Inspiring Women featuring Our Top Women Role Models

Top Woman - Christine Lagarde
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
This 57 year old French woman and mother of two sons is the Top of Form Bottom of Form first woman to run the 188-country financial organization based in Washington, DC. She is ranked on the Forbes Lists as #8 Power Women and #38 Powerful Person. She is twice divorced and her partner of six years is an old friend from her Law School days. She competed in synchronized swimming where she learned to ‘Grit her teeth and smile'. She is teetotal vegetarian who goes to the gym every day.
Her Legacy
According to the Financial Times (‘Power with Grace’ by Gillian Tett, December 9, 2011). “Never before has a woman held such a powerful position in global finance; the world of money has hitherto been dominated by men, not just inside banks but in bureaucracies too. Lagarde herself has lamented this, joking, for example, that the financial crisis might have been different if there had been “Lehman Sisters” and that the euro’s “fragile” foundations were created by its “founding fathers”, not mothers, since “regrettably, there was no woman at the table at the time.”
Her Background and Style
She is a French lawyer with a Master’s Degree in Political Science. She changed careers from the Law to Politics in 2005 first as Minister for Agriculture and later as Finance Minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government. Former colleagues remark on her strong voice and impact, her broad experience and overall competence. Christine describes her management style as “ …more inclusive. Perhaps you can say that is because I am a woman – I do think that women tend to be more inclusive. I am very decisive when it comes to organizing the team, but I do consult widely and hear many ideas before rushing in.”
Her Influences
Madame Lagarde had a number of strong female role models that she credits with her success. Firstly her widowed mother who at the age of 38 supported the family and “… was a very strong character” from whom she learnt a lot. Secondly her grandmother, “a nurse in the first world war and an amazing person, who emancipated herself from a marriage she did not like.” Thirdly, her first boss, a Belgian woman, “… very strong and elegant …always very attentive to how she looked, and it taught me to dress properly.”
We salute her because
She promotes the wider cause of women and backed the proposal of introducing female quotas into the boards of European companies. “This is good for companies too …. the general tendency of women is to adopt a different risk profile …. After all, most women tend to have a more holistic view of life, partly because they have spent so many years trying to manoeuvre family and work.” And that she looks so effortlessly elegant in that very Parisian way!