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I’m Claire Calmejane, I am the Chief Innovation Officer of Société Générale. But way before that, I graduated as an IT engineer in France. It’s been an interesting journey always working in digital transformation. I’ve also published at MIT about how big organizations are evolving, I’ve led engineer teams, I’ve worked in a lot of strategic jobs. And all this diversity, as well as giving some of my time to transform the Fintech sector in the UK, but as well building the Fintech community across the world, have led me to this position in Société Générale today. Working alongside Frédéric Oudéa on how we move Société Générale to be one of the most innovative Banks in Europe.
What I want to share is 3 tips that have probably made my career.
1/ Work your authenticity. When I look back at my career, at the last 16 years I’ve worked as a consultant for 7 years. My senior bosses told me: you really need to work in your authenticity, keep it and make it to the profit of our clients. And to some extent you know as a very junior consultant and you also have to deliver, be targeted and it’s a job where you are selling assignments, so people also want to to be rendered, be lean and etc.
And I believe that standing for myself, standing from my personality, I’ve probably made a big difference for later. And that’s not always an easy choice to make because sometimes you are surrounded by your environment and it’s hard to put yourself in other shoes and say this is really what I want to do. You have influence in different ways. So I think working in this authenticity is critical.
2/ Be curious and be enthusiastic about what you do. I always consider a job is what you do, day in and day, out to serve the purpose of the strategy of the company you’re working for being a startup or being a large company. And there is a lot of ways that you will explore that may be not related directly to your job that can to help you to build that.
That’s what made a big difference. Being interested by that or being interested to really support some of the fintech that were there or some of the accelerators made a difference about the perception but also my ability because I ended up to just enjoy everything I do. A lot of time people say: oh, your work on a Saturday morning. but for me I don’t “work”, you know, I learn, I love it because I’m curious and because I always maintain this state of mind.
3/ Build around you a network and a team, especially if you are a woman. The reality is maybe when you are a man, some days it’s a little bit more easy because you have the support of your wife that is there and I think it’s changing. You have to build your support network, you have to build it at home, you have to build it at work and you have to build it especially around senior mentorship and sponsorship.
You should not be frightened to go to pitch the most senior people of your network or to create this meeting with CEOs, start a conversation and try to find what is on their mind and where you have a mutual interest and ask for the mentorship. Because today I cannot believe that any CAC 40 or any CEO of the industry is not interested by having a perspective of a tech CEO in an environment that is not exactly that where they work.
Go and find these big sponsors. This has helped me to grow a lot. And now what I’m looking is more junior mentors because I always need to stay in tune with this Tech sector that is constantly evolving.
I think the growth mindset is definitely something that is needed for the next decade.