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[A mentoring Story] - Valérie Alvarado-Zongo

07 December 2022 Portrait
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My name is Valérie Alvarado-Zongo, I am 29 years old, I am events project manager at Business France. President of Well'Come P24, I did my exchange in China and my internship in Côte d'Ivoire for the investment promotion agency in Côte d'Ivoire and then in the French export support agency, Business France

As soon as I graduated from the MSc International Business Negotiation, I started my career as a V.I.A. for Business France in the French Embassy in Kenya, where I accompanied French companies in their development on the Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian markets. After these 2 years abroad, I continued my career at Business France in Paris, first as a key account manager for the V.I.E. and today as a project manager for events. 

  • Can you tell us a bit more about your profession?

Since September 2021, I organize economic events to promote export destinations to French companies. The goal is to present the existing opportunities in a country or a regional zone, and to propose B2B exchanges between French companies and companies of the targeted country or zone. We organize events from A to Z, from the technical and logistical aspects to the program, speakers, partners, communication and promotion of the event.

The activities of Business France are immersed in the economic and diplomatic news of France, which allows us to organize events not only in our offices, but also in the Senate or the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Our biggest event is Ambition Africa, the reference economic event between Africa and France with more than 1500 participants from all over France and the continent.

I am lucky to be able to work in all geographical areas of the world, which allows me to deepen my knowledge and my network in these countries. Since my arrival, I have worked on Africa several times, India, Russia and Latin America. In each country/area, you have to adapt to the cultural and professional specificities, this is the richness of my job. 

  • What is your greatest achievement/pride 

Not easy to answer this, but I think I am proud of my curiosity and my ability to adapt. First of all, thanks to my double culture (Franco-Ivorian) and then through my education by my parents, through the international schools I attended since my childhood, through the learning of new languages and through travels/expatriations. It is really a richness on a personal level but also on a professional level, especially when you work like me in the international field, with a bit of diplomacy.

But on a really individual level, I would say that I climbed the 4 630m of Mount Kenya (Point Lenana), without too much difficulty. It was my first ascent of this type and I really surpassed myself mentally despite the cold and the lack of air, but it was really worth it!

  • What is your involvement in the RSB Alumni network?

As an RSB Alumni, I decided to get involved in several ways: first by promoting the V.I.E. program to students when I was a V.I.E. sales representative and by remaining open to students' requests/questions on LinkedIn, then by deciding to enter the mentoring/sponsoring program proposed by the Alumni network.

I would have liked to have been offered this program when I was a student at RSB and I find it a great opportunity to discuss my doubts, hesitations, choices, and desires with someone who has a point of view outside our direct circle. It's also learning to use one's network.

Finally, I am involved in the upcoming launch of a new Club! But I won't say more, Stay Tuned 😉

  • Can you explain how your goddaughter found her VIA in Korea?

Alexandra is my first goddaughter, I accompanied her in the refinement of her expatriation project in South Korea. We made several Visio before meeting "in real life".

Alexandra wanted to go back to work in Korea and ideally do a V.I.A. for Business France. Having done a V.I.A. for Business France myself, I was able to give her very specific advice regarding her project, her profile and to help her maximize her chances.

The current went very well with Alexandra, who is a very attentive and organized person, she really applied the advice I gave her and very quickly obtained results.

I invited Alexandra to keep as many doors open as possible, because there are very few V.I.A. positions in South Korea and especially because there are many ways to go abroad. I encouraged her to work on the network and the meetings she had made during her exchange in South Korea. It was this last piece of advice that allowed her to find her current position in South Korea. I think I was able to reassure Alexandra in her project and her approach, and we keep in touch despite the time difference!

  • What are the benefits of mentoring in your opinion? 

For me, sponsorship is important because it allows us to have access to feedback on our experience, it's a real sharing and a help to decipher the world of salaries. It also means learning to capitalize on our Alumni network which is there to help us evolve and which is an open door to the world. At RSB, we are lucky to have a young, dense and very international Alumni network, so it is important for each of us students and Alumni to enrich this network by sharing a little of our experience and time with others.

  • Do you have a hidden talent?

I'm known as the Queen of the Dancefloor, but I also love to sing. I did several years of choir as a teenager, it's my little thing that relaxes me. My favorite karaoke song is "I wanna dance with somebody" - the Glee version of course, I'm far from having the vocal power of Whitney Houston!

  • Anything else to add?

Be curious! Ask questions, reach out to others, cultivate yourself and share. Being enriched by the diversity of experiences and people, is a richness for yourself and for others, you will develop soft skills useful in the personal and professional sphere.

Connect with Valérie on LinkedIn

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