In search of
my true North
Last summer, before a necessary break and a digital detox, something great, something wonderful, something incredible happened.
Have you ever feel naked at a crossroads during peak traffic, wearing no social mask, embracing your vulnerabilities, yet feeling so good and support by your peers, finding an incredible mentor, discovering and embracing your True North – “the internal compass that guides you successfully through life” ? That’s exactly what happened to me at Harvard Business School.
Was it because of the powerful brand? Let’s pause here. Was it “ THE HARVARD “ of Michelle and Barack Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates or Emerson? Of course, the combination of whatever activity I was doing, and the reality that I was doing it at Harvard hitted me everytime. I couldn’t stop feeling quite humbled by the fact that I was actually there, becoming the leader I want to be.
It must have been the HBS faculty and Senior Lecturers who are widely recognized as skilled educators, groundbreaking researchers, and award-winning authors, such as the amazing Tom DeLong, the leadership visionary Bill George, the punchy Nancy F. Koehm and the impactful Scott Snook? Or maybe It had everything to do with me being surrounded by 165 greatest authentic leaders of 49 nationalities, from large established organizations who represented diverse industries?
To a woman whom I met at the airport, who knew nothing about my biggest crucible, who was impressed and surprised by my background, and who wanted to know, how I had done, to be what she considered to be a young black woman to whom everything had succeeded, I answered: (a lot of)
Work, Luck and God.
I am 33, but since black don’t crack, people always believe that I can’t be more than 27. The 8th of july 2012, I was 27. That night, my husband, 31, was killed and died in my arms while I was four months pregnant. This tradegy is not only my biggest crucible, it allows me, every day, to face the mirror and to choose to be my true self, to choose not to be reduced by the pain, and instead, to do something great for Humanity, not only for our amazing daughter, but for the world.
Today, what I know for sure is that my heart is full of gratitude : THANK YOU.
A special shout out to those who are my most faithful supporters (my daughter on top of the list), to my ALD team support : Rihard de Villiers, Rachel Romero, Trki Aljabaa, Susanna Mesa, Ali Tahboub, Carrie Smith, Anurag Gupta, aka “the ALD Awesomeness” :-) , but also to Maturin Tchoumi, my Yasmin Davidds, Jessica reid Sliwerski, Florian Schaefer, Trishia S. Lichauco, Dina Amin, Simone Venosta, Patrick Tam, Debasish Mallick, Bridie o’Donnell , Chiemezie Ejinima, Apesksha Gupta, Marine Célia Hamou, Sophie Guichard, Kunle Falola. I feel honored and happy to call you friends.
As an Authentic Leader committed to “make a positive difference in the world and leave a legacy for others to follow”, I have received beyond measure. It’s time to share.