"1 woman, 1 passion" podcasts - Episode #4: Sophie Sidos, Head of the Louis Vicat Foundation and of MEDEF Isère
Full script (audio in French only)
Valérie Bokobza: Hello everyone. I am Valérie Bokobza, Head of Development at Societe Generale Private Banking and I am delighted to present a new episode of "1 woman, 1 passion". The objective is to share the story of an inspiring woman who is moving the lines. Today, I am hosting Sophie Sidos. Hello Sophie.
Sophie Sidos: Hello Valérie.
Valerie Bokobza: You are president of the Louis Vicat Foundation and you represent the seventh generation of descendants of Louis Vicat, the inventor of artificial cement. Passionate about entrepreneurship, you were be appointed Head of the “Medef” employers’ union(1) for the Isère “department” (South East of France). In 2020, you received the Legion of Honor(2) for your unwavering commitment to the inclusion and professional integration of the most vulnerable. You are a woman of commitment and struggle. Can you tell us why you decided to create a foundation and what causes are important to you?
Sophie Sidos: Yes, thank you. The reason is the bicentenary, the 200th anniversary, of the invention of artificial cement by my ancestor, Louis Vicat. Louis Vicat invented this process in 1817. He did not patent it, he gave it to the community, and 200 years later, I realized that it was important to turn a page and create a foundation. A foundation with three objectives: to make Louis Vicat's scientific work known, to preserve our heritage, and finally, and this is the most important one for me, to show solidarity with the most vulnerable and to promote education, particularly in the field of disability and cystic fibrosis.
Valérie Bokobza: What are the passions that drive you and that you would like to share with us?
Sophie Sidos: My first passion, obviously, is that of my profession, of concrete, of cement, and I like to share it. I like my commitments, my commitment to Medef: I am convinced of the role of companies in meeting the challenges of a modern world. In fact, everything interests me. I am naturally very curious, I am very altruistic, I love others, I love people, I especially love the most fragile. For example, I like Café Joyeux(3), I like to share with them. I like sports, I like women's sports, we are lucky in Lyon, we have an exceptional women's OL (Olympique Lyonnais) football team, they are great champions. I like to go and see them, I like to go and see them with my colleagues. And I love music, I love my festival, the Berlioz festival, on my territory. Moreover, last Summer, with Brigitte Chagneau, co-president of the Benvenuto club, we I tried to attract a maximum of young people far from employment, and a maximum of collaborators of my group and notably of female collaborators, on this superb festival.
Valérie Bokobza: Beautiful. What accelerated your success and who are the women who inspired you?
Sophie Sidos: Wow... Well, there are lots and lots of women! Already, in my family, Solange Merceron-Vicat, who was the sister of my great-grandfather, who was involved in women's trade unionism in Isère even though she came from a family of entrepreneurs. And then great women such as Marie Curie, a great scientist who has a lot in common with Louis Vicat, who did not patent, who received two Nobel Prizes, who fought, above all, to make science discover, to advance science, and also, humanly, who saved thousands of people, millions of people... Moreover, afterwards she, herself, opened the way for us, with her daughter. I like this succession of women who leave a trace... who leave a trace, a legacy, a heritage to their children.
Valérie Bokobza: What advice do you wish someone had given you, as a woman at the beginning of your career?
Sophie Sidos: Well… Dare, dare, dare, dare! Too often, women imagine a glass ceiling, because they are women, which prevents them from acting. Fortunately, things are changing. Nothing is ever taken for granted, you have to dare, you have to move forward.
Valérie Bokobza : Thank you for this beautiful message, Sophie. What has Covid fundamentally changed for you?
Sophie Sidos: It brought a different way of working, of course, with the increased use of digital tools. For us at Vicat, it means strengthening our attachment to the region, because we have closed our Paris headquarters, relocated, moved, and returned to our home region of Nord-Isère, to Isle-d'Abeau. And I am very proud to be in my area, to be active in my area. I am also very sensitive to issues of health and well-being in the workplace, all these CSR(4) issues, which I support through the foundation, and which are essential today.
Valérie Bokobza: And finally, what are your wishes for the 21st century?
Sophie Sidos: Well, to take up the challenge of climate change, by building a more united world, by overcoming our individual or collective egoism. A world with less carbon, more biodiversity, more altruism!
Valérie Bokobza: Thank you very much for this wonderful program and see you soon for a next podcast of "1 woman, 1 passion".
Sophie Sidos: Thank you to Societe Genearle Private Banking, thank you for this great opportunity!
(1) Medef means “Mouvement des entreprises françaises » ; it is an employers’ organization representing French companies.
(2) The highest French decoration
(3) Café Joyeux is a family of coffee shops that trains and employs waiters and cooks with mental or cognitive disabilities.
(4) Corporate Social Responsibility
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