Manon Lavaud

Where Manon is from

Saint Paul, Réunion Island, France

 

Interview

What was your dream when you were a kid? What was the reason?

When I was a Kid I dreamed of living in Africa, in the rural Africa. The feet dirty by the red soil, my sister and my brother would live not too far from my house, raising their kids. We would share breakfast all together in the morning, outside with a sunny and blue sky.

I also dreamed of being violinist, a florist and to have a farm in New Zealand when I will be retired. Because why not?

I think the main reason is I have always been curious to know people, to understand stranger and the difference. I have been lucky enough to travel with my parents when I was young and it nurtures in me a sense of sharing, curiosity and interest for others.

 

What was your dream when you were 18 years old? What was the reason?

What made you start thinking about social entrepreneurship/social enterprises? When was that?

When I was 18 years old, I went 11 000km away from home, letting behind me my family, my boyfriend and my friends to attend a very selective College in Nantes, France, where I knew nobody. I think at this time my only dream was to be with the people I love. But it is also this time that brought into my life: social business. I went to a talk made by the CEO of babyloan, the biggest French platform of microcredit and the COO of Grameen Danone. And I got inspired for the first time by social business, I knew immediately that I would work for social businesses. Still I didn’t know that I could be an entrepreneur. But the more I think about it and the more I understand it means to be. At that time I already dreamed about making the world a better place.

 

How much do you think social entrepreneurs play an important role in the world?

In my world ? they play a central role ! In the world : it is yet too small. But Social entrepreneurs have a huge potential and we have to work to make it bloomed. For now I think our role still marginal because of the power of the big group and company which run the world.

 

What would you say to future social entrepreneurs / those who are interested in social entrepreneurs?

I would say do it for the good reason, people see more and more an opportunity of making profit in this field. Some argue it is ok as long as the result of their action is doing good. I not agree. The system will always dilute the value and the intention behind the action. So if we don’t start with strong position and vision the change that we desperately expect will never happens. It is feasible, it is realistic and not utopist .

 

What is your favorite quote? Who said that quote?

“It’s necessary you align yourself with people and attract people who are hungry! People who are unstoppable and unreasonable. People who refuse the life how it is.”

“You can live your dreams”

 

Who Manon is

Manon and I have been working together for almost a year because we founded Musana Carts, so what I am going to write about her is from my observations as not just a classmate but also a colleague.

Manon is very straightforward like a spear, open and honest to anyone. She is sometimes too straightforward, but it makes Manon, Manon, like you cannot use the spear if it is bent. You cannot imagine this from her cute face, but I would describe her as a ‘bulldozer’. She is very powerful and a person who makes her own path in her life, not following something or someone. If she does not like the description, I would also say that she is like a ’meteor’.

Manon is also a ‘control freak’…what does this mean? It means that Manon is a true leader…no, the true leader for me. I believe that everyone is a leader in their own way, but Manon is the kind of leader that you associate with when you hear the word ‘leader.’ The reason why I used the phrase ’control freak’ is because she is the one who always takes initiative no matter which situation she is in. She is confident enough about who she is and what she does, but mostly, she is constituted of curiosity. Manon never lets it go when she does not understand something. It does not surprise me when people say “…whatever”, but Manon never does that. She asks questions until she completely understands everything, so she can take a leadership in any situation.

This is my favorite skill that Manon has; she knows who she needs to talk to. In other words, she always finds the most impactful person for projects or teams in a network event or session. That is indescribable because it just happens all the time.

Manon is very motivational and competitive mostly for herself. She makes efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges. English, accent, business…she has gotten over many things in her life.

I think I have mentioned mostly about Manon’s hard side, so let’s talk about her soft side.

You cannot talk about her without mentioning her funniness. It comes from her quick thinking. She cannot control herself, especially with jokes, no matter whether it is a serious meeting or a casual conversation.

Manon is also a spiritual person and loves spending time with yoga and meditation. She has lived in India for six months, so she is a great combination of Asian and European culture.

Lastly, you know what? She walks crazily fast!

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Awesome Episode

Manon and I were roommates as well. Our school, HULT, allows students to rotate to another Hult Campus around the world so one of our roommates, Thom, left for the London campus. And a few weeks later, our turn came. Manon, Taliey and I needed to leave the apartment. Manon cried in both times. She usually shares everything with her friends and team, but she seemed to hold her grief at that time. However, it did not mean that it stopped her walking. She was strong enough moving forward without looking back. Manon is strong enough to be alone sometimes. It makes her a great leader as well.

The next episode might sounds cute. One day, she left at night to go to the airport. She needed to transfer her flights one time but she missed the second one. It was a surprise plan for our classmates so she called me because I was the only one who knew her plan. When she called me, she was panicked and cried a little bit. I know I was the only one that she could talk to, but it was the moment I was glad that she relied on me. That was the most adorable Manon that I have seen.

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The Power of MSE

What Manon is holding is a symbol called “go-en(ご縁)”, which means ‘fate’, ’destiny’ and ’special tie.’

I believe that it is meant to be that we met in San Francisco! I studied Social Entrepreneurship with Manon for a year, saying “We will make the world a better place.” I would love to spend the rest of my life with MSEs (Master of Social Entrepreneurship; my classmates) until the very day I die. They have already completely changed my life.

At the same time, however, I also think that we should not be together all the time, because that is not the reason why we learned Social Entrepreneurship. That is not how we will deliver the impact we want to give to society and to the world.

I think MSEs are like dandelions. We were seeded at the first day at Hult and we bloomed on our graduation day. Our mission is that we spread all over the world like dandelions and seed the future, the next generation, from each place where each of us has landed.

本当にありがとう(Honto ni Arigato-); Thank you very very much for everything!! The world needs you! Let’s make the world a better place together!!

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