What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I started working within the corporate world in product marketing (Warner Bros., Universal Pictures) and web marketing (Amazon, Facebook PMD Agency). After a couple of relocations and experiences in Europe, Asia, and in the US, I founded my own digital agency in 2015: Hudson Mind. With a strong dual French and American DNA, the agency helps its clients deploy digital strategy and leverage technology to reach and engage their audience, empower their brand, uplift their sales, and outperform their business goals.
Six months after its incorporation, the agency supports SMB and MNC clients in their digital strategy, web development, and online marketing efforts. Hudson Mind is ranked by DAN (Digital Agency Network) among 70 other top, New York-based agencies . . . out of more than 3,500!
We also have opened a production unit in Tunisia and expect to open a commercial office in Paris by the end of the year. Given the brand awareness and the exposure of the agency, I was more and more in touch with entrepreneurs, especially French founders and CEOs. I also met an expert in business implantation. We found we shared the same vision, and because of our expertise in both Paris and New York markets, we decided to co-found Hexagon Consulting Network, the first consulting network for French entrepreneurs in New York. Hexagon offers competencies in business implementation and fills the gap between member-base communities and traditional consulting companies limited by the boundaries of their expertise.
I obviously wish the second company the same growth and successes as the first one. Each encounter is precious and I highly value each one in my entrepreneurial journey. Both of my companies are born from them. A travel addict, I always look for rising stars and key encounters among a worldwide pool of resources. The more I meet people, the more I share my vision with them and the more likely I am to launch new companies with them in the future.
What do you see as challenges for you and your business? What are some opportunities?
Competition in New York is fierce. However, the business is slowly growing well. My main challenge remains combining and balancing both my professional and personal lives. Indeed, running two companies is time consuming and, as a woman, you are still expected to be the perfect housewife too.
How can we help your business?
I already have great mentors and a well skilled team supporting me. But help is always welcome: A Facebook like, a lead, spreading the word…
I grew up in the suburb of Paris as the eldest child of four. In this context, I was already both a leader and a team player. I believe in empowerment through education and I graduated from top B-Schools in France and in India. Given that my husband was relocated every 2 to 3 years, I had to reinvent myself constantly and switched progressively from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, as managing director of a start-up first, then as an entrepreneur myself.
Tell us a story about a success in your business.
The Americans often refer to the ‘Give something back’ mindset. Indian people believe in ‘karma.’ French people value ‘Fraternity.’ I’m not sure who is right, but here is the story: I met a charity dedicated to the promotion of Brittany (in the western part of France) and helped them with their online marketing strategy. A few months later, the biggest French music festival —and one of the biggest European ones, too—Les Vieilles Charrues, which has 250,000 visitors per year and features many famous artists, including Bruce Springsteen and James Brown, announced they were going to launch their first concert in the US, in order to celebrate their twenty-fifth birthday. The festival comes from Brittany. And guess who they chose as the digital agency in charge of promoting the event?
It’s a picture of a house on stilts in Virginia. As a globetrotter, being able to build and feel home everywhere is important to me. I especially like oceans, lakes, and rivers: they make me peaceful and are a huge source of inspiration.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
You challenge and surpass yourself everyday: I have to think out of the box and test waters—even odd ones—to solve problems I meet along the way. Besides, being both a traveller and an entrepreneur gives me confidence that I could make a living and adapt everywhere, whatever happens. It is a big strength when you live abroad.
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
Responsibility is the key. My whole business model requires that the agency relationship is fair with its clients, its vendors, its employees, and its partners. I strongly believe in fairness and trust. I would rather decline a project than compromise my values.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
I am not a good sales rep. But I am a good marketer. I can easily analyze the market and New York business environment and move fast. Coming from the corporate world, especially in IT & digital, is also a superpower: my knowledge of web best practices is a key competitive advantage compared with what I call “opportunist agencies” that sell services and are not able to deliver quality on time and on budget.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now?
I am influenced a lot by Jeff Bezos, certainly as most of Amazon former employees are. But if I am impressed by the intelligence and vision of business leaders like him, I rather admire social or spiritual leaders (Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa) who take action for a cause and whose influence is not motivated or driven by short-term business goals.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur, as a woman?
As I said, combining both my professional and personal lives remain a daily challenge. Scaling up your business is time consuming, and you are expected to get things done at home as well. There’s never enough time in a woman entrepreneur’s day!
Do you think male entrepreneurs are “different” from female entrepreneurs, and if so, how? If not, why not?
Male entrepreneurs—and men in business—are usually more self-confident, while women are more self-critical. Both genders could learn from each other.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
My mentors told me once: ‘Life is all about people. So is business.’ So true. I never choose starting a new job or a new company because of the mission or position-scope, but rather because of the human environment (my manager, the team I am responsible for, colleagues, etc). I also love this quote: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ I practice this every day!