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Growing up in Benac, a small village in the South of France, my parents instilled the importance of natural and healthy living in me from a young age. My father is a white French man and my mother is an African-American, so as the only mixed family in the village, I always felt... different. I was an average, tall, skinny, curly-haired girl, who watched the Miss France competition every year, dreaming of the gorgeous gowns, the pretty girls and the luxurious destiny that awaited them.

From my childhood through the early days of my career, one carrot always loomed clearly in the distance: money. Growing up, my family earned a modest income, so we always had to be extremely financially conscious with every decision. So after graduating college, I thrilled my grandmother when I snapped up a position as project manager for IBM Global Services and plunged myself into the "security" of a corporate job. I gave it all the dedication and passion I could, but every day I felt myself becoming more and more unfulfilled. Why? What did I have to complain about?

Sometimes the person you have to stand up to is you! There I was, rewatching the Miss Universe 2019 competition. Which I do for inspiration from time to time. (No, seriously!) There is something about seeing women on stage, in full-on glam mode, and speaking with confident assuredness that really lights my fire! I have seen this Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa win this crown so many times before, but something about this particular viewing, her delivery or her words, touched something inside me a little differently. At that moment, I truly believed, with complete conviction, that she lives what she speaks.

Let's take a page or two from Serena Williams' playbook, shall we? As the only female c-suite executive in a male-dominated industry, I am often asked by other women, in rather hushed tones, "How do I deal with the double standard?!" Invariably the phrase "I feel damned if I do, damned if I don't…" had a starring role in their inquiries.

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