Interview with Christophe Lefort, member of the Réseau Entreprendre Paris association
Christophe has spent the past 10 years leading large company groups such as Sage and Blackberry, challenged by international and multicultural environments. He has been a member of Réseau Entreprendre Paris since 2012, and a supporter and instructor in the Ambition programme. Read the story of a creator of success stories.
Creating startups, subsidiaries, and a range of roles in corporate transformation, turnarounds and business modelling was my life since 1984, where in the United States I had my first entrepreneurial adventure.
After finishing business school, I took on responsible positions in marketing, sales (Adobe, The PhoneHouse), and in the past 10 years in general management at Blackberry and Sage. I’ve always worked in international and multicultural environments. It’s a stimulating environment I’ve never been able to pass up
You don’t get to be an entrepreneur by chance. It’s something you always wanted to be. A tinge of craziness, an attraction to risk, a need to challenge clichés and expectations, and to create, transform and enrich our daily lives. So when one of my friends, a member of the network, told me about the association, I joined up immediately. Two interviews later, I faced my first Commitments Committee meeting.
I learned a lot, and am still learning a lot, from being in contact with others. I keep having productive meetings that are helping me advance and build my own projects. So I felt that being a coach or mentor was the obvious thing to do. I found it was the most effective way of sharing and passing on what I had learned.
Nothing is set in stone, and every project is subject to change. Anything and everything can be questioned: a business model, a patent, usage.
Like a wilful child, they continually push the boundaries and pioneer innovation in every sense.
And ultimately, what they give me back in my supportive role is simply… refreshing. I feel I’m contributing to the project of the century. Something that will make an enormous difference.
In my second support role, one of the founding laureates had “lost his fire” and was risking the future of the project. It was a tricky situation and it made coaching the project a big challenge. What I did or said could have a major impact in either direction. I set about listening, talking to the other founder, communicating closely with the entire team, found help and support from the network and called on various experts and speakers.
Four months later, the company was bought out by an English software and computing services company. The two founders are still friends and the one who had “lost his fire” is still in the company. I was just a “facilitator”.
Stimulating Agitating Provoking