My uncle was the principal of a primary school. When they refurbished his school, he gave our family 2 old L-shaped student’s desks. My grandmother bought us a black chalk board with colored chalks. Mathematics was always a fun game for me. I decided to teach math to my sister and her friends in our basement. I fell in love with teaching. I was 7 years old.
At 16, I began Northwestern University in their School of Education with the goal to be a math professor. After my first course in Economics, I realized that I could understand how the business world worked which was fascinating. I graduated with a major in Economics and followed immediately with an MBA in Accounting and Finance. Finance was by far the most interesting subject as it was a combination of Math, Economics, and Accounting, and therefore also a perfect fit for my strong suits.
In order to excel at Corporate Finance, I knew the basis would be a solid foundation in Accounting. Upon graduation, I focused on becoming a CPA while working in NYC for Arthur Andersen (at that time, the largest of the Big 8). Shortly afterwards, I was lucky enough to be head-hunted into General Electric’s Healthcare Division as their International Tax Manager. In addition to my work responsibilities, I integrated the GE Financial Management Program and was quickly spotted by upper level management. This led to a series of fast promotions giving me the chance to analyze manufacturing, sales and service functions in 3 years. I was soon responsible for Financial Planning & Analysis and Controllership of Asia Pacific Latin America & Canada with 75 accountants and analysts reporting to me. After GE’s acquisition of Thompson CGR in 1988, I was drafted by the CEO of Europe Middle East & Africa to cover the same functions from Paris. This was prior to the Euro, so we were budgeting, forecasting and closing accounts in 19 different currencies every month.
After marrying my French husband, we moved to Lyon. As he was Directeur Générale of Lyonnaise des Eaux Suez, he told me I could do whatever I wanted. I knew immediately what I wanted to do: become a professor. I was hired that fall by American Business School to teach 13 classes in Math, Economics, Accounting and Finance. CEFAM acquired ABS Lyon 2 years later and the rest is history…
Thank you CEFAM & the alumni for all the great memories. I will cherish them forever.