Audrey Tcherkoff - Executive Director of the Global Positive Forum

Audrey Tcherkoff - Executive Director of the Global Positive Forum

Audrey Tcherkoff is the Executive Director of the Global Positive Forum and a member of the board of the Positive Planet Foundation. She is also a woman and a mother with a strong conviction to help create a better future. "At some point, I wanted to give meaning to my life. From the luxury industry to the world of NGOs, her career path is one that inspires the world.

A graduate of the Institut Supérieur de Gestion de Paris, specializing in International Business, and of Saint John's University in New York, she first worked for the Robert Wan Group, the world's largest black pearl producer. She founded a branch of the group in the Middle East and managed it as CEO for 9 years, then led the development of the first pearl farming project in the region.

In 2014, she joined the Positive Planet Foundation, founded by Jacques Attali in 1998, as a member of the board. This Foundation aims to promote the positive economy and raise funds for the programs of the NGOs Positive Planet France and Positive Planet International.

Events such as Positive Cinema Week at the Cannes Film Festival, the Positive Planet Awards and fundraising dinners are organized by the Foundation.

The mission of Positive Cinema Week, of which Tcherkoff is Executive Director, is to promote positive and committed cinema on current issues, and to promote filmmakers who are committed to creating cinema that can raise awareness and change the way things are done.

After the birth of her daughter, Mila, in 2015, Tcherkoff decided to leave the Robert Wan Group to focus on Positive Planet. Working for both at the same time was too much work, and she also wanted to be able to spend time with her family.

"The jewelry business was doing very well, but I wanted to use my knowledge for something else," Cherkoff tells Challenges magazine. Her life took a turn when she took part, while pregnant, in a humanitarian trip to Nepal that definitely changed her vision of the world. It was at the same time that she met Jacques Attali, founder of Positive Planet.

As a very optimistic and enthusiastic child, very close to a grandfather "who started from nothing, who had the rage to succeed and became an entrepreneur", she grew up in a family that instilled in her loyalty and courage, "loving but demanding" who did not accept failure. "It was heavy, but formative," she confided in an interview for Le Figaro.

In an interview for the website MagicMaman, Tcherkoff recounts the "crazy energy" that her pregnancy brought her. "Feeling the life in me, it's a feeling that carried me for nine months". She also talks about her daily struggles as a mother and what she wants to pass on to her daughter. "Empathy [is] an essential and increasingly rare quality. The passion to be interested in all things and all personalities. I would also like to teach her to never be afraid to be outside her comfort zone because that's where you learn the most and grow. [I am fighting to make people and all the actors of society understand that we can change the lines. There is no impassable mountain. It's the people who thought we could change the world that changed the world."

"The birth of my daughter has only strengthened my motivation," and despite a minister's schedule, she has been able to balance family and work, as family is definitely a strong asset for Audrey. "[I have] An encouraging, present, supportive husband. He doesn't make me feel guilty, he is happy to see me flourish." What could be more encouraging and fulfilling than the unwavering support of the people you love.

In 2016, Tcherkoff was appointed Executive Director of the Positive Economy Forum in Le Havre. This forum brings together actors committed to building a better world for future generations.

In 2017, she was entrusted with the realization of the Global Positive Forum in Paris, a project to launch a call to civil society and businesses to participate in an international debate to share their projects and ideas to improve the future and the impact of their actions on the planet.

The Foundation creates the first ever international citizen consultation, the “Etats Généraux des Générations Futures”, receiving more than 50,000 contributions from citizens around the world with the aim of proposing concrete solutions to the G20.

"We are the first generation to see the effects of climate disruption and the last to be able to do something about it."

Tcherkoff is also involved for women. In 2021, she was named executive director of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Dubbed by the press as the "Women's Davos," this is an international organization, founded in 2005, that aims to strengthen women's representation as well as greater gender diversity throughout society's power departments. The Women's Forum also works to promote women's entrepreneurship through education, gender parity in business and a stronger presence of women in the media.

On the occasion of the sixteenth edition of the Women's Forum, in November 2021, Tcherkoff spoke to LesEchos magazine and sounded the alarm: following the Covid-19 pandemic, "the toll is terrible", she explained, "in one year of pandemic worldwide, women have lost 35 years of progress".

Her priorities as the new Executive Director are to put a big spotlight on the issue and to strengthen the Forum's actions. "Some 30 leaders [...] have signed [...] a commitment to eliminate gender inequality in their companies by 2030. Our goal is also to continue to influence the public agenda."

Tcherkoff also wants to give a major place to young people, the "leaders of tomorrow," and to encourage women who wish to do so to go into technical professions. "We need to expand our pool of scientific profiles. France has only 22% female engineers. And the loss is immense. Even when they graduate, many women give up on technical jobs, while companies often hire men", not to mention the wage gap between men and women, which is much greater in these fields (28% compared to 21% in more traditional jobs).

The Women's Forum is also "a data center to feed leaders". To quote one of the most striking figures, there are 224 million women who have built their own business, i.e. 40% of entrepreneurs in the world, yet "they have access to only 1% of the world's public and private financing".

The Forum has therefore joined forces with Procter and Gamble and HEC Paris to build the Women Entrepreneurs for Good, with the aim of welcoming and supporting "right up to the end of the chain" young women's projects "with a positive impact on the environment". For Audrey Tcherkoff, the Women's Forum and many others, the climate crisis and women's rights are strongly linked.

The climate crisis is one of the reasons why women's rights are regressing, and also increases poverty in the world. It is therefore important for women to succeed in the ecological transition. Cherkoff calls for mobilization so that today's girls are not tomorrow's victims.

Thus, the Women's Forum provides a guide "women as leaders of climate actions" for institutions and the private sector, proposing "concrete actions to be taken, objectives to be achieved, evaluation methods to be implemented...".

A greener economy and a more inclusive world, with increasing opportunities for women in new technologies, technical professions and entrepreneurship, this is the ultimate goal of the Women's Forum and of the work that Audrey Tchekoff leads with conviction and determination.

 

 

Article by Julie Poutrel for Adama Toulon.

 

 

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