Alumni STORIES – VOL.1 | daphnée raynaud

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“Every time I felt I was no longer aligned with what I was doing, I was never afraid to take a step backwards and then take two steps forward again.”

Alumna | INSEEC
Program | Bachelor International Manager
Graduated in 2005
City of residence | Kinshasa

What made you progress as a student, and still does today?

Challenges, especially when they come with a concrete goal. I need them to feel good and to remain motivated. I wouldn’t have done all this without my small group of classmates. I have also been able to count on female solidarity, as well as leaders who have helped me a lot in my career. In Africa, they say that it takes a village to raise a child; what I have become, I have also become by being surrounded by caring friends.

Having set out to work in the world of finance, Daphnée also took up the challenge of conceiving a life in the spheres of charity and beneficence: “I’m not the kind of person who sits around and looks at numbers. In addition to my feminist commitment, I have a very social streak in me and this need to understand my environment, to find meaning in it.” Having just joined the European Union as a Contract Finance Officer, she could not have foreseen that her career path would later lead her to work under this banner. At first, Daphnée had to leave everything behind to get closer to the African latitudes that cradled her childhood. Punctuating an otherwise straight trajectory with a comma, and even if it meant stupefying her incredulous entourage — “a twenty-seven year old executive with an apartment in Paris, let’s say they were expecting something else!” — there she was, flying off to Uganda on an International Corporate Volunteership with a major telecom group: “Every time I felt I was no longer aligned with what I was doing, I was never afraid to take a step backwards and then take two steps forward again.” But as the months passed, Daphnée wanted a change of velocity; an advertisement in a Kampala newspaper offered the epiphany. The Democratic Republic of Congo native immediately cut short her sabbatical to apply for a job with the American NGO Invisible Children Inc. Once there and installed in her position as Senior Regional Finance Manager, she ensured that the funds allocated by donors were properly employed. Because her forefathers already carried painful memories of war —  “my grandparents fled Rwanda” — Daphnée was able to discover community resilience and its healing power in the face of the cruelest aspects of human nature: “We were working in Central Africa, in areas that had been in crisis for decades, where rebel groups were active. I was already doing my part to improve the living conditions of the local population.”

Deeply rooted in a dual culture that is Franco-Rwandan, it was in France that Daphnée decided to pursue her higher education. A few wanderings in a student fair would have her drawn in by the magnetism of INSEEC BBA Bordeaux: “I had already considered going to Japan for a year. What convinced me was the kindness of the students, but also the fact that the administrative team guaranteed that if I passed the admission test, my place would be kept.” At the end of her first Japanese adventures, Daphnée quickly confirmed her sentiments, discovering an open school, driven by a real desire to support its students — “in fact, it was within the school itself that I did my first internship. I organized the communication and orientation activities for baccalaureate students.” And if she admits that at the beginning, she was navigating a bit blindly, the pedagogical richness of INSEEC BBA corroborated her choice: a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance. Daphnée would keep the laurels of the startup creation contest that made her glow, and revive memories of the land of cherry blossoms, having spent a semester at the Nihon Daigaku in Tokyo. After completing a master’s degree in banking and a thesis on microfinance — “linking the notions of proximity and development, that spoke to me!” — Daphnée was aware that her training had finely honed her skills, and had no trouble projecting herself into the working world, since her profile was so well received — “all my CVs were selected! I wouldn’t be where I am today without INSEEC BBA.” It is also where she met her best friend, with whom she has a lasting relationship — “I am the godmother of her son, and she of my daughter.”

Today, Daphnée has expanded her responsibilities in earnest, a change of scale that has not changed her in the slightest: “The nature of my mission remains the same, and I continue to work in Kinshasa, where I analyze responses to calls for tender from various organizations, NGOs and other partners, in order to verify that they meet the European Union’s financial criteria and regulations.””An opportunity that was once again found through a combination of circumstances — “it wasn’t easy to be chosen, but I’ve never been so happy to start a new job!” Without conceding anything to fatalism and without giving up her convictions, Daphnée has acquired the certainty of having amassed all criteria considered as necessary to arrive precisely where she wanted to be.

Written portrait© Maison Trafalgar | Watercolor drawing © Maison Trafalgar & Camille Romanetto

Updated 18 October 2022