A graduate of Sciences Po, Agnès Audier has worked in government ministries, notably as chief of staff for Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Minister of Small and Medium Businesses, and as advisor to Simone Veil. She then held management positions in large companies such as Vivendi and Havas, before joining Boston Consulting Group. Within BCG she invested her talents towards the digital transformation of various sectors, such as industry, transport, and public health. At the same time, Agnès Audier has also been active in many different social organizations, and presides over the SOS Seniors volunteer group. Combining her scientific approach with her experience in the public and private sectors has provided her with a sense of proportion and balance that is essential to cultivating and maintaining trust in today’s economic and social transformation.
Society, Trust & Freedom
At a time when great health uncertainty has been added to an already fragile society, everyone agrees it is necessary to "recreate the social link". More than ever, the value of trust, so dear to our network, is essential. It is in this context we wanted to create the SOCLE newsletter. By interviewing experts from all walks of life, we want to conduct an in-depth reflection on the role of trust as the foundation of our human societies.Receive SOCLE every month to your inbox
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Engraver and painter, Aude de Kerros has traveled all over the world; she is also known for having criticized contemporary art in her essays. Indeed, as an observer of the metamorphosis of art in recent decades, she deplores financial speculation by the privileged few. On the contrary, she pleads for a return to an authentic and concrete art, speaking to the senses and to the soul of all, with sometimes very tangible effects. Thus, the shared contemplation of a work of art and the happiness that results from it can ”magically“ bring a community together and recreate trust, even in the worst moments. Today, thanks to digital technologies, a work of art that wins our hearts can be easily accessible; proof that technology and aesthetics are not antinomic but, rather, complementary.
An engineer by training with an MBA in finance, Erwan Le Méné combines his experience in corporate and investment banking with his desire to preserve nature. During a trip in 2014 to Denmark, a leading country in ecological innovation, he became aware of the urgent need to value and promote more sustainable development in France. Let’s understand “value” here in the true sense of the word: deserving regard, worth, judgment of what is important, and, accordingly, we should appreciate an ecological action by virtue of what is being created, and not simply regarding what it offsets, or tries to offset. In 2016, Erwan Le Méné co-founded the company EcoTree, which he has chaired since. Seeking an alliance between ecology and economy, this startup urges companies and individuals to become tree owners, thus ensuring sustainable forest management.
Humorist and comedian, Anne Roumanoff is renowned for her performance shows, radio programs, and columns in the press. She has, for more than 30 years, cultivated the gift of skewering her contemporaries with both finesse and sensitivity alike. Whether on stage or presenting on air, the Sciences Po Paris alumni expresses her penchant for current events with an offbeat tone and good humor, as influenced by her intellectual art. Constantly inspired by human nature, and playing with the words and subtleties of language, she displays an invigorating energy during her solo performances. Anne Roumanoff gets at the heart of the matter to talk with us about laughter and its ability to create a bond of trust. Don’t miss this particularly high-spirited and animated edition of SOCLE!
Philippe Dewost, with over 25 years of experience in digital technology, is one of the French pioneers in this realm. A graduate of ENS Ulm and an engineer from the Corps des Mines, he co-founded Wanadoo then held management positions in start-ups and large corporations, as well as the public sector. His varied and multifaceted experience has given him great insight into the digital revolution, and he is now imparting his knowledge to students at EPITA, the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which he has been heading since October of 2021. This past February, Dewost’s book De mémoire vive - Une histoire de l’aventure numérique was published by Première Partie. In this interview, Dewost discusses societal ruptures caused by recent technological innovations and their impact on confidence and trust.
Father Pierre-Hervé Grosjean is the parish priest of Montigny-Voisins in the suburbs of Paris and has often been called upon to publicly spread the Church’s message. In 2007 he co-founded Padreblog, an information portal run by a team of priests, to review current events in the light of the Gospel and to help deepen faith. General Secretary of the “Ethics and Politics” commission for the diocese of Versailles, in 2010 he also launched the summer universities “Acteurs d’Avenir” (Actors of the Future) with the aim of training the Christian decision makers of tomorrow. Father Grosjean is the author of several books published by Artège, including his most recent “Être prêt”. In the light of this original experience of the priesthood and his media involvement, Pierre-Hervé Grosjean talks to us about the need to participate in the construction of a shared common good that is the basis of our society, by nurturing hope and prudence in order to better build trust.
A French army senior officer in the Troupes de Marine (Marine Troops), Raphaël Chauvancy is currently detached to the UK Commandos - Royal Marines. He is a professor of strategy at the School of Economic Warfare, and recently published Agir ou subir ? (Dunod, février 2022) (“Act or Suffer?”), and Les nouveaux visages de la guerre (VA Éditions, 2021) (“The New Faces of War”). Analyzing the way in which trust functions within combat units, he draws conclusions from them, reminding us that the Anglo-Saxons have long practiced the transmission of military know-how to the civilian world in a relaxed manner. Raphaël Chauvancy also salutes the virtues of sponsorship, this reciprocal commitment capable of creating a form of collective responsibility.
A graduate of ESSEC (1985) and alumnus of ENA (1989), Bertrand du Marais is a State Councillor. His legal expertise is rich with a two-fold experience: on the one hand, professional, with years of practice in the senior civil service and international institutions; and on the other hand, academic, thanks to more than a decade of teaching and research in the field of public law. From this knowledge, both pragmatic and academic, Bertrand du Marais has cultivated a keen sense of the interactions between law and economics, an issue that is also addressed by the influential think tank FIDES, which he co-founded and chairs. The conversation with SOCLE shed light on the underlying processes that govern our society, and even hinder it. They also open the door to an alternative approach.
Geneviève de Cazaux is a journalist and special correspondent, focusing on politics and defense. From numerous assignments in war zones and her 35 years at TF1, she has acquired a deep understanding of mankind. In the landscape of her memories, big names from the world of media, politics, international affairs, the army, humanitarian aid, etc. rub shoulders. But there are also many unknown people who have left traces of their courage in wartime, of their self-sacrifice in the service of others, of their joy in living with renewed confidence. Here lies one of the talents of Geneviève de Cazaux, a member of Gens de Confiance: to let us devine, behind the account of her life, the richness of all the lives that she was able to discover through her compassion and straightforwardness, and to reveal through the rigor of her work.
Nicolas Truelle, a graduate of Polytechnique and MINES ParisTech, first dedicated his career to senior government administration and then to corporate management, before devoting his professional responsibilities even more to his humanitarian convictions. So it was, in July 2015, he became General Manager of Apprentis d’Auteuil. This renowned foundation, which is recognized as being of great public service, has 150 years of experience in supporting young people who have been dealt a bad hand in life. With compassion as well as pragmatism, Nicolas Truelle talks about slowly rebuilding confidence in children with a past already heavy with scars, tells us about the path followed by Apprentis d’Auteuil in its ever-continuing support efforts, and discusses the current needs of young people.
Associate Professor of Geography with a PhD in Arts and Human Sciences, Michel Foucher is a recognized geopolitician and a specialist on the subject of frontiers. As a young man he traveled to the most remote regions of the planet. Over the years, Michel Foucher has been an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs ,Hubert Védrine, director of the Center for Analysis and Forecasting at the Quai d’Orsay, and the French ambassador to Latvia... A fine synthesis of a man who combines experience in the field with the knowledge of the mysteries of diplomacy! One of the keys to his success lies in the importance he places on trust between people: “Trust is earned by listening, by the value of questioning, and by cross-checking the information obtained.”
The recent cancellation of the submarine contract sold by Naval Group to Australia clearly shows that we sometimes delude ourselves, talking about trust when we are in fact dependent. Christian Harbulot, Founder and Director of the School of Economic Warfare, highlights the weaknesses of France revealed by this incident. He demonstrates our intellectual laziness which prevents us from seeing the geopolitical and geo-economic reality of a contemporary and globalized world, where all tricks are allowed since, in reality, only the balance of power counts in the end. Christian Harbulot invites us to put an end to naivety, to redefine a worthwhile strategic vision, and to engage in a collective fight based on a newfound trust and confidence.
Since the 1970s, Patrice Franceschi has taken to the sea as much as he has taken up arms, or the pen, to explore, defend, and report on the vast world he has confronted. Writer-adventurer, such is his talent and the richness he transmits to those as he embarks on his three-masted ship, La Boudeuse. Deployed in Afghanistan against the USSR, and an active supporter of the Kurds of Syria against Daech, Patrice Franceschi has organized many scientific explorations and humanitarian missions, and chaired the Society of French Explorers and the NGO Solidarités International. All these field experiences, constantly assimilated and reflected through the exercise of writing, have nourished a realistic philosophy and an abundant bibliography. Rubbing shoulders with humans in such varied, and often risky, situations has chiseled into him a fine knowledge of trust that he shares with us in this issue of SOCLE.
Co-founder of Fly The Nest, a consulting firm that advises companies at every stage of their development, and co-author of Fly, the practical guide to a successful collective adventure, Erwann Rozier likes to share his experience of entrepreneurship and his implementation of collective intelligence. The expression of each company’s own vision, the illustration of its values and culture, the identification of its leadership, and knowledge management are the underlying themes of the entrepreneurial adventure. They weave the essential fabric of the adventure, building the confidence of each participant in the adventure and reinforcing their commitment. Erwann Rozier examines these essential elements and analyzes the importance of trust in a collective dynamic.
Winner of the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe race and an experienced sailor in transoceanic competition, Yannick Bestaven invites us on board to follow the journey of confidence in the very specific domain of ocean racing. There are plenty of topics to cover on SOCLE's favorite theme, whether it is about managing self-confidence in extreme natural conditions experienced alone, confidence at the heart of the race preparation team, or solidarity between sailors. Yannick Bestaven agreed to talk with us about this, without forgetting to mention his passion for technological innovation, as well as the entrepreneurial experience it entails.
Renowned strategist and geopolitician Gérard Chaliand invites us to reflect on the role that confidence plays in societies at war. Born in 1934, he spent time with countless liberation movements and guerrilla groups for half a century. Coming from the anti-colonialist extreme left, he was welcomed as a “comrade” within these organizations, whose inner workings he dissected. Having questioned these revolutionary utopias very early on, he now takes an uncompromising look at the changing world, which is seeing the rise of Asia and the retreat of the West. At the same time he pleads for us to rediscover courage and lucidity, that confidence which is the cement of our societies.
Jean-David Chamboredon, a venture capitalist, has given himself the mission of backing young entrepreneurs by financially supporting their projects and developing the French start-up ecosystem. A graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, he began his career in consulting (13 years at Capgemini) and founded the Capgemini Telemedia Lab in Silicon Valley in 1997. He then joined the world of capital investment, both French and Anglo Saxon. In 2009, he co-founded ISAI, a fund specialized in the “tech” sector… which includes GensDeConfiance in its management portfolio! For SOCLE, he agreed to return to the roots of trust between entrepreneurs and investors, as well as to the new aspects of trust being developed thanks to the growth of the web.
When you ask Nathalie Gerrier why she has chosen to trust people with disabilities, she invariably replies with a disarming answer: “And why not?”. An answer which, to say the least, was not obvious when she launched Handirect in 1996 with her husband, Christophe. Handirect is the first national network of administrative services to companies with 80% of its workforce made up of disabled employees! A success she has chosen to extend by taking the helm of the “Grandir à l’École et en Société” association, created in 2000, to promote the integration of young disabled people, and by opening a restaurant in 2018 which ensures that 75% of the positions are filled by disabled people. This is the story of trust that she has agreed to tell us.
Going down in history for leading the charge with his men to save Notre-Dame, General Jean-Claude Gallet has just co-authored, with journalist Romain Gubert, Éloge du courage (Grasset) (“In Praise of Courage”) which, in these uncertain times, is without a doubt the most invigorating way to start the year… with confidence! For GDC, the man who commanded the Paris Fire Brigade until December 2019 has agreed to look back on the lessons learned from his operational experience. Confronted with the most varied crisis situations, in France and abroad, this admirer of Homer has formed the conviction that in the face of adversity, withdrawal into oneself is the worst solution, and that the sense of community is the best antidote to doubt.
A seasoned traveler, mountaineer, dreamer, and man of action, Erik L’Homme is best known for his writings for young people, which have earned him international recognition, and has seen his books translated into 26 languages. Through his literature and his life as an adventurer, he passes on his magical gift enabling those around him to perceive our world in all its marvels. As Christmas and the end of the year celebrations approach, it is comforting to introduce a pinch of this dreamlike dimension into our thoughts. As a member of Gens de Confiance, Erik L’Homme invites us to find our bearings again. He draws upon the wisdom of the Hindu Kush tribes amongst whom he lived, and reminds us that solidarity and trust are the invisible threads that bind society together.
Former interdepartmental delegate for Economic Intelligence to the Prime Minister from 2013 to 2015 and a graduate of l’École Nationale d’Administration, Claude Revel has shared her career between service to the state and to private enterprise, particularly in the building and public works sector. A French pioneer of international professional influence and a specialist in standards-related issues, she now chairs the EIG (Economic Interest Group) “France Sport Expertise” and advises the general management of SKEMA Business School. Author of several reference books and numerous articles on the subject of economic warfare, she has never ceased to reflect on the logic of trust in business and in the professional world in general. Claude Revel is a member of Gens de Confiance.
“To trust in the justice of one’s country”. Does this formula still make sense in the era of the media courts which praise you or charge you? This is nothing new as La Fontaine was already denouncing this in 17th century. The question is all the more legitimate because if there is one institution that, more than any other, should not suffer from mistrust, it is the judicial institution. And especially criminal justice, which guarantees our freedoms and punishes attacks on people and property. To answer this question, no one was better suited than the famous general counsel Philippe Bilger. For this magistrate, who has presided in the most high-profile trials of the last twenty years, is first and foremost a man of culture – with nuances – who never ceases to reflect on ways to reconcile citizens with those who – let us never forget – render justice in their name.
Hedwige Chevrillon is not only a star presenter on BFM TV, host of L’Heure H, Monday to Thursday from 12 pm to 1 pm on BFM Business, she is also a leading journalist. Having studied at HEC, she is familiar with the economic world and its main players and, beyond the crisis of confidence in the media, she reflects on the crisis of confidence in society as a whole. As such the fact that she granted an interview to SOCLE is highly relevant at a time when the boundaries between information and opinion, journalism and communication, legitimate debate and hostile discourse are too often confused. Irreplaceable channels of critical freedom, social networks, she argues, will never be the equal of the press for two key reasons: the anonymity that too often reigns there and, therefore, the non-transparency of their sources.
How can you trust someone you’ve never met? This is the challenge, unattainable without the enormous resources of the digital economy, Frédéric Mazzella and the BlaBlaCar team, the world leader in the field of carpooling, face every day.
Thanks to the system they have created, but also thanks to a vision that is very much in line with that of Gens de Confiance: trust does not just fall from the sky, but is the consequence of very specific actions. Exclusively for Socle, Frédéric Mazzella looks back on his experience and on the success of BlaBlaCar, which is used today by more than 90 million people worldwide. A solution that helps save 1.6 million tons of CO2 each year. The equivalent of the emissions from Parisian transport!
After giving the floor to a political scientist (Jérôme Fourquet) and a sociologist (Michel Maffesoli), this month our newsletter, SOCLE, features a military man who combines solid experience as a teacher with his long practice of command, which included an international post as the military attaché at the French Embassy in Washington from 2000 to 2003.
A former director of the École de Guerre, General Desportes has been involved in strategic thinking, high-level teaching (Sciences Po Paris, HEC), and business consulting for several years.
Behind this commitment lies a conviction that has been tried and tested: the army, whose unity is achieved first and foremost through trust, has much to teach civil society in these times of widespread mistrust
An emeritus professor of sociology at the Sorbonne and an internationally renowned explorer of the imagination, Michel Maffesoli has devoted more than half a century of his work to the interaction between ideas and changes in societies.
Ignoring this subtle interplay means, according to him, failing to understand the real changes – political, economic, cultural, social… – at work in our daily lives, where the rational is being replaced by the emotional. In truth, it is this imagination that subtly sculpts our reality. So individualism is being defeated by the return of tribes, based on common passions, whose return to our post-modernity was first announced by Michel Maffesoli. These tribes, which flourish in the digital age – and even more so in the age of confinement! – operate on a key factor: trust.
Will French society emerge changed from the Coronavirus ordeal? What can we already learn from the sequence of events started on the 16th of March by the decision to enforce on French society the strict confinement rules already applied in China, and subsequently in Italy?
As a seasoned analyst, the director of studies at the IFOP (Institut français d’opinion publique), Jérôme Fourquet, is not a pollster like the others. He is also a geographer with a passion for the history of mentalities, which makes him one of the most qualified people to discuss the subject.
In the wake of his latest book, L’archipel français, naissance d’une nation multiple et divisée (Seuil, 2019), which in just a few months has taken its place at the heart of the debate on ideas, he assesses for us the impact of the crisis we are going through on the value of trust.