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Interview with Cécile Bernheim

By 3 February 2020No Comments
Cécile Bernheim speaks about her leadership journey
Together We Build Dreams

All along my careers, I had to face hurdles. To face them, I apply resilience and, above all, looked for support and advice […]

Role Model ID Card
  • Name: Cécile Bernheim
  • Country: France
  • Organisation: PWN Paris
  • Elected position: President
  • How long have you been in your current position? 4,5 years

To begin with, please tell us a little about yourself.

Cécile Bernheim: I was born 62 years ago in Strasbourg where I spent my early years and was a student.

I was raised with 2 brothers in a family environment with very strong values (work, ethics…). We all three had very interesting careers. Serendipity, boldness and desire to achieve took us away from our original education along different paths.

Since I have been a working woman all along developing my career, taking over time more responsibilities, ending senior executive, member of Executive Committees.

Sport is one of my passion, I have been practicing at competition level in several ones: skiing, squash, golf, swimming. Hence contributing to the SWinG project resonates a lot to me.


Can you tell us about your “Why”  and how you came to leadership position?

CB: My driver has always been to have fun and push my limits in what I do and to be in a position where I can impact and positively contribute.

This is true for both my professional life and my personal one.


What is it you want to achieve and what made you decide on your professional and personal pathway?

CB: I had been a member of PWN Paris for over 15 years. At that time, I joined more to develop my network and meet other women from different horizons. I discovered the richness of the network and the power of networking. It also opened my eyes to the fact I had been lucky to have a successful career. 

This is why I felt that it was important for me to give back to the society and to share my experience.


What kind of resources has proven to be the best help throughout your journey ? And where did you find them?

Cécile Bernheim: I am an ever optimistic and positive person. I will always see the half-full glass, ie the way forward rather than the problem.

With such a mindset, I can make things evolve and influence around me.

Doing so leading PWN Paris has been a pleasure and without arrogance I think I contributed to develop the network, fostering enthusiasm and creativity of the team.”


When did your leadership story begin and where is it now?

CB: “I decided to become a volunteer and bring my own stone 10 years ago or so. I first joined the Women on Board committees, working on programs to foster access of women to companies’ board of directors. Being more visible, I have been contacted by the then presidents who suggested I should run for a VP role on the board.

Why were they interested by me? They probably thought I could be a good addition to the board bringing  a good combination of leadership, strategic thinking and ability to make things happen .

This is how I joined the board as VP Membership. Two years later, I decided to run for Presidency with the aim to bring my passion for developing a gender-balanced society and to contribute with my skills and experience to this goal. I had the honour to be elected; it was the start of a tremendous 4,5 years leadership experience.


What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in your election journey? How did you overcome it?

CB: When you read all the above, all seems natural and easy. The truth is of course not so black and white.

All along my careers, I had to face hurdles. To face them, I apply resilience and, above all, looked for support and advice in my friends and family circles.


Finally, what words of advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Cécile Bernheim: What I didn’t activate enough and that I would do if I was 20 today, is to build strong alliances and to have a mentor/sponsor that makes the job for me.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with 3 pieces of advice:

  • Trust yourself
  • Be bold and 
  • Make sure to have fun


Do you want to know more about the SWinG project? Have a look here.

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