The questionnaire answered by the Women of Tech is a variant of the Proust questionnaire, named not because Marcel Proust got lost in the Paris metro, but in memory of Emilie du Chatelet, a woman of letters, mathematician and physicist, renowned for her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica and the dissemination of Leibniz's physics work. She was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Bologna Institute. Emilie du Chatelet led a free and fulfilled life during the era of the Enlightenment and published a speech on happiness.
Why a career in tech?
I didn't choose a career in tech as much as in innovation ! I work on methodologies that allow me to better identify people's needs and to co-construct with them innovative solutions to meet such needs. These are often tech or digital solutions, but not always. If it really serves people and if it is linked to human beings rather than trying to replace them, tech can be a great conveyer of social innovation.
Your professional experience?
I am a engineer with a PhD in organic chemistry. At first, I wanted to work in pharmaceutical research, but then I decided to become an entrepreneur instead. I created my company, Lowpital, in 2017. For some time (from early 2019 to mid-2020), I also worked part-time for the Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris as an innovation project manager. But for the past year, I have been focusing exclusively on the development of my company, whose main activity is innovation consulting for healthcare actors.
Your first experience with technology?
My first professional experience was my PhD, where I could really quench my thirst for science. It was exciting, but at the same time it was not so much like me. I realized after a few months that I was more of an entrepreneur. That's why I fell into the world of startups, where I've been working for 4 years now.
What do you do today, and why?
Today, I run my company Lowpital. Our mission is to empower citizens and organizations to innovate in the healthcare system. For me, empowerment involves three things : inspiring, training and bringing people together. This is what we do through our conferences, our consulting missions, our trainings and our events ! I chose this path because hospital issues fascinate me and seem essential to me. Taking care of each other is the very essence of a society. I believe that each and every one of us has the power to act to transform our healthcare system, which must become more inclusive and more participatory.
Your strengths in this role?
I think my greatest strength comes from my convictions and values, which are deeply rooted in me and guide my actions : solidarity, empathy, humility. They are at the heart of Lowpital's mission and give me leadership with the people who identify with them. I am also fortunate to be able to share these ideas with a wide audience and to have found a communication style that reaches my targets ! Finally, I find it easy to meet new people and to grow both my network and my horizons this way.
Past challenges, failures and disappointments?
One of my biggest challenges was to convince my first clients that despite my young age and lack of experience in the medical field, I had something valuable to offer them ! One of my mottos is "the power of ignorance" : I argue that those who know the least are the ones who will have the most disruptive ideas. Fortunately, this was a good illustration of my own position at the beginning of the adventure. In general, what I find most challenging is the life/work balance. The problem with "impact" careers, where you work for a cause you deeply care about, is that it's very hard to stop. I experienced this at the end of the first COVID wave, where I ended up burning out. But we learn from our mistakes!
Best moments, successes you’re proud of?
For me, the best moment is the day I hired my first employee. It is a great source of pride for me that someone trusts me, believes in my project to the point of being involved full time, and recognizes my values and convictions. Today we are 5, and with each new recruitment, I feel really lucky and proud! Another very memorable moment, which was really a turning point for me, was my talk at S3 Odeon in 2017. It was my first public speaking engagement, and I was terrified ! But that experience forced me to articulate my beliefs, gave me confidence in my speaking skills, and allowed me to meet several people who are very important to me today. I didn't know it yet, but it was the first of many talks. Today, I love sharing my beliefs. It also allows me to get a perspective from my actions.
People who helped, influenced -or made your life difficult?
There are many people. The essence of my project is to bring people together, to work in collaboration and to co-construct. Therefore, I meet a lot of people and I am nourished by these meetings. In particular, I would like to mention Marie-Vorgan Le Barzic, the founder of NUMA, who was one of the first people to trust me by helping me launch the first Lowpital hackathon. The fact that she trusted me gave me wings ! She allowed me to work with her colleagues, which, at the time, was decisive in structuring my project. I don't think there is anyone who has made my life difficult... except for myself ! By being too strict with myself, too careless with my health, too obsessed with work. This famous balance is something I am working on now.
Your hopes and future challenges?
I have one ambition : to make the healthcare system more participatory, to convince our leaders to place more trust in professionals and users alike, to encourage the co-construction of products, services and even public policies. I think that this will require a lot of communication to change mentalities, the development and sharing of appropriate methodologies, and more diversity in the profiles of those who manage the health of our fellow citizens today! In the shorter term, I am currently working on a mission that the Minister of Health has entrusted to my friend Pauline Martinot and me on health promotion among young people. We will be handing over our recommendations to him very soon : I hope that I have contributed to the implementation of useful and effective measures.
What do you do when you don’t work?
Music ! I love to play the piano, the guitar, and above all I love to sing, especially in a choir. The feeling of disappearing into a collective makes me very happy !
Your heroes -from History or fiction?
I have many, but for the Women in Tech, I feel like mentioning Hedy Lamarr. I discovered her story thanks to the documentary Bombshell and since then I think of her very often. This woman, famous for her beauty, has not been recognized for her genius for a long time. What inspires me most about her journey is her resilience. Throughout her life, she kept on creating and making her inventions available to those who would put them to good use, despite the lack of recognition she faced. I have kept from her testimony the poem "The Paradoxical Commandments" by Kent M. Keith, which I reread from time to time to re-motivate myself!
A saying or proverb you like in particular?
"It is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." This has been true several times in my life and career... and it's often the only way to bring about real innovation and transform organizations ! At least, it's the fastest way 😉
A book to take with you on a desert island?
Harry Potter ! It's not very original for my generation, but I'm a fan ! Otherwise, I highly recommend "The Undoing Project" by Michael Lewis, which blends the story of Kahneman and Tversky's friendship with an explanation of their structuring discoveries in behavioral economics.
A message to young female professionals?
The first one : take care of yourself and your health first. Sometimes we forget about this when we have big dreams ! The second one : meet women who inspire you, don't be afraid to ask, and surround yourself. Nothing is more powerful than sisterhood !