January 18, 2022

Sportswoman, musician, business manager… their advice to make our dreams come true!


Alice Modolo, freediving champion: “controlling your anxieties thanks to breathing. ”

She has known the worst: in August 2019, during the freediving world championships in Honduras, Alice Modolo tries the 100 meters, and loses consciousness: it is syncope. “It’s a bit like when you’re chaos in boxing,” she recalls. There was too much current, I was going up, I felt a deep discomfort. Close to the surface, my body let go, as if I had been bypassed. And yet, two years later, in July 2021, the 36-year-old young woman became the first Frenchwoman to reach the 100-meter single-fin bar, just a few days after breaking the world record in her category, going down to 95. meters deep in two-fin. “This world record,” she said, “is for me, it’s the right not to be afraid, to assume who I am. “

Apnea as a way to feel stronger? To get to the bottom of things literally and figuratively. “In freediving, I bet everything on the mind and breathing,” she explains, “it’s learning to feel your body, control your anxieties, sink into your fears. This allows you to feel strong, invincible, while letting go ”.

How did he get this passion? Dentist in Auvergne, she was far from the depths of the big blue. In fact, she had to turn into a real entrepreneur: “I asked for a therapist who taught me to tame my mind, a breathing specialist to control my breath. At the same time, I myself went to look for financial partners. “Because contrary to appearances, freediving is a team sport:” you can’t do anything without having your teammates on a boat and in the water !, assures the sportswoman. It is our life that is at stake. The feat alone does not exist. ”

Today, after having carried out her two professional activities simultaneously for several years, Alice Modolo has abandoned her profession as a dentist to devote herself solely to freediving. “I try to make a living from it, she explains, but this sport remains little recognized, so it’s complicated.” Especially since, here too, the disparities between women and men are glaring: “my male counterparts quite easily manage to be sponsored by watch brands… whereas these same brands are more cautious in supporting women on the pretext that they do not. would not wear enough! », Assures Alice Modolo, who, among other things, was able to count on the support of Davidson Consulting, a firm specializing in project management, invested in the well-being of employees and the environment. Still big dreams in the big blue!



Stéphane Pallez, President of La Française des Jeux: “Use obstacles to surpass yourself even more. ”

She has been at the head of La Française des Jeux (FDJ) since 2014 and, as such, ensured its IPO at the end of 2019: “This is undoubtedly my greatest success, points out Stéphane Pallez, all smiles. Not so much for the introduction as such but what it embodies: the culmination of a global project, the crystallization of a collective success, the realization of the transformation of the company. “And in particular the digital transformation of the FDJ that Stéphane Pallez was keen to accelerate.

For a long time in a monopoly situation, the company has seen the emergence of new digital competitors in the gambling market. Not enough to scare the leader: now, digital in the broad sense represents 20% of FDJ’s stakes and constitutes a source of growth. “Of course, the health crisis and confinements have been there but it would not have been possible without the investments made over the past five years,” explains Stéphane Pallez, noting in passing that tech represents “a source of well-paid skilled jobs. which it is crucial that women turn to. ”

Today FDJ counts 43% of women among its employees: “when I arrived at FDJ, explains Stéphane Pallez, I considered that women naturally intended to be present in the same proportions at the level of the managerial line. We, with my team, set long-term collective objectives and, in five years, we have achieved them. ”

Sexism is a subject that is close to her heart, she who, at the ENA, was part of the Louise Michel promotion … On leaving, she joined the Treasury department, then a ministerial cabinet. At the end of the 90s, it participated among other things in the privatizations of Thompson Multimedia and Air France. A high-flying career therefore which did not prevent him from wiping out sexist remarks: “One day,” she confides, in the administration, I was told: “as you are pregnant, you will not be able to not be appointed to such position. I found that deeply unfair, it increased my motivation tenfold and in the end I got what I wanted. I am fortunate to have this ability to use obstacles to overcome myself. ”

This state of mind, Stéphane Pallez drew from his childhood in an intense sporting practice: “I have always been skiing, swimming, tennis… It is part of my overall balance. In fact, being a business leader is like being a high-level athlete: you have to work over time, endure stress, know how to deal with unforeseen events, manage your physical and mental capital in order to be successful in the long term. “Sport, one of FDJ’s flagship values, has been investing in supporting athletes for about thirty years, in particular since 2019 for the support of high-level athletes within the framework of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and a partner of Sports Stars.

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Zahia Ziouani, conductor: “Work hard, and don’t let yourself be influenced by those who want to slow you down. ”

Zahia Ziouani knows the glass ceiling: in France, women represent less than 4% of conductors. So what ? This is the profession that this leading woman chose early on. And she succeeded. “I have always been immersed in music,” she tells us. My parents were very music lovers. They are the ones who enrolled me in the Conservatory. “The girl first chooses the classical guitar:” I loved this instrument, but it did not allow playing Beethoven or Mozart. So I quickly turned to the viola. “This occupies a central place in an ensemble: it is often placed in front of the conductor …” It was a real revelation! »Assures Zahia Ziouani.

But it is then complicated for the teenager that she is to project herself into this profession: “at the time, I was told that a conductor was not for women. “But the musician remains deaf to these remarks:” when you are of Algerian origin and you grew up in Seine-Saint-Denis like me, she explains, anyway, life is not easy. I quickly decided that others would not influence my choices. “And then, Zahia Ziouani is also a sportswoman – she competed in swimming until 17 years old – and she has the state of mind. “I transposed everything related to warm-up and mental preparation into music,” she says, “something that we are not taught in our sector. Result: I was able to perform better. ”

At the end of a music school in Paris, she decided, in 1998, at the age of twenty, to set up her own orchestra! She christened it Divertimento, and composed it of musicians from diverse backgrounds. Brimming with energy, Zahia Ziouani goes through all the doors, convinces public funders and companies to follow her to build her whole. That still shines today.

At the same time, the young woman conducts established orchestras, such as the Kharkiv Opera in Ukraine, the Royal Liège Orchestra, the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra as well as many national orchestras in France. She was also conductor of the Algerian National Orchestra from 2007 to 2013. “I believe in work,” she says. It doesn’t matter where we come from. In music, as in sport, to progress, you have to work. There is no mystery. ”