Sophie Reynal, finance side and battling sidePhotography : Camille Noyon - Text : Julien Damon
2008 is the year when Sophie Reynal created her business, Allia Finance, specialised in merger and acquisition consulting, that is to say helping companies develop their activities by buying complementary or competing businesses. This requires deep strategic insight, in order to precisely understand markets, economic models and their evolutions; a solid technical background in finance and accounting, in order to know how to assess the right price and imagine the mechanics that will fund those operations; and finally a real talent for negotiation in order to match sometimes conflicting interests.
But 2008 is also the year of the big earthquake in the world of finance, the year the subprime crisis born in America shook up the sturdiest banking institutions all over the planet, drove the most fragile ones to bankruptcy and forced the others to reduce their activities and their workforce.
So retrospectively, you could say it called for a strong character to go into the adventure by yourself, precisely at that moment, while the storm was still raging.
But Sophie Reynal doesn’t see it this way. She calmly explains that after fifteen years of experience in the most renowned financial institutions in Paris, London and New York, she had acquired the necessary know-how, the financier’s « toolbox », and that the time had come for her to practice her trade in another way.
As risky as that bet was, Sophie Reynal is glad that she went for it. She now advises companies smaller than before, but above all she advises men and women who take decisions. Not those who do the research, but those who take the final decision of going for it or not. They are often founders or owners of the companies they run, and their decisions represent for them much more than financial interest: the accomplishment of a project, of a certain vision of the world.
At the end of the day, it is all about personality. Sophie Reynal loves rugby – above all, as a true native of the southern district of Corrèze, the team of Brive-la-Gaillarde, which she unfailingly supports. She loves the energy, the loyalty and the fighting spirit that are specific to this sport. Reading her Twitter feed is enough to get a sense of her character. Followed by more than 6 000 people, she fights every day to promote the values she believes in: gender equity, democracy, secularism, entrepreneurship. She not only stands for these values as a matter of words, but also walks the talk through many voluntary commitments: as a mentor for young entrepreneurs in various start-up incubators; as the chairperson, for several years, of “HEC au féminin”, the committee of the prestigious business school’s alumni association which works for the professional development of women; or as an elected member of Senlis’ city council.
All in all, from finance to local democracy, the same principles are guiding Sophie Reynal through all her activities: asserting her convictions thanks to a thorough examination of the issues at hand, and then fighting to rally people around them as doggedly as an unflinching wrestler.