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Interview with Françoise Derolez

By 12 February 2020February 19th, 2020No Comments
Françoise Derolez speaks about her vision of leadership
Together We Build Dreams

 I want to be an actor of change, to bring energy and enthusiasm.

Role Model ID Card
  • Name: Françoise Derolez
  • 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.

Françoise Derolez: “I have been President of PWN Paris with Cécile Bernheim for 4.5 years. And Irecently got reelected for a new mandate together with Marie-Laetitia Gourdin for 2 years. I am working at Idruide as Marketing and business development director. IDruide is a company dedicated to education and digital. I have been an actor of change over the past 25 years in various sales and leadership roles in High Tech companies and volunteers’ organization.
I am dynamic and strongly involved in digital transformation, able to gather different ecosystems to build virtuous solutions
«Be the change that you wish to see in the world » is my motto as IT professional and as president of Professional Women’s Network Paris.
I hold an Executive MBA from Sciences Po Paris and I am one of the co-authors of the book “Tendances Sociales et Culturelles de la Valeur” (2015). At a personal and professional level, challenges strengthen my capabilities
I like to be with my famlily and friends.


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

FD: “I am a positive person and I’m strongly convinced that innovation is the key for change, for a better world, for each human being in this world. As women we have a role to play. That’s why with Cécile Bernheim, we decided to orchestrate the transformation towards a men-friendly network at PWN Paris, which was done on June 2018. Inclusion and balanced leadership are the two axes of our professional lives.

 I want to be an actor of change, to bring energy and enthusiasm. Together with Cécile, we were elected twice.This is a proof of our leadership and a great recognition of our vision and strategy.

@fderolez, president of @PWNParis, is another #GameChangeHer. For the #SWinG series of ITW with #rolemodels, she shares a 🗝️ leadership advise: 'Sometimes, it is important to have a meta attitude, to take time to refresh our mind'…


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

FD: Professional Women’s Network in Paris is the leading international network for women executives and leaders. Its mission is to promote gender equality in the business world. This is my vision:working hard to offer to our members an inspirational network for their professional future.
Every day, we -the PWN Paris’s board- work together to propose workshops, conferences, networking, events… To push women to dare, to have their own strategy for their career.

I naturally have always wanted to be at the heart of business, be at the beginning of new ideas, new challenges, etc… It is for the very same reason that -after 25 years in IT corporate companies- I decided to work in a startup dedicated to education, for the future of our children, for the leaders of tomorrow.”


How do you overcome barriers and achieve your goals?

FD: “Of course, the way is not so easy sometimes. But I always find new people to highlight my professional and volunteer’s life. Sometimes, it is important to have a “meta” attitude, to take time to refresh our mind, that’s why I took a new challenge in 2013 at SciencesPo and then ESSEC.
I cope under the stress of the environment by practising sport, running each week. It is very important to keep a positive and energetic attitude for myself and for others.


How do you keep up with the fast-changing society?
FD:“It is my daily job and I like this environment. It is not a challenge for me.
At PWN Paris level, it is our mission as Presidents to engage transformation, to pay attention to innovation and trends in every domain to engage safely but dynamically.


Who of what inspires you? And why?

Françoise Derolez: A women like Christine Lagarde is an example for every woman in the world. The CES (Customer Electronic Show) is an amazing place for me but also a class of children in their efforts to understand the lesson or playing.”

Who has supported you, and who has challenged you the most on your journey? And how?

FD: “I have several mentors that I have the pleasure to talk with. It is just a conversation, not only focussed on my challenges. I like to understand several points of view, several manners to lead.
Additionnally, PWN Paris Sénat’s dinners offer a lot of opportunities to meet great people, which are very precious at personal or professional level.
As for making allies, both with men and women, I have always find it fruitful and a great opportunity to build together a project.”


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

FD: PWN Paris is a very dynamic and sustainable network, this is a great reward for me. A professional level, IDruide leader gave me his full confidence to develop the market and enlarge the notoriety to become the N°1 in digital education.

I in fact do act as a leader both in my professional and personal life. I have no segmentation, just the will to do things. If you have a clear vision of what to do, what to engage, you are able to have a clever strategy, and are able to engage with your team with an open minded attitude.


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

FD: “The  most difficult challenge was the transformation of PWN Paris for inclusion. It took times and exchanges. At the end we all agree that it is important. To push gender balance is crucial for us, for our competitiveness, for our society and most importantly for the next generation.


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

Françoise Derolez: “Embrace your life, dare to talk, to propose, to build with others. Travel and be in touch with different cultures, different people. 

Smile, life is beautiful!


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

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