Alumni Spirit | The keys to leadership

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General director of Capital Connect and passionate entrepreneur, for the last ten years Nadine Bla has been working to enhance her managerial approach. Her studies at IFG have given her new tools for managing her business and continuing to promote Côte d’Ivoire’s potential.

The soul of an entrepreneur

Since she was a child, Nadine Bla has nursed a passion for languages and poetry“I am in love with language and words. I first learned to dream and travel in books. But I quickly understood that ‘princess’ is not a career,” she says.

So it was only natural that she headed for the communication field and received a bachelor’s from the Ecole française des attachés de presse (French School of Press Officers), and then a master’s degree in global communications, with a specialty in human resources, from the Institut International de Communication de Paris (International Institute of Communications in Paris).

“My entrepreneurial spirit eventually led me to create my first company, Établissement BSN, working in commerce, urban transport and aviculture,” she notes.

She subsequently held various jobs. By turn, product manager at the Société de Vins de France (French Wine Society) in Thiais, then public relations officer at the Bourse du Café et du Cacao (Coffee and Cacao Market) where she organized numerous events around the world, such as the Chocolate Salons. In 2006, something clicked, and she decided to found Capital Voyages to promote the tourism and economic potential of Côte d’Ivoire. Capital Voyages would later become Capital Connect.

Incapable of resting on her laurels, Nadine Bla decided to go back to school in 2016 and received a certificate from the Management Program for Leaders at HEC Paris and then the Advanced Management Program at IESE Barcelona. She finished off her education with anExecutive MBA at IFG Paris Sorbonne.

Today, passionate about human psychology, Nadine Bla wishes to apply the principles of self-knowledge and understanding others to her business.“I’m convinced that sharing a common vision helps to unleash the best in everyone.

Plunging into event planning

Initially a travel agency, Capital Connect quickly turned towards concierge services and event planning. The company now focused on public relations as well as assisting institutions and businesses.

In fact, the CEO is the force behind an innovative economic forum, the Journées Nationales des Chefs d’Entreprise (JNCE – CEO Meetings). The forum made it possible to map the various districts of the Côte d’Ivoire that offer an alternative to the congested capital. As commissioner general of the JNCE, she also helped raise awareness of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic, tourism and cultural potential. For this work, she received the ASCOM prize for the best communication event.

“I love my work because every day is different. My day to day is full of challenges,” she confides.

Ever since its beginnings, when Côte d’Ivoire participated for the first time in the Soccer World Cup in Germany, Capital Connect has been closely linked with the world of sports.

“Sports is a powerful means of cohesion and togetherness. I am happy to say that 17 years later, we are a partner of the African Cup of Nations,” she points out.

Being a realist, this business leader recognizes the importance of rethinking things in light of climate change, particularly in the service sector. Her master’s thesis at IFG was on Côte d’Ivoire’s involvement in agribusiness.

“I am aware that we must invest in our country to lower unemployment and keep students from leaving, or only concentrating in Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire is a country with strong cultural potential, a country that is culturally and economically rich. Tremendous opportunities exist, we must help them come to light,” she insists.

On the honor roll

Recipient of the National Order, Nadine Bla’s involvement in the economic and social development of Côte d’Ivoire is multifaceted. She is vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), and since 2014 is socio-economic, environmental, and cultural advisor at the Conseil Economique, Social, Environnemental et Culturel (CESEC – Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Council).

Her citizen involvement also includes administering the Fonds d’Entretien Routier (Roads Maintenance Fund). She also plays an important role in the Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire (General Confederation of Businesses in Côte d’Ivoire), thus participating in her country’s development and infrastructure.

This business leader has received numerous other awards for her dedication, like the National Excellence Prize for Best Company Leader in the women’s category, and the National Excellence Prize for the best travel agency and promotion organization, both awarded by the President of Côte d’Ivoire.

The emancipation of women

Always very involved in her country’s strategic decisions, Nadine Bla is particularly committed to improving the condition of women.

“Aside from my professional obligations, I am the sponsor of the United Organizations Coalition, a group of 16 women’s associations, and the president of the SEMAHE Foundation. I want to inspire and support the women of my country,” she says.

Through SEMAHE, she is involved in women’s education and entrepreneurship in rural areas. She brings hope to women, and works to help them become independent through support, training and concrete initiatives.

“I want to make little girls realize that they can be someone. In a society that tends to favor boys, they also have the right to dream and realize their dreams,” she affirms.

Her multiple commitments mean she travels a lot In the middle of this whirlwind, there is an oasis of calm where she finds refuge and reenergizes: her home. In this personal sanctuary she has created the ideal conditions for wellbeing.

“An environment filled with serenity, a cocoon where each detail is carefully thought out, a harmony inspired by Feng Shui – everything converges to nourish my energy and my wellbeing,” she confides.

A thirst for knowledge

IFG gave her new tools for working on herself, for facing change, for facilitating decision-making and developing her managerial methodology. “All of the courses naturally lead to rethinking the way one runs a business, with direct applications,” she insists.

Among other things, the leadership and governance courses allowed her to better fulfill her role as vice president of the CCI. That said, her experience at the Institute is not limited to what she learned in class.“You also learn a lot from classmates who come from other fields,” she notes.

Finally, her travels, in particular her trips to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, were important milestones. “It allows you to be enriched by other cultures, to really develop your own mindset,” she remarks.

She was proud to share her accomplishment with her son at the graduation ceremony at IFG. Her favorite proverb, which comes from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, sums up her deep conviction “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”.

According to her, every diploma is a powerful weapon that can have a positive impact on her business, her personal life, and her country. Convinced that age is not an obstacle to learning, she encourages everyone to give themselves the means to realize their dreams. Her advice for future IFG students? “Do not be afraid to surpass yourself, to go beyond yourself, to leave your comfort zone. It’s a long process but you come out of it a seasoned manager.” .

“Ne pas avoir peur de se surpasser, de se dépasser, de sortir de sa zone de confort. C’est long, mais on en ressort manager aguerri”.

Nadine BLA

Alumni IFG

Updated 15 February 2024