I hope that you have had a smooth March 2021. Thank you for supporting this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) kickoff of the 2021 theme of #ChooseToChallenge which we marked with 2 landmark campaigns: A collaboration between the NAA and the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) team from INSEAD with a series of knowledge sharing; and a #IWiBchallengesyou2021 social media challenge in solidarity across all INSEAD Women in Business (WiB) Alumni Clubs to raise awareness of IWD and its 2021 theme.
IWiB (Singapore) will continue to carry the theme of Choose To Challenge across all our events this year, starting with a Private Conversation with Sabrina Tan, Founder and CEO of Skin Inc, on 15 April. This is jointly organised by RCLG, Entrepreneurship and IWiB (Sg) Alumni Clubs, and is a great opportunity to hear the secrets of this groundbreaking business leader who had chosen to challenge and conquered the worlds of skincare, tech, and female entrepreneurship all at once.
Alongside this, we are pleased to share with you some thoughts on Choose To Challenge from our RCLG Alumni Club President, Aymeric Lacroix EMBA’17Dec, Managing Director Asia South at DFS (LVMH).
Aymeric is the golden eye of the retailing and luxury brand management across our region, and has countless successes under his belt combining his passion for capturing the hearts of consumers, the art of using technology, and creativity driving business growth.
“Hello, Aymeric,” I started. “What do you think of this year’s IWD theme “Choose To Challenge”?” Aymeric leaned slightly and blinked his clear brown eyes once as he began to speak. “There are plenty of initiatives from Public to Private sectors celebrating March 8th as IWD. Hopefully this creates more consideration around diversity and inclusion at large.”
His brow arched as he continued, “As a Leader, March 8th forces us to create head and mind space about the topic and make sure that we talk about the role of women in the workplace without any taboo. We then create a voice that can be echoed within all departments of the company.”
“In the industry I am in, luxury retail, and the company I have worked with or currently working, men are outnumbered by women.”
“However,” Aymeric emphasized, “the efforts that must be made is about a bigger representation of women in managerial and leadership position.” He gestured with his arms open in front of him, visually showing the gap that he spoke about.
“I see myself as an ally and a supporter to promote more and better diversity starting with my team. I am a believer that the future belongs to women!” Here, Aymeric smiled his easy dazzling smile and his expression softened. “Maybe,” he admitted, “it is because I am a father of two girls and an admirer of my wife for carrying successfully so many critical roles at the same time: a great Mom, a professional Investor, and a loving Wife.”
I nodded and asked, “Given the world that we are in right now, what would you choose to challenge and why would you choose it?” Aymeric replied decisively, “I would challenge the fact that “we, men and women, can only be good at one thing”. I would like people to start thinking that we, especially Women, can be multifaceted.” He fixed his eyes on a future target and quietly but firmly said, “Like a precious stone, every facet has a story to tell and one unique way to shine. It is up to you to have a close look at it and see how beautiful it can be.”
“Are there collaborators and/or resources that we need to make this happen?” I asked. Aymeric nodded. “I would say that everyone’s voice counts. There needs to be some key ingredients to push our agenda forward.” He counted out 2 fingers, “First, openness and willingness to challenge the status quo. Second, it requires accountability and responsibility to turn the nice slogans into actions beyond March 8th. Being part of the INSEAD community, I am glad to see the efforts made by the entire school to call for action and push for progress.”
In closing, Aymeric left us with this pragmatic truth: “Ultimately, this is a journey and we need everyone to embark with us to be successful in our quest of a better world.”
Thank you, Aymeric, for sharing your time with us.
Li Lian Liew EMBA’13Dec – President INSEAD Alumni Club Women in Business