Together We Build Dreams
I strongly believe in the fact that all individual actions are worth to improve the world we are living in.
To begin with, please tell us a little about yourself.
Marie-Catherine Boinay: “I am a 51-year old French woman. I have a fruitful professional experience in finance and demanding organisations, including 20 years within the Danone company where I grew and learnt a lot. One year ago, I decided to leave to discover new organisations, new ways of collaboration. But also to get more flexibility and freedom in my decisions and work life balance. Re-inventing my professional life is exciting. It revolves around innovation, through the start-ups I am investing in as a business angel, and diversity with my involvement in PWN Global (a for purpose volunteer organization engaged in gender balance). Although French, I have always been exposed to international, whether in business or through a great experience of 4 years expatriation in Tokyo, Japan. My personal life is equally important to me, taking care of my family (my husband and our three young adults’ children). Sport is a cornerstone of my energy. I am a triathlete enjoying swimming, running or cycling almost every day.“
Can you tell us about your “Why” and how you came to leadership position?
M-CB:“I am curious to know what the day will bring me. I’m also eager to achieve the objectives I have set to contribute to the teams I am supporting. Last but not least I’m grateful to be healthy, wealthy and with friends and family.
As for how I came to leadership, first of all, let us make it clear that I have not in all circumstances been chosen to lead. When I have been chosen, I guess this is because of my positive energy and strong willingness to make things happen, the confidence I have and expressed in the fact that as a team we will succeed, and my technical background (as a finance expert).”
What is it you want to achieve and what made you decide on your professional and personal pathway?
M-CB: “I strongly believe in the fact that all individual actions are worth to improve the world we are living in. For example, I am investing in start-ups which projects have a positive impact on the environment. I am also a coach for the good of young social entrepreneurs and supporting through PWN gender balance and women’s leadership.
From a personal standpoint, I am a great promoter of cycling in Paris (never using a car)!
A major professional decision of mine was to leave Danone last year. I am very grateful to that company for the values and skills it brought me and the people I met and worked with. However, I had felt at that point of time the need to have a more direct impact on my decisions and values, and act in a more entrepreneurial way.“
How do you overcome barriers and achieve your goals? How do you keep up with the fast-changing society?
Marie-Catherine Boinay: “Internal barriers are maybe the strongest. Endurance sports helps me first to prove myself I am capable, second to fill stronger and third to create the time and space to think of barriers and the way I will overcome them.
External barriers are easier to overcome, if possible. I am always trying to analyze clearly and calmly the problems. To identify what can be done and who can help. Then action, work, contact, and a clear roadmap are key success factors.
As for coping with the stress, once again, sports but also family and friends, spending time with them and cooking for them are my own way to deal with it. I am also a big fan of literature. Reading novels is a very good way to exit present for a while and lower the pressure.
To keep in touch with this world I’m trying as much as possible to understand what’s happening by reading the press, attending conferences, being in contact with start- ups, talking with my kids. In a nutshell, being curious, testing and learning without trying to be an expert in everything.“
Who inspires you? And why?
M-CB: “I am inspired by people who have a vision and a clear strategy, from CEO of multinational companies, leaders of NGO, to start upers. My husband and friends are also all inspiring me for one thing they have, mainly their life conception. Nature, whether the Auvergne landscape where I grew up or the South of France where I am often staying among the olive trees, is also the place where I re-energize and get inspiration.
Who has supported you, and who has challenged you the most on your journey? And how?
M-CB: “Besides some of my managers in my previous professional life, my husband, a great leader himself. He pushes me to express clearly my internal barriers, and to find my own way to the solution by reinforcing my confidence.”
What kind of resources has proven to be the best help throughout your journey ? And where did you find them?
M-CB: “Very simply, I believe the main resource is … myself, thanks a lot to my parents. A reasonable intellectual level, hard work capacity, the willingness to be almost excellent in everything I am doing, the physical healthiness and appetite for sport, and a bit of chance as usual, to meet the right persons at the right moment.“
When did your leadership story begin and where is it now?
M-CB: “I would like to say from the beginning 😉 My mother says that my leadership started in the family with my sisters (I am the oldest of three). Over the past 30 years of my professional life I was a manger leading teams. Since six months, I am trying to apply my leadership in a non-executive position.”
Where do your priorities lie as a leader?
M-CB: “Collectively achieve the success or the objectives that were set.“
Finally, what words of advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Marie-Catherine Boinay: “Trust yourself, go go go! There is so much to achieve and enjoy among the world and with others!“
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