I was recently interviewed by Karima Chibane from “Elles font bouger les lignes”, the youtube channel dedicated to sharing women’s stories and how they impact gender equality. The interview is in French, but you will find below the key ideas I shared in English.

Who am I?

I’m Stéphanie Mitrano-Méda, I’m 46 and currently based in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam. I studied business in France and in the UKI where I worked for over 10 years. I was trained as a coach there and the combination of management and coaching lead me to do executive coaching in big international corporations.

In 2006, I came back to France to change life and I met Philippe who is now my husband and business partner at Innovation Copilots. In 2012, I got my PhD title for a thesis about entrepreneurial mentoring, a topic that is close to my heart as it carries very feminine values of helping others in their development.

Since 2016, we are based in the Netherlands. We have been co-piloting innovation projects not only on the business strategic aspect but also on the cultural transformation part. We often laugh at the fact that very stereotypically I do the human / feminine / soft part and he does the business / masculine / hard part. The reality is more complex than that and there is a real synergy and complementatity that brings value to our clients who are based mainly in Europe but in Asia too.

How do I work on the gender equality issue?

There are three ways I am impacting gender equality:

  1. The first is in my activity with Innovation Copilots, in the cultural transformation part of companies, I bring feminine values. This is not specific to gender: men can also carry so-called feminine values ​​such as collaboration, development of others, listening and empathy; as much as women can also embody masculine values, such as competitiveness, performance and assertiveness. By establishing a better balance of these values ​​in the corporate culture and therefore in the practices, processes and behaviours within a company, we facilitate, we encourage, we value and we benefit from diversity, equity and gender inclusion but also from diversity in cultures, ways of thinking and capacities.
  2. The second way is more specific to women, since I am active in several women’s networks of large groups or administrations. Either because I set up a mentoring program for women (Pole emploi); or because I lead workshops on empowerment through emotions with Rotterdam School of Management for example and its clients such as the European Central Bank.
  3. And the last way is my volunteer activity, I regularly mentor women to help them in their professional transition, in their reflections on themselves and their careers. And since last year I joined the Female Wave of Change foundation and their circle of wise women to contribute more globally and concretely to change in the world.

If I had a magic wand, what would be my first action to solve gender equality?

My magic wand would transform large and medium-sized companies’ EXCOMs and boards so as to have a beautiful diversity, at all levels, gender, disability, cultures, neurodiversity, LGBTQ +. I would give them the tools and mindsets to be able to collaborate in this diversity. Because a very heterogeneous group also poses its share of relational challenges, my gift would allow them to benefit from the wealth diversity brings and ensure they can set an example in their companies.

Which woman inspires me?

Brené Brown has inspired me for the last ten years since her first TED talk to have the courage to feel vulnerable and be authentic.