#Iconic_Audencians: Katia Herault (GE 01), the alumna behind the iconic interview series

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  • Le 22 juin 2022

Katia Herault, Grande Ecole 2001, copywriter and freelance journalist, London

After clocking up over 20 interviews of Audencia's iconic alumni, Katia Hérault has agreed to switch sides and step into the interviewee's seat to share her experience.

What did you particularly enjoy in this second series of iconic alumni portraits?
Each interview always surprises me, undoubtedly because of the diversity of the profiles. Some hold important positions in prestigious companies, others are fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams or embarking on unforeseen careers. Any preconceived ideas I may have had before an interview are quickly shattered. You may think that Quang came from a wealthy background when in fact he grew up in a village in Vietnam without electricity. Beauty, Botswana's vice-minister of agriculture had a diary so full that it took us 8 months to secure a session with her, but she turned out to be as talkative as she was delighted to talk about her origins and her career path. Céline, CEO of the jeweller De Beers, is a motorbike enthusiast who is as comfortable on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival as she is in the kitchen preparing a confit sarladais... In short, the surprises make these conversations so special!

Has your approach evolved between the two series? 
The first few minutes are always crucial in establishing a climate of trust that is so important for the quality of the interview. I want alumni to share their stories with me in the most relaxed and natural way possible. I have to be able to collect rich, surprising and personal stories. I feel privileged to have such inspiring people share key moments of their lives with me. I am thinking of Fulgence, captain of the Montpellier rugby team, who told me about the day he found himself up against the All Blacks... 

Have you encountered any particular difficulties during the interviews?
You have to avoid clichés. I sometimes have to dig around to find a more personal angle that will give the interview more soul. It can be easier to interview people who are not used to this kind of exercise, as they tend to be more spontaneous and open up more.

If you were to retain only one reflection from all these stories, what would it be? 
I find that the notion of success is relative. There are as many definitions of success as there are people. For some, it is to ensure that they are constantly learning and developing. For others, it is getting into positions where they can make a difference or about achieving a good work-life balance.
It all began back in 2020 when we celebrated Audencia’s 120th anniversary by launching our very first iconic alumni collection. For this second series, we are delighted and proud to showcase 12 new profiles of Audencians from around the globe. The alumni that you will discover have very generously given up their time for an interview with fellow alumna, Katia Hérault (GE 2001), for which we are immensely grateful.
Discover all the portraits here

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