Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Isabelle Ealet

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?
Two best decisions come to mind. The first is moving to London from Paris when my first employer decided to develop a risk management business in London, which opened tremendous opportunities for me. The second is marrying my husband. He has been an amazing support to me in so many ways, including his decision to stay home with our children to allow me to focus on my career. The most difficult decision I've made was returning to work after only a few weeks off following the birth of our children. I regret missing out on such a special time in my family's life, and I would encourage women to do what they can to fully savor the experience.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?
My dream job as a child was to be a pilot in the French army. My father was a colonel in the army and I admired many aspects of this career: the challenge, the independence and the service to one's country.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
A real barrier is the lack of a critical mass of talented women leaders as role models and mentors. Also, I think women too often lack confidence in their ability to deliver.

What woman inspires you and why?
I am inspired by Simone Veil, a true hero and advocate for women's rights. She survived imprisonment in Auschwitz in World War II, then went on to serve her country as Minister of Health under Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and as the first President of the European Parliament. I admire the dedication to addressing health and social issues that she has demonstrated over the course of her career.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I think the greatest challenge for women in the generation behind me will be achieving work life balance. I hope they will be able to take full advantage of what has been accomplished by previous generations of women without sacrificing their personal lives.