Interview with Valérie Amalou-Hernandez, Communication and Leadership Programs Manager in Danone.
Having been in charge of the organization of EVE Programs all other the world and communication since 2014, Valérie Hernandez Amalou has driven the internationalization and the rise in influence of the Program by deploying an ambitious digital communication strategy: the launch of the webmagazine, the formation of a vast community of experts & influencers from around the world, the development of Twitter Chats, new format for content, and much more.
We take a look at the intentions and impacts of this strategy.
Hello Valérie, can you tell us a few words about the digital communication strategy that you have put in place for the EVE Program?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: It is obviously all about developing the Program’s reputation, driving its international character (we are now in Europe, Asia, Africa and soon to be on the American continent) and in doing so, convey a strong message: there are amazing women everywhere, and since traditional media do not give them enough airtime, we intend to become a mouthpiece for these women, and for all the people they can inspire.
How would you describe a powerful woman?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: A powerful woman is an inspiring woman, a woman who dares to be whoever she is, a woman who makes you want to go beyond your own abilities, a genuine role model. This vision has been embodied by the Program since it was first designed, and is personified on stage during the seminars through the women who lead. Wherever they come from, whether they hold positions of responsibility in companies or at the heads of NGOs or whether they have founded social innovation projects, they all help to change the situation of women and the world as a whole. I wanted this input from powerful women to extend onto our platform and our communication networks, which is why we ask women from all countries to give their views by means of our webmagazine and during our Twitter Chats.
Are these women keen to take the floor?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: Not only did the women we contacted accept, but very soon we had spontaneous requests. When the director of the Malala Foundation, Farah Mohamed, contacted us to publish a wonderful article on girls’ education, I knew we were doing what we set out to do. Traditional media claim that they can’t find women, or when they do find them, they refuse to give their views. We have proven that women are willing to speak, that many of them have important things to say, and that all a media form needs to do is be inclusive and welcoming, then women will dare.
Have you observed any regional differences in women’s self-confidence in terms of publishing their views?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: Yes, there are differences from one region to another. We clearly understood that in Africa, women are more than willing to speak out, and that they have fully understood the strength that networks can have, to amplify their voices. It is less true in the West: with the “culture of the wise” which means that those who do not feel legitimate (or even those who foster the imposture complex) hold back. There is also a certain mistrust that persists with social networks, the sharing of experiences and knowledge is more of an uphill struggle. And that’s detrimental for collective intelligence. We really need to get rid of this fear, especially in Europe, of being robbed of something when we share our knowledge. The more you communicate about your expertise, the more opportunities you have to nurture it, and increase your power.
How is it possible to convince those who are still resisting this culture of collective intelligence?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: Everyone needs to understand its importance and value. We must all stop considering that some people give and others receive, that there are times to give and times to receive; we must understand that we all have something to share. And that we all have something we can do as well. The EVE motto, “ be yourself and unleash your potential” says it all!
By asserting that everyone can and must take action, are you promoting micro-change?
Valérie Hernandez Amalou: The challenge of micro-change is making it into a movement. We live in a world where it can happen, with the help of digital power. Global impetus for change is possible: we must initiate it to achieve important things, both now and in the future.
Interview by Marie Donzel for the EVE webmagazine.