Inès Leonarduzzi embodies the chic and power of women. She arrived in Paris almost 10 years ago with no contacts. Today, she is a talented entrepreneur and a true enthusiast, especially for art and literature. This independent woman learned on her own and surrounded herself with the right people to lead her battles.
In 2017, Inès founded the NGO Digital for the Planet. This CEO promotes digital ecology in the world, guiding people in creating a more responsible future and encouraging us to think, especially on digital innovation.
This digigirl is also the creator of Preserve Yourself, a platform about personal development to help you improving yourself every day.
More recently, Inès published her first book, Réparer le Futur (literally Fixing the Future), to help us get familiar with ecology and offer solutions for a better future.
All those accomplishments had lead Inès on the podim of Forbes; she is the woman to follow in 2022.
This multifaceted, elegant and committed new mom inspires us every day. She is the Josefina of our February Issue.
Founder and CEO of the NGO Digital for the Planet, author, woman of social networks, outstanding speaker at numerous conferences and events... You are a true inspiration for women. What is your background?
I think that only people who acknowledge the flaws behind their success can really inspire, because we need to feel that this person is human, that they have not always been successful and that they have some vulnerabilities. Behind the scenes is that in order to reach my achievements, I have extraordinarily failed in many other projects.
Success is about working hard, hanging in there when it is not working and when we feel alone. It means continuing to see an interest in it because the project you have chosen nourishes who we are. It's in our blood, we can't live without it. To do this, you have to know the contours of yourself, your mountains and your inner storms, but also your light. Many people forget to explore their light, or worse, hide it for fear of shining brighter than others and therefore, paradoxically, of displeasing them; and this is the first mistake on the road to success.
That being said, I have already said a lot about my journey. We have learned to define ourselves by the schools and the companies we have been to, but I believe that we learn more about someone by knowing their personal background. I come from Normandy, I grew up in a simple family far from the field where I evolve today and which, despite the challenges that we could face, transmitted to me values without which I could not live and the taste for things well done.
I traveled as much as I could. It was also a question of intellectual survival for me. When I was younger, I sometimes lived with 10€ a week, I counted the pennies and I managed to live well. I worked a lot of jobs, which made me discover many different worlds. I was very happy. When I arrived in Paris, I didn't know anyone. What brought me here is probably the fact that I was not afraid of any of my ideas. None of them frightened me. And because I had nothing to lose, I had unconsciously decided that literally anything was possible.
We discover with great interest your actions regarding digital ecology. Could you give us some key figures?
Digital pollution looks like nothing in everyday life because it is invisible to the naked eye, which is why it is insidious. The human brain is not, in theory, wired to perceive dangers that the senses do not detect. Nevertheless, we need to find objective answers to the dramatic consequences of the manufacture of electronic devices, and therefore of the extraction of rare-earth metals and the poor working conditions of entire families and children in the DRC, Bolivia or Inner Mongolia. There are also issues of intellectual digital pollution, such as our increasingly poor ability to read long texts, due to the privileged referencing of short texts - because the short texts are referenced instead of the long texts, which means more space for different content to offer and more advertising to place, and thus more money for GAFA. At the same time, our cognitive capacities are challenged, due to the bad content that we are sometimes flooded with on a daily basis, not to mention the issues of addiction and the disruption of the circadian cycle that affects our health if we use our screens inappropriately. Finally, there are the issues of societal digital pollution, which dangerously standardizes our tastes to the point of conditioning our commercial and political ideals, without us even really noticing, via filter bubbles, for instance. I talk about all this in my book "Fixing the Future". I wanted to write a well-rounded book but written simply so that it could be addressed to everyone. The idea is not to say that digital is bad and that we should get rid of it. Absolutely not. I am a child of the Internet, I grew up with it, I use it every day and I love it. However, we must initiate the future by finding answers to its negative impacts. This is what our actions at Digital For The Planet are all about. We act on education and legislation in countries, and help companies change their outlook and practices.
Why did you decide to lead this fight?
The same way we fall in love. I have no idea. I knew it was a question for me, the moment it popped into my head.
This feeling was confirmed when I realized that no international organization dealt with the subject, that it was absent from French and foreign legislation, that in companies it was not discussed. I told myself that something had to be done.
What advice could you give to companies as well as to our readers regarding digital ecology?
Read my book! (laughs) No seriously, I think it's a good start to understand the subject as a whole and learn on many levels.
Make your electronic devices last as long as possible, take care of them.
They are made at the cost of lives and each device travels around the world times from its manufacture to its arrival in our pockets.
Use WiFi rather than 4 or 5G. It uses up to 23 times less energy.
If we have done all this, it is already a lot.
Two years ago, you became the mother of little Ulysses; how did you find your new balance with the birth of a child?
Becoming a mother is the most intense experience I've experienced. It's like being in a tsunami all the time. I love being a mum. In the process of becoming one, I discovered a passion for children, and now I hope to have more one day. It is quite wonderful even though it is also very difficult sometimes. I have really learned how to respect myself by becoming a mother.
As an entrepreneur and a multi-jobber, I also discovered that I am the kind of mum who doesn't like to be away from her children. I canceled a book tour abroad because it was impossible to take Ulysses with me and I realized that my body was totally incapable of being away from him for so long. So, I'm the kind of cliché mum who is said to forget herself, to be too devoted, not modern at all in fact! And I think it's a shame that women are made to believe that they have to be either independent or dependent. My professional life is central for me, but I also like to be at home, to take care of my family, to play, to cook, and do so every day. It suits me. I used to say that I am half amazon and half geisha (laughs). I'm a free and independent woman, but also devoted to my family and present. This is important to me. It's a balance that I love. The truth is I think a lot of mothers will identify with that, it's just that we live in a society that asks us to choose a side, but basically there is only the side where we feel the happiest, I think. So that obviously involves making choices. I choose the events I go to and the people I see, because during the week I work non-stop. It's the way I've found to be at home and fully present in the evenings and at weekends as much as possible. It's a very personal process to find your balance. There is no one method that is better than another. I also give myself days, sometimes weekends, just for me, and I disconnect from everything and only take care of myself.
Who are the women who inspire you and why?
The straightforward women, deeply themselves, who please, precisely because they do nothing to please. I find these women insanely sexy. I also like women who know how to be men, as my mother was, as much as I like men who also know how to be women, like my lover. These people are rare, and very beautiful, I think. You have to know yourself, or at least know yourself well enough and love yourself enough to be able to achieve that, and that's wonderful. It's hard to be inspired by someone who stil has walls inside them. It freezes people.
What values do you want to spread as a woman and mother?
To respect yourself and respect others. To be kind to people, we don't know what they are going through, silently in their lives. Many of the people you can hurt are fragile, sad, in pain. You need to have empathy and decency towards them. To use your brain as much as possible; it's a fabulous tool that we too often treat as an optional accessory. And then to have a sense of humor. Laughing on a daily basis kills boredom, makes people happy and less sick. It also makes people nice.
What do you enjoy most in life as a woman?
The idea of having access to the secrets of the universe, if only by being able to give life. Women are by far the most complex, and I think, the most powerful living beings. If men have always, in every civilization, wanted to control women, it is not because they are weak, but on the contrary because they are powerful. When we understand this, we change all the perspectives. And this power, women know not to use it to crush others. Instead, they tend to express more of a spirit of protection and conservation. I love men, and all the diversity of humanity, but I think it's wonderful to be a woman!
What are your favorite places in Paris?
At home, in the 13th arrondissement. I dreamed of a terrace in Paris. It's the only luxury I own, and I spend as much time as I can there.
I love the Jardin des Plantes, the Tuileries, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée du Quai Branly, for its primitive arts.
I realize how lucky I am to live in Paris, so I make the most of it. The quays in summer, especially the quays of Saint Bernard where you dance salsa in the open air with your friends. I drag everyone there in the evening in summer.
I love having lunch at Marcelo's in the 6th arrondissement and having a good breakfast at Laperouse's in the Hotel de la Marine. I also hang out a lot in the 9th and 10th, as our offices are on rue Cadet. At lunchtime I often order homemade ravioli from Sweet Raviolis located rue Montmartre. I have lunch at Richer, Nanashi, I like to dine at Les Affranchis, L'Ami Jean or L'Affable. I recently had dinner at Gigi, avenue Montaigne, you don't go there every day but to treat yourself and dance while you dine it is amazing. You forget you're in Paris, even if you have a clear view of the Eiffel Tower.
Let's talk about fashion; what are your favorite items?
I often dress the same way. Either in jeans, jumpers and trainers. Or a long dress. Or tailored trousers and jacket. To be a bit more chic, sometimes I replace my trainers with my Stella McCartney platforms in vegan leather. I don't buy much, I have mostly vintage pieces, like two Dior wool cardigans or a beige Valentino cape that I found in Rio de Janeiro in a warehouse sale. I've
had the same jeans for 10 years and I repair them. I have an account on Vestiaire Collective where I also shop.
Which Josefina bag did you choose and why?
I thing the large black Josefina.
I chose it because it's big and I often have lots of things to carry around with me. When I go out, I either take nothing or I need to take things for myself and for my son. It's elegant, it goes everywhere and it's robust. When I go away for the weekend, it's enough for me.
What do you have in your Josefina?
My wallet and phone, a book, some biscuits and milk for Ulysses, my computer, diapers and a change of clothes. At least 6 pacifiers.
Credit 1 and 2: Zoé Fiji for Le Prescriptor
Credit 3 and 5: Paul Gaiffe
Credit 4: Ines Leonarduzzi
Credit 6: Emma Hyphen