Cécile Barry: « Try entrepreneurship ! »

Cécile Barry combines responsibilities and origins. One is probably no stranger to the other. Born in 1966 in Paris, from a line that has its roots in several West African countries, the business coach grew up between France, Guinea, and Belgium. After starting her career in the tourism and banking sectors, passionate about entrepreneurship, she created in 2003 her first company. Since then, she has never stopped encouraging women to do business.

«Women ask for an average of € 4,000 in credit. What do you want to do with that? You have to have ambition from the start … and a vision!» This is Cecile’s method. President of the Ajicé group, Cécile Barry addresses this day without compromise to a women’s assembly.

Hearing her, and seeing her jostle with ease and ardor her audience, difficult to imagine that small, Cecile was shy. Born in Paris, she spent her early childhood in Guinea, with her grandmother. The latter played a vital role in the building of her personality. «It was my rolemodel of a woman, strong, combative, entrepreneur with values. She was from this line of independent, strong and courageous African women …». Cecile would be influenced by other «wonderwomen. Starting with her mother, a nurse she would join in Paris when she is 7 years old, the situation in Conakry deteriorated.

«Start your company, otherwise, it will be too late.»

Cecile Barry CEO Ajicé

Even if she pursued classical studies, Cecile knew very early on that she would not spend her life behind a desk. After earning her Bachelor degree, she started. «I immediately started working. In a bank first, as an assistant. I loved tourism and hospitality; I dreamed of running a hotel, so I took hotel classes while working. Thereafter, she joined a network, ERA real estate, an American franchise that has just established in France. At an annual group convention, I told myself, «start your company, otherwise it will be too late after. I was 37 years old!» She created an event management firm. Cecile travel. The United States, Europe, Asia … Upon her return, she created in 2003 a communication firm, Worldmas International: «My first client was in fashion industry and I realized that to only provide them communication services was too small because they had needs, of course, but also in production and at the commercial level. I then told myself: therefore offer them everything so that they have only one firm that can help them. But 2006-2007, the economic emerged, 6,000 fashion shops running out of business every year in France and it made the commercial part very difficult ».

She left the fashion world to move consulting and business development operating in Europe and Africa. In 2014, she created with her best friend, Anne-José Beuzelin, the Ajicé Group, a notoriety development firm. This entity includes all the services that the two women previously proposed in their respective structures. «With this business, you find all the tools and actions that create or accelerate the development of the reputation of a person or a brand. Our particularity: we manage our own club of personalities from the world of show biz, economy and politics. We make them available to brands to increase their notoriety.

«The new generation, Generation Y girls, dare more»

In the meantime, she joined Action’Elles, a network of women entrepreneurs. In 2008, she become vice-presidence and the presidence, until today. «One of my missions as network manager was to support the project leaders in the creation and development of their project.» Women whom she urges, with strength and grip, to “try entrepreneurship».

«Initially, they hesitate, ask themselves a lot of questions: Am I going to get there? Would I be able to reconcile work and family life? But once launched, on the contrary, they achieve it. The new generation, Generation Y girls, are more daring because they know they will not have a job for life like their elders. They do not hesitate to launch a start-up, to borrow, surround themselves, » she explains. Breaking the isolation of the entrepreneur is precisely the message that Cécile brings. In 2019, it aims to promote Action’elles in the world and especially in Africa while developing Ajicé abroad.

Steering a team, Cécile Barry’s advice

The SMART(ER) Method

S like Specific and Simple
A goal must be simple for your team to understand. It should not be too difficult to achieve otherwise you will lose time in understanding and this will slow down the mission.

M like Measurable
If you do not established an encrypted indicator, you will not know if the goal has been met.

A like Ambitious and Accepted
Even if the goal is quite achievable by the team, it must have its share of ambition and challenge that will be a source of motivation. No mission can take place without a real contract of acceptance between the manager and his collaborators. If you set an unvalidated goal, you will not get any results because nothing can be achieved without them.

R like Realist
As stated above, your goal must be ambitious but achievable to give real motivation for your team.

T like Temporarily defined
Without a deadline, how do you manage your financial investment and the effort of your team? It is not about of saying something approximative « in 18 months it will have to be done but to give a fixed date and not modifiable.

E like Ecological
Is the goal we are meeting going to hurt someone? Are all moral values considered ?

R comme Révisable R as Reviewable
If the management strategy has been changed or you find out that you will not finally achieve the desired goal, consider correcting some of the actions decided beforehand and review the ambition so that the goal becomes achieveable.