Representation matters, because if you can SEE her, you can BE her




Half of humanity is feminine and yet we still struggle for equality. Whether in firms, politics or in society, stats show we’re still lagging behind in the equality field. 

An article I recently read in Forbes explores the importance of representation. When in doubt, we all need images and stories of people who set an example. Let me tell you about the woman who inspired me to pursue my dreams since day 1.

In my younger years I discovered the amazing Ellen MacArthur.Today, Ellen is a retired – successful – sailor running one of the most engaged foundations fighting plastic pollution. Runner-up for the Vendée Globe French competition** in 2000-2001, she breaks the world record for the solo circumnavigation around the globe.  At the time, little me looked up to her as a hero. I never thought, growing up, that Ellen could ever surpass the hero she used to represent for me.

In 2009, she created her own foundation to fight against plastic pollution. She told the world about her experience as a sailor, and the key issues she stumbled across in her journeys. A month ago, her association released a guide with IDEO to help people better design with a sustainable approach. Not only is my dream to work with them, I truly hope someday I’ll be able to make a difference like her. Whenever someone talks about meaning at work, I think of her. I still listen to her TEDx on a regular basis, just to remind myself everything is possible. All it took was somebody to look up to.

look around

I posted a picture on Instagram for the International Day of the Girl (10/11) saying how grateful I was to be surrounded by women who inspire me on a daily basis. I want to share their portraits over the next months.

The first is Nanaui in the picture next to me. She’s one of many setting an example of how gender shouldn’t define our career paths. She started out her studies in a scientific preparatory class* in France. The lack of girls in the class surprised her, but she went on anyways. After a while she decided to quit her studies to pursue design. Among her many experiences, she managed a FabLab and thrives for gender equality. I met Nanaui at the HIVE, when she started working on an interactive installation. Today, she left for a road trip in Brazil – her home country – to give workshops and meet people.

Nanaui and Apolline at thecamp

Who’s your role model?


* Scientific preparatory class: considered as the best selecting and hardworking classes in the French educational system, preparatory classes last for 2 to 3 years post-high school. They coach their students to compete and try to enter some of the best engineering schools

** Vendée Globe: a solitary sailing race around the globe

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *