- Interview -
Formidable charm and efficiency
Véronique Forge-Karibian expresses her passion through a combination of high heels and talent. And when she speaks, in her self-assured tone of voice, one can sense that behind her exquisite features lies a desire to achieve meaningful discourse. Perhaps it was her journey from political science studies in London to TV sets that forged this journalist’s iron will and determination to achieve. With Business O Féminin, she sends the active woman a message of freedom, giving her the keys to success in her professional life. A deliberately free-flowing conversation with an exceptional woman…
Women’s empowerment is on everyone’s lips. What is the objective and vision of your online magazine, Business O Féminin?
Business O Féminin was born from a desire to offer women advice and tools for their professional and personal lives, to help them find their way and develop their potential and talents. Our new formula allows our members to access exclusive content, events (Business O Féminin Club), awards (Business O Féminin awards) and thus be part of our influential network.
Once considered a form of servitude, work is now regarded as a source of fulfilment, leading to a quest for freedom. What are the keys to success?
The French word for work, travail (echoed in the English word travail meaning work of a painful or laborious nature) comes from tripalium, an instrument of torture! And this is still the case when one sees the increasing number of professional burnouts. There are no keys to success; everyone has their own according to their values and history. It’s like happiness: everyone has their formula, even if there are probably some fundamentals. For me, success already depends on knowing oneself and one’s aspirations, because how can we find our way if we haven’t probed our innermost selves to find out who we are? The media conveys many images of success, but they do not necessarily correspond to who we are. In my opinion, there is nothing more destructive than wanting to be like someone else. The keys to personal success therefore lie above all in this introspection and this inner journey.
Freedom to connect with one’s professional desire, freedom to change careers, freedom to undertake, freedom to flourish in one’s career without sacrificing one’s personal life. Yet being free implies self-emancipation.
Freedom is won every day; it is difficult to achieve because we live in societies that impose norms and patterns of thought on us. We have to detach ourselves from these in order to gain this emancipation and feel free to make our own choices and lead our own life. It’s not easy, but I think that being curious about others, spending time with people who don’t necessarily look like us, helps us to comprehend other possibilities.
What would you advise someone wishing to embark upon an entrepreneurial adventure?
I would tell them to talk to entrepreneurs about their aspirations in order to grasp what it means both professionally and personally, because entrepreneurship has become the new cool, but this life is not for everyone. You have to have the personality that goes with it, a sense of risk-taking and an ability to constantly reinvent yourself. Behind the “success stories” that the media sell us lie a lot of work and stress. It takes mental capacity to manage this. When getting started, surrounding oneself with positive people who will help you grow throughout your entrepreneurial adventure is key!
Do you believe in the strength of networks to boost your career?
Networks are essential for the development of one’s career because encounters give rise to opportunities. A network is built over years and it is not necessary to have that in place right from the start. We all have the capacity to create one for ourselves and it must be varied; I do not believe that we should only be part of women’s networks for example. Many of my “good fairies” have been men!
More than ever, freedom is a value that we must defend. What women do you admire who have worked to claim this right?
Definitely Olympe de Gouges, a pioneer who claimed equal rights for men and women and ended up guillotined during the French revolution because of her fight for these fundamental freedoms. Simone de Beauvoir is also part of my Hall of Fame; I still remember the day I opened the first page of The Second Sex and this sentence: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. For me, there is a before and an after this book. Finally, how could I not mention Simone Veil, whom I was fortunate to interview in my “Femmes d’exception” TV program on the Direct 8 channel. Her fight for the right to abortion changed the fate of so many women. This right, which is now under threat in so many countries, must be vigorously defended.
How do you see female entrepreneurship in the coming decades?
I think that women’s entrepreneurship will accelerate because we need women to change an economic and societal model that is running out of steam, as is daily proven by climate and environmental disasters as well as new social struggles. I was recently at the Global Summit of Women in Basel (July 2019) and I was able to see the power of this worldwide wave with all these women entrepreneurs from all over the planet who see the world differently. Women engage in entrepreneurship with a desire to have a positive impact on society and their responses to the challenges of the 21st century must be heard. This century will, I hope, be the century of women!
I have two of them: “Well behaved women rarely make history” by Eleanor Roosevelt and “They did not know it was impossible, so they did it” by Mark Twain.
Based on an interview by Stéphanie Laskar-Reich