They say you are like the people who surround you, so chose wisely. I happen to be very lucky. I have a lot of admiration for each one of my friends. They are the family you chose, but also people who teach you, change you, make you rise. I would like to share what they bring me, their knowledge or their philosophy, their advices or their example, their ideas or their beliefs.
I met Adalaïs thanks to the friend who changed my vision of life. And it couldn’t have been otherwise. Adalaïs is one of these rare person with whom I felt at ease as soon as I met her. She’s one of the most clever person I know as well as one of the funniest. Yes sometimes you find both in the same person. As her name is rare, she is one of a kind. I asked her many question because she’s a student in Art at the Louvre – not less !- and in business, yes again she combines things that could seem miles away. She’s also an entrepreneur, running the school’s student company and the startup she co-founded.
Amazing you say? Yes. And yet you haven’t been sitting with her hours in an ancient town while she’s telling you about the story, the mysteries and hidden treasures. Her very unique way to put things together, fascinate me. Because she shows that yes, you can be everything you feel you are. It takes time and work. Energy and courage and it is very inspiring.
Who are you?
My name is Adalaïs Choy, I am 25 years old, a student-entrepreneur. Studying at the Louvre School, I am also the co-founder of a startup and president of my School’s junior company.
At school I am in my 3rd year (licence) with a specialization in History of art and Archeology of Of the Early Christian, Coptic and Byzantine worlds (Christian archeology in short). And yes, she makes it unbelievably exciting!. I also study mathematics, marketing and micro-economy in a business school (ESSEC) with the goal of taking part in a double masters. Two masters combined in 4 years, 2 years at the Louvre, 2 years at the ESSEC.
I would like to work in patronage and cultural management, with the aim of working in corporate foundations or cultural institutions.
What do you do?
A lot of things at the same time (Here I smile, yes, she does). Studying at the Louvre (yes, the museum), where I learn about History of Art (all periods, all continents) with classes such as oriental archeology, history of art in China and Japan or history of Art during middle age… We also have “practical” classes during which we discover and learn about pieces of Art for 2 hours 2 to 4 times a week in museum such as the Louvre, Quai Branly but also cultural building such as Notre Dame! I chose the specialty of Christian Archeology so we focus on religious buildings and objects. Thanks to this I went to Ravenna and will soon go to Thessaloniki in Greece! I’m also studying in a business school, I still have some assessments to do but if everything goes to plan I should be able to take part in a master in this school as well!
I also co-created a startup, Covoiture-Art, in 2014. It’s the first cultural oriented car-pooling service. Our platform put in touch drivers and passengers who want to go to the same cultural place. We benefit from the French Tech Culture support and were “accelerated” which helped us launching new products that we are now selling directly to cultural institution. Soon museums, castles will benefit from their own car-pooling service directly on their website. Our role is to make it easy for every one. Managing a startup means being able to do everything! But I am mainly in charge of our partnerships and communication and since we launched this new API I also have a business developper role.
Finally since November 2016 I am president of my School’s Junior Company. It is an association which offers its clients missions such as conception of expositions, cultural events etc… It is the very first association of this kind in the cultural sector. Only students from the school are working for it and we collaborate with various companies! The goal is double: economic and pedagogic. Students learn from it and companies benefit from the expertise of the School! My role is to manage a team of 30 people working for the association. Therefore I have to keep an eye on everything : business development, communication, quality… We know want to enter the brand ” Junior Company” and for this will have to convince all the presidents of Junior Companies throughout France!
What did you do to be here now?
After scientific background in high school I went to a “prepa” (french specialty, two years to get ready for exams to enter some business schools, engineer schools) with a speciality of History of Arts. I then enter the ICART, a business school specialized in art business and cultural mediation. I did a lot of internships: with an art expert, in an Art fair and also as a guide!
After I graduated (bachelor) I pass the Louvre exam and started in 1st year!
Why did you pick the Louvre School?
After a very practical degree I really wanted to go back to theory. Moreover the Louvre School was a kind of dream for me, it is the very best in terms of History of arts and archeology. It was a way for me to open some doors and deepen my knowledge. I was dreaming of it so I went for it!
Did you always have an entrepreneur spirit?
Not at all! Entrepreneurship just “fell on me” when I met my co-founder on a… car pooling! But now it feels that I have always been one!
Is it harder to be an entrepreneur as a woman?
I don’t think so. Even if a lot is yet to be done in terms of gender equality in France I think we are very lucky. I never went through any problem or discrimination because of my gender in the entrepreneur environnement. I would even say it can be a big plus as people are surprised to see a young woman co-funding a startup and might be a bit more open to now her work and motivations!
What is it for you to be a woman today?
For me, today’s woman is independent, strong, who make her dreams come true and go for it!
There are “wonder woman” who also manage to be extraordinary mothers and amazing wives/partners. I am not yet a mum but I have to confess that the pressure I already feel on my shoulders is not helping my fear of becoming a parent!
I also think that unfortunately women want to proof their value and be excellent everywhere: job, parenting, being a woman that fit society expectation. More and more of them stand up to say the pressure is too high and it is almost impossible to be perfect on all sides.
I would then add that a woman today (in France as I can’t say I know perfectly the topic for elsewhere), is a woman who do the maximum with what she has, she should also feel blossoming beautiful and happy.
What did you want to do when you were a kid? Did you imagine this?
When I was around 3-4 years old I told my mum I wanted to be “poubelleuse” ( kid version of the french word meaning dustman) so I can save the planete from “polluation” (kid’s version of pollution)! Let’s say that my goal changed a bit since!
With a father fond of art, history and archeology and I decided around 14 that I wanted to be a paleo-anthropologue after I watched a TV program which showed the work of an archaeologist-geneticist who was studying ancient Etruscans genetics in comparison to the modern people’s genetics. I found it fascinating and it was matching my half letters half sciences interests!
A few years later I wanted to study medicine, “like mum”… After my dad died, which of course changed a lot of things, I (probably inconsciously) realized that life is short I should enjoy it. I chose my studies by passion, very close to my family and dad’s passion for old stones and history! Those topics were part of my childhood and it was a pleasure for me to find a little bit of my dad in it!
How did you find your path?
I don’t think I “found” my path. It came “naturally” to me, or at least was brought through what happened in my life. I sometimes think everything is written, as if we were following a path already decided. It shows in my choices. If my dad didn’t die maybe I would be a doctor today. If I didn’t live the life I had I probably wouldn’t have chosen christian archaeology as my specialty, but people who know me and the story about my holiday home village will understand.
Maybe my path found me?
Entrepreneur, student in two schools, how do you do to do everything? Where does this amazing energy come from?
I don’t know if I have an “amazing energy”, as everybody I am sometimes tired. When I see some people with a very busy job I don’t think I do more than them.
I had tough moments in life which make me say that there is far worse than a lot of work. Moreover I don’t see how I could complain with the luck I am surrounded by! My mum can pay for my school and my parisian life, I am studying something I am passionate about, I enjoy being an entrepreneur, I am not living in a war country, I am eating enough everyday, I live in a place I like…
I think my energy come from the confidence my parents and people I love put in me. My dad did not have the opportunity to study, I know he believed in me a lot. So maybe I am trying to make him proud, like my mum.
I always wanted to things in a good way, get into the best schools. So I am trying to keep up, give the best of myself even if it’s not easy every day!