Fitting In and Standing Out Blazing a Path
Martine Liautaud, Investor and Entrepreneur, Indosuez and Liautaud & Cie

Teaching Guide for Women Inspired Program


In today’s world, highly talented women continue to face challenges that limit their success, career potential and general life satisfaction.  In partnership with the GSB Women's Task Force, the GSB Alumni Relations Office makes these resources available to spark thinking and discussion on important topics of career navigation, leadership through awkward dynamics in the work place, work-life balance, and diversity. 

These resources are designed to challenge you to grapple with the forces driving your own internal compass and gut reactions as you watch, discuss, and share a combination of both the Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes.

Women Inspired Program Vignettes

This content is designed from real stories and perspectives of diverse women with the simple assumption that career satisfaction and life success are driven by the ability of a woman to make consistent value judgments and decisions that are driven by an inspired perspective of oneself and ones life vision.  The vignettes and cases are structured to spark personal reflection around one's own values and decision-making process, which will lead to transformative learning of practical ways to address challenges.  The video case resources are made available to all alumni and the content is designed to be experienced individually, in a group discussion or with a professional coach.

The collection includes two different types of videos: Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes.  The Capstone Perspectives feature a woman’s perspective, experience or advice on a particular topic or theme.  The Video Case Vignettes focus on a particular challenge a woman faced, decisions she made, and what she learned from the experience.

Video Case Vignette Format

These case vignettes feature leaders who share their experiences and insights to help you understand the opportunities you have to hone your own thinking and career design.  The case vignettes are broken into 3 clips: the background and challenge; the decision or action taken by the leader and the results of the case with lessons learned.  At the end of each clip, take time to consider or discuss how you might handle the dilemma, whether or not you agree with the action that was taken, or what you might do differently and why.  Take heed of the lessons learned and see what advice you can take from leaders who have gleaned important insights from their experiences.

How to Make the Most from the Video Vignettes

Try to watch a combination of Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes from different leaders.  In many cases, you will see that leaders may handle the same question or challenge very differently.  Consider which approach or perspective works for you.

As you watch the videos, reference the scrolling notes next to the video, which includes a brief background on the leader, a summary of the vignette, take-aways, and questions to consider.  For every vignette, ask yourself whether or not you agree with the leader.  Try to understand what values or frameworks are driving your reactions.  If you have not yet faced a similar challenge, consider how you might use the challenge to prepare for what may lie ahead.  You may also recall a very different challenge you have faced that brings you to a similar conclusion as the challenge in the video.

As the leader shares her challenge, imagine yourself in her shoes and how you would handle the situation.  Pause the video to consider and/or discuss the challenge, how it is handled, and the lessons learned.  Think about what you might do differently or what was done well.  Use these stories and insights to consider the values and decision making processes that drive your own internal compass.

Take time to reflect on your own situation, goals, values, plans and future.

After you watch the video, ask yourself the simple question:

What will you continue doing? Start doing? Stop doing?

Additional Readings and Resources


Video Vignette: Blazing a Path

Featuring: Martine Liautaud

Summary: An Investor must build a business and launch her career within the firm without the typical support.

Background on Leader: Martine Liautaud joined Bank Indosuez where she worked her way up to Partner.  After 16 years at Indosuez, she set up her first independent advisory and investment company.  Ten years later, she launched Liautaud & Cie, which specializes in M&A, financial engineering, and advisory services for major French groups (CAC 40).  As investor, she has taken stakes in several companies either as a majority shareholder or important minority shareholder. These include Meccano, a leader in the toy sector (sold in 1995), and the publishing group, La Martiniere, where she was also Vice-Chairman. From 2003 to 2006, Martine was President of the Stanford Business Club, French branch of the Stanford Business School alumni association; she is now Honorary President of the club. She is a member of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in France.  She has also written a book on mentoring and is married with 2 children.

Takeaway: Do not let stereotypes about women shape your ability to have an impact in your work.


Considerations and Questions (Segment 1):

1. How would you manage this situation?

2. What dynamics are important to consider in this situation?

3. When you do not have the support of your boss or colleagues, what options do you have?


Considerations and Questions (Segment 2):

1. Do you agree with how Martine handles this situation and what would you do differently?

2. What did Martine do well to engage support with her challenge?

3. What key principles of storytelling did Martine leverage?

4. How can you use storytelling to support your work and development?


Considerations and Questions (Segment 3):

1.   What surprises you about how this situation turned out for Martine? 

2.   How can you “play” with the bias of others to be more effective?

4.   How do you recognize and leverage the support of others?

5.   How can you focus your work with confidence to reach your goals?

6.   What lessons can you apply from Martine’s experiences and insights?


Key Take-Aways

Realize bias exists, especially in traditional, male-dominated industries.

Accept bias and consider how you can “play” with the dynamics to be more effective.

Identify and engage people who are able and willing to help you.

Honestly tell your story and challenges so people can empathize and help you.

Believe in yourself, and work confidently towards your goals.