“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw
Although she sweetly refers to herself as a black sheep, entrepreneur My-lan Poulain is clearly an impressive and inspirational leader. Founder of Make Your Echo, a start-up dedicated to empowering small businesses, My-lan is a passionate and vibrant woman who claims to be constantly in search of her purpose. We met last week at charming Café Merci in the Marais, where she shared some of her journey with us. Through our conversation we discovered a woman of many layers and strengths, most striking of which is her need to inspire and create positive change in herself and in others. The name of her company, Make Your Echo, couldn’t be more fitting.
She Became a Lawyer ‘Just Because’. It seems strange to suggest anyone could become a lawyer by default, since it takes years of intense study and dedication, but surely she’s not the only one. As she describes her path, My-lan became an attorney only because it was the next logical step in her studies and she wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue as a career – like many of us in our early 20’s. So she continued her studies, graduated and – after spending 6 months traveling in Hong Kong and Australia – passed the bar. Soon after, she was hired as a business attorney by prestigious French firm August & Debouzy.
After two years, Mylan was let go from her job. It wasn’t an easy time for her, but she recalls feeling kind of relieved and very determined to find a more fulfilling job. A unique opportunity and her ability to learn quickly landed her a job as a strategy consultant for powerhouse communications agency Tilder, and later at Havas. Over her next 5 years she developed her business skills and knowledge, as well as a passion for building value within companies.
Make Your Echo = Her Calling (For Now). As someone who describes herself as easily bored, My-lan Poulain knew that eventually she would need to leave her job as a consultant to build her own universe. This time arrived in 2012 when Make Your Echo was born. Her primary goal with MYE has been to assist new businesses in creating value through providing excellent services at an affordable price. Using her communications and legal skills, Poulain began working with startups in Paris to help them build their brand identity. In doing so, she discovered “many entrepreneurs don’t have enough faith in themselves”. She stresses the importance of ‘being who you really are‘ when it comes to brand identity and, with her network of experts in a variety fields, My-lan has been instrumental in creating value for new business in Paris. Learn more about Make your Echo here.
Passionate Environmentalist = 1 Heart 1 Tree. A passionate environmentalist, My-lan Poulain and Make Your Echo have been active contributors to 1 Heart 1 Tree, a powerful program aimed at reconnecting us to nature through technology. Using the app, anyone is able to create a 3-D digital tree of light on the Eiffel Tower with his or her name on it. The growth of the tree is linked to the heartbeat of the user. For each digital tree planted on the Eiffel Tower a real tree will be planted through reforestation programs around the world. In early December, when 196 nations convened in Paris for the most important environmental event of the year (COP21), the Eiffel Tower was formed into a virtual tree of light. So far, over 52,000 real trees will be planted as a result, and 1 Heart 1 Tree aims to plant millions. Learn more about this program and how you can be a part of positive change here.
4 of her Favorite Soulful Escapes Online: Click on each to discover a few of the websites My-lan Poulain visits regularly to feel a sense of peace and connectedness. (note: they’re in French, not English)
What’s Next. Several months ago My-lan Poulain decided she would plan to travel for a bit in order to experience more of the world and to connect with herself at a deeper level. Like many creative people, she craves travel to open her eyes, mind and soul to new possibilities. This time her adventurous spirit will lead her to Saigon with a one-way ticket in late December. We look forward to keeping in touch and learning what’s next in her beautiful journey. Thanks for your time + have a fabulous and enlightening trip!
* Song For This Moment: “Freedom” by Pharrell Williams.