December 3, 2018
Q. You’ve been a member of the French-American Foundation’s Transatlantic Forum for almost one year. What has been your favorite Forum meeting and why?
I am thrilled to be a member of the Transatlantic Forum. I feel lucky to benefit from the deep, thoughtful insights it is offering in a variety of fields, geopolitics in particular. The dinner on political transitions in Iran with Kian Tajbakhsh, for instance, was very enlightening.
Like many of us, my life is intense – a permanent running against deadlines – and the Transatlantic Forum’s small gatherings bring welcome occasions to stop for a while, sit down and focus on a one specific subject important to the world.
Also, its principle to keep a balance between American and French members makes it quite unique, creating occasions for bi-cultural dialogues and sharing of perspectives as needed for the well-being of all.
Q. Having developed your career in both France and the United States, what is the value, in your opinion, of encouraging dialogue between professionals from both countries?
Beyond France and America, I believe in the value of encouraging dialogue between all countries. In our unpredictable world, communication is the way to understand and be understood.
As far as professionals from France and America are specifically concerned: they of course have a lot to benefit from collaborating with one another. The best of both countries’ assets – like the energy, the positivity, the looking towards the future of the US – NY in particular – combined with the French no-compromise mindset in terms of requirements, along with both countries’ innovation skills, can make stunning recipes for success.
Whatever the ecosystem you are in, I am convinced that we are stronger together, that win-win collaborations make the best of everything. In today’s global environment, progress relies on the exchange of ideas.
Q. What attracted you to the field of external relations at the start of your career?
While I was raised in a very small, isolated French village, I’ve always felt eager to walk around the world. As soon as I could, I started travelling and ended up visiting around 30 countries backpacking – with more to come! It brings so much richness to experience others, and all forms of diversity – and is so needed to understand the world.
Coming back to a career perspective, I very naturally turned towards areas of international external Communications– and now with 20 years of experience, I am fully focused on advancing further in that field. I look forward to continuing to build 360 ecosystems that rely on the balance of the exciting, permanently evolving, digital opportunities together with the remaining absolute need for face-to-face relationships. Communication is at the heart of everything.
Q. As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the global communication advisory firm Richard Attias & Associates with unique expertise in Nation Branding, your responsibilities include 360 Marketing strategies and implementation. Can you tell us more about what it means to undertake this work on an international scale?
Richard Attias and Associates is one of the only advisory firms in the world with proven expertise in Nation Branding. We help countries enhance their global image and strengthen their economy, by attracting foreign investments, jobs and productive partnerships. The company’s deeply-rooted knowledge of the world’s key regions – their cultures, challenges and trends – and its close relationships with the corporate, political and civic leaders of various countries, make it an authoritative partner for clients looking to enter new markets or grow existing ones.
When I used to work in the luxury industry, as a CMO, at the end of the day my objectives were to develop/protect brands’ awareness and to contribute to build traffic in its brick & mortar and on digital retail platforms. Today, at RA&A, I actually do the same at a country scale.
Through major initiatives worldwide, the ambition is to contribute to build a better world.
Q. Before joining Richard Attias & Associates, you were Worldwide Communications Director at Boucheron and an active member of the Ethics Committee of its parent company Kering. What impact did your experience on the committee have on your role as a leader?
Beyond being a great pride, to be a member of Kering’s ethics Committee has still further reinforced my conviction that ethical behavior and sustainability should – as a holistic approach – be at the heart of the way companies do business. Inside and outside, and along the entire supply chains.
What, other than ethical behavior, can build trust? And could there be sustainable business without trust? I am a firm believer in the need to demonstrate day-to-day commitment to responsible business management. A firm believer that from a long-term perspective, it will always be a win to have a continually reinforced ethical pledge.
From creating strong sustainability departments, with power at groups’ executive committees; to ratifying important engagements like the UN Global Compact, to creating or supporting Foundations fighting against injustices, there are many actions to make ethics and sustainability the cornerstones of business activities – with ambitious and concrete objectives – with determination and seriousness.
It is essential to be aware that a precise and demanding ethical framework is the only possible guarantee of longevity and development. As chairman and CEO of Kering Francois-Henri Pinault says: “Only a strict ethical framework allows us to have sustainable growth.”
All leaders have a specific responsibility to push the boundaries in sustainability to influence their industries and countries.