NAME: BOUZAGA Barka
BACKGROUND: Self-made woman
ACTION/SECTOR: BANK and FINANCE
ORGANISATION: France Active
My Background and Career
I was born in Paris and I spent my childhood and scholarship in a quite poor and abandoned area. As a self made woman, the most important time was 20 years ago in my first jobs. I worked to help women to build up their project in Women associations (CIDF : Women Rights Information Center + MIEL : House for Initiatives and Local Economy). I met there wonderful women who taught me everything. Later, I took the opportunity to attend courses and obtained a Master diploma in urbanism.
Today I am a project manager for « France Active » : a national association that invests in and supports creation and/or development of companies, whose creators have little access to the traditional banking system.
In a financial rather male-employed environment, I sit as project manager for Territorial Development : I am the permanent link between the national organization and all its regional entities
Economic : Most difficult were economic problems, and at the same time - thanks to all those things I had to fight for - it turned out to be very helpful because my skills come from experience and not out of years studying, and I had to rely on a very efficient network of people who are still very reliable.
Family : My husband is of great support. Having 2 children forced me to improve work/life balance and had a good influence on organising my work agenda
Social : In the bank field, people can be quite open to women … until they don't go too high ! Also, belonging to the North African minority was quite helpful to start with, because people use me as a token. But never mind, I am very aware of that and I can do some good job, which is the most important.
I'm a very good listener. I understand quickly and I try to find the middle way in every situation. And I never forget my goal.
Hints & Tips
Lucky Saying: Life is short, we only live once
When you have a project, think about it carefully and then just leap in, don't be frightened and go for it. Women are often not ambitious enough in their business project… they quite often have fear to borrow money and when they do, they ask for less money. Take time, take counsel … build your real project, not necessarily a small one ! Entrepreneurship requires to keep a widening scope, to listen to your contemporaries' needs (more than to your own desires), to ask for help and counseling and to be able to cope with loneliness for some times