‘Rien resiste a la Tenacite’ with Francoise Holder

We hosted our inaugural BroadMinded Paris event this month. We enjoyed hearing the  various stories for our new Parisian members. For all the different sectors and industries in the room there were certain common themes that emerged. Yes, it’s an extraordinary time to be a woman in 2018, but nonetheless everyone is grappling with trying to balance their job, friendships, family and personal life, with not quite enough time to go around.

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Our speaker for the evening was the fantastic Françoise Holder, who led the discussion and told her inspiring story with honesty and humour. From her refusal to stay at home like a Jewish Princess after getting married, to her own 1968 revolution she spent “pregnant, working in a bakery,” Françoise has always had the tenacity to go against expectations and follow her own path.

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Here are some of the things we learned from her speech:

  1. Momentum is important: get on the train that presents itself. For Françoise and her husband, it was the arrival of shopping centres in France, which allowed Paul to widen its distribution

  2. It’s fine and necessary to fail; just make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice

  3. It’s very important to have happiness at work; there is nothing than worse than waking up in the morning dreading going to work

  4. Balance doesn’t exist: the life of a woman is a mille-feuille where love, family, friendships and work are intertwined

  5. In a family-run business, try to bring in people from outside

  6. Role-models are important but anti-role models also play a part; often your decisions are a reaction to what others around you have done

  7. There is no unique model for doing things: find your equilibrium. For example entrepreneurship is not a panacea, and isn’t for everyone

  8. If you have a good idea, money is not a problem because banks will lend to you. However they don’t want to lend to an idea that has no future

  9. Find your target/mission and focus on it: for Force Femmes it was helping to get women over 45 years old back into work

  10. And finally: rien ne résiste à la ténacité

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