, don’t you think?

So let’s take all these soft skills and see how an influencer applies them at work.

Developing emotional intelligence or being a good listener ?

An influencer connects with others. To do this, the influencer takes a listening posture. Being a listener avoids being either in a high posture (judging the other person) or in a low posture (waiting for the other person’s appreciation). Our emotional intelligence superpowers are activated.

Being adaptable or being well aware of your environment ?

To influence, you have to know how to communicate… It’s a great cliché ! In concrete terms, what does this mean ? It means knowing how to adapt your communication to your interlocutor, or more precisely to the relationship you have with him/her… Is he a helper you would like to put on your side ? Is he a customer to satisfy ? Does he have expectations that are contrary to your own ? Being aware of and formalising the forces of support and resistance in your environment is an effective way to adapt your communication. A systemic coach can facilitate this work effectively.

Persuading is good, getting on board is even better !

Knowing how to adapt also means developing a certain amount of empathy that will allow you to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are talking to in order to understand their expectations, doubts and fears. If you have developed your emotional intelligence and your ability to adapt, persuasion will follow. I dislike nothing so much as the phrase “develop your persuasiveness”. People often associate influencers and manipulators. This is not the case: the influencer suggests where the manipulator will ultimately impose his solution. The influencer certainly persuades, but this is a consequence of the work he does to get people around him on board.

Working in teams or co-constructing ?

The influencer is therefore a driving force in a group. This does not mean that he/she has the highest position or the most prominent personality in the team. Moreover, the influencer is not always well regarded by his/her superior (who may sometimes feel threatened). Indeed, the influencer is naturally recognised because he is able to find the right solution. But he does not come up with it alone ! The influencer co-constructs his solutions by listening to the contributions of others. This is also why they are so good at persuading. The little difference of the influencer is his ability to find solutions out of the box, the one that we would not have thought of at first.

Being creative or understanding your failucres ?

Influencers learn from others but also from their past experiences. They know how to analyse their successes but also their failures. In the world of work, we are considered as ” wise intellectuals”: as soon as we do not succeed in our tasks, it is considered as a failure by others but also (and sometimes above all!) by ourselves. In childhood we are seen as “learners”, we grow through our experiences. The influencer knows how to take on the posture of the learner. And as the influencer works in a team, he or she will easily be able to alert the group by saying: “Be careful, we are not where we should be, let’s take a step back and look at things a little differently by considering what the failures we have encountered have taught us”.

manager 3.0 influence influencer

After the boss, the leader showing the example, management theories are moving towards a version of the manager 3.0 who has all the attributes of the influencer. This is all the more true as the influencer will be at ease in agile organisations that are flourishing nowadays.

HAVING influencer qualities is a plus, but BEING an influencer is an attitude that needs to be learned. Working with a coach will allow you to become an influencer yourself.

A few words on the author

Luz d’Ans is an ICF certified Executive Coach. After graduating from Sciences-Po Paris, she worked for 15 years in large international groups as a Risk Manager in France, Singapore and Switzerland. She is trained in neuroscience applied to leadership (neuroleadership) and in systemic business coaching. She accompanies individuals and companies in the challenges of their transformation: complex projects, talent upskilling and recovery after a life accident.

How did an life accident gave meaning to my career?

How did an life accident gave meaning to my career?

As a coach, I often ask my clients to take an overview of their past years. Often clients feel dissatisfied with their current situation, but when they look back at their life trajectory, they are much more aware of what they have achieved.

Diving into the past is therefore a powerful exercise that allows us to reconnect with our story. I have therefore decided to do this exercise myself for my past decade. Are you ready to follow me for this journey into the past ?

Review of the past decade

Let’s go back to 10 years ago, at the beginning of 2010. Who was I at 33? I was a young woman, an expat in Singapore, combining a career and a first child. I am a risk manager in private banking and my career is “exemplary”: Sciences-Po, audit, private banking…

2011. The year is punctuated by attempts to have a second child. After some difficulties that, like many young women, I did not mention, I am finally expecting a little girl born in 2012.

2012. I go back to work. One year after the birth of my daughter, to my great surprise, I am expecting a third child. This decade was the one that turned my family core of three into a tribe of five! I am feel blessed!

2013. Is the year of my third child as well as the year I laid the foundation stone that completely transformed my life. But this process started in a very painful way as I discovered, 7 months pregnant, that I had breast cancer. The predictions were not in my favour… I gave birth to my son prematurely so that I could start my treatments.

2014. This year remains a big black hole. I start a treatment journey that will end in 2017. I often had the feeling of being in a parallel universe, disconnected from “others”, i.e. the healthy. However, it was during this period that I began a profound change in my vision of the world.

2015. In between reconstructive surgeries, I return to work with a huge hope: to pick up my life where the illness had stolen it two years earlier. I still live in Singapore and I am lucky enough to work for a company with exemplary behaviour and caring managers. I am back to my responsibilities and my team with an adapted schedule. After two years with no other reference points than medical appointments, it is a real relief to find a structured time and a familiar space… The work is still intense and colleagues complain about the constant changes but I have the feeling that everything is in place, unchanging, almost reassuring… The reorganisations are only epiphenomena. The company is bought out but that doesn’t stress me out. On the other hand, I struggle with major concentration problems. Little by little, I am recovering physically but my cognitive abilities are weakened. I have the strange feeling of being present and absent at the same time. I am beginning to wonder what to do with the life I can once again look forward to: continuing to work to develop my responsibilities is no longer enough. I decide to quit my job overnight. With a personal development perspective, I decided to join a coaching school whose teaching is based on neuroscience. Little did I know at the time that I would become a coach!

2016. I am still unable to project myself into a career but I decide to give myself time and devote myself to what I love. With the help of a coach, I started to look inward. One day I told her about the small collection of antique jewellery I had started to build up years before. I started to buy new ones that I had seen my grandmother collect. Friends urged me to buy some for them and one thing led to another and I started a small business. Against all odds, I make a decent living from this business. But that’s not the most important thing… Thanks to this activity, my neurons start to work again and I discover the desire to create something beyond myself to satisfy my customers. Jewellery is no longer enough for me. I have been coaching occasionally for a year and the results obtained by the coachees give me enormous satisfaction. I am hesitant to launch myself… However, I have already decided that I will create my own coaching and consulting company and that it will be called ORISE, a contraction of the English verb “rise” and the word “horizon”.

2017. Our expatriation ends. A big step backwards with a very brief move to Switzerland and then to France. Once again, I feel like I’m just a piece of straw being tossed around by the circumstances. But my determination does not weaken. I sold my jewellery business. I continue to train and develop my coaching practice. We bought a house in France, in Alsace, my husband’s region. I decide to renovate it from top to bottom. It is my bastion, my anchor, the place where my children will build their childhood memories. I feel my energy returning.

2018. The year when everything explodes. I create ORISE Management and start a mission of accompaniment to change and coaching in a large bank. This mission will last one year. The richness of the exchanges was as good as the challenge. The individual coaching sessions followed one another. This is the year that marks my official remission: five years after my diagnosis. I wanted to share my journey and created a Facebook page called “C my NEW me : c’est mon nouveau moi avec ou après le cancer“. I tell my story of how I recovered from cancer. I get friends to testify. Very quickly, many followers joined this page dedicated to cancer patients and to all those who have revealed themselves after a life accident. 100, 500, 1000 people and today we are 3 300, more than 100 people have testified and I have gathered a team of 5 volunteers. This achievement is certainly one of the greatest achievements in my life. I created “C my NEW me” with my conviction as a coach that if you manage to project a vision of yourself, you can remove your blockages and achieve the things you wished for and even go beyond ! I’m getting back into music, learning piano and musical theatre. I am delightfully experiencing the neuroplasticity of my brain through these artistic activities.

Back to last year, 2019. Coaching occupies my life day and night. During the day, I practice my activity. My children no longer wake up in the evening but I still get little sleep because that is when I take time to read and reflect on the fundamentals of coaching. I develop my own programmes and original and impactful coaching tools such as a card game to practice in a group. It was also the year when I reconciled with my story. Still with a lot of difficulty, because to be honest, I still have this irrational feeling that cancer is a “failure”. But I am able to speak openly about this experience, including at a TED Talk in Basel. I continue to develop my business with my private and corporate clients, whom I thank for their trust.

5 lessons that these 10 years have taught me 

It is dizzy to look back on these ten years, both difficult and fantastic. But there are five lessons that I have learned from this exercise that shed light on my work as a coach.

Lesson one – First of all, I’m not the young woman I was at 33 anymore, I sometimes even find it hard to conceive that it’s me when I look at photos of myself at that the time. And it is safe to say that I’ll be a different woman again in 10 years. Our lives and careers are not linear. We all have more difficult moments, even actual ruptures. Learning to integrate these difficulties into our life trajectory to make sense of them gives us an incredible strength. In adversity, unsuspected resources can be revealed.

Lesson two – I have discovered that it can take longer to recover from a cognitive decline than it does to overcome a physical disability. I see this very clearly as a coach with burn-out clients: they often feel guilty for collapsing when ‘everything was going pretty well’. The lesson I draw from this is that you have to take the time to rebuild yourself and tell yourself that what you do will make sense later. As soon as you feel like you’re being overwhelmed, it’s time to step aside and take the time to find out what your life mission is.

Lesson three – Being able to overcome blockages is essential to becoming an actor in your own life. We are by nature resistant to change. Overcoming blockages is also about giving yourself the means to take on new challenges. It is sometimes easier to start with steps that are more accessible to us (jewellery in my case) to regain self-confidence.

Lesson four – Finding your place in the world is essential. Life’s accidents cut us off from the world. And yet, knowing how to live in a group is essential to our happiness, whether we are extraverted or whether we need to recharge our batteries alone. In the workplace, we are faced with a group that we have not necessarily chosen. Learning to exchange with this group in order to build together can be a great source of satisfaction. To do this, you have to be able to defuse group conflicts, which are often nothing more than the crystallisation of blockages experienced here and there. This is why I like to accompany teams that are not reaching their full potential, because the satisfaction of a group feeds the satisfaction of the individuals that constitute it.

Lesson five – Sharing is essential. Living without sharing your experiences, good or bad, is to deprive yourself of an incredible lever to give meaning to your life and nourish your life mission. It may sound crazy, but I’m not sure I would have made it this far if I hadn’t been ill. I am where I always wanted to be: in human accompaniment, searching for solutions. Being ill has forced me to make decisions in spite of my fears and blockages. And it is this strength that I wish to pass on to the individuals and companies that I accompany: overcome complex situations and give themselves the means to achieve their ambitions.

Thank you for taking this journey into the past with me. And you, what lessons have you learned from this little “return to the past” exercise ?