International Women’s Day at AKKA with Stéphanie Bia

NewsMarch 08 2021

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What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far?

That’s not an easy question as my professional career has been built on challenges. I love facing complex situations that get me out of my comfort zone!

If I had to choose one, I would say the coordination of the crisis cell at Altran back in 2019 when we faced a major cyber-attack. It was a very tough period, full of challenges particularly during the first couple of weeks, but I learned so much.


Who inspires you?

I am inspired by people with strong values, who have convictions, who know what they want to achieve, and align their actions with their goals without ever compromising on their values.


What would you say is the biggest risk you have taken in your career?

Managing any change involves facing a risk, accepting it, and mitigating it… and change is intrinsic to life, or at least I have never considered not changing to be an option. I have instigated and embraced many professional changes in the course of my career.

I guess some thought I was totally crazy when I decided in 2008 to transition from my position at the New York Stock Exchange where I was on a biweekly basis, to take on an Executive MBA at Paris-based HEC, all while expecting my 3rd child and my daughters being 1 and half and 3 years old.


How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?

Well, I guess it starts with solid organization… that’s my thing and gets easier with experience. I have learned over the years why, when, and how to say “no”, in all domains. In addition, I’d mention a few principles that helped me a lot to survive the past 15 years managing both my personal and professional life.

To begin with, I do not try to balance daily. I don’t think it works. The most probable outcome of that would be a way too heavy mental load. Not only are there phases in our lives where our priorities are evolving, our needs are not always the same. Neither are those of our loved ones. Balance also comes through doing things one at a time, in order to do them right and efficiently. Whether  I am trying to find the last pair of sneakers that are out of stock everywhere, dealing with a very sophisticated Lego® set or preparing for the next communication, I am 100% focused on what I’m doing in that moment.

It is also important to me that I maintain a close link with nature, which is why I live close to the forest and I go as often as I can to the mountains or to the sea. It is my way to grab as much energy as I can.

And finally, I found the right partner! We are aligned, we share the same values. He is not “helping” me with the chores; I hate this type of wording, we are both managing the family we have decided to create together, and everything that comes with it!