September 9 2016
The professional: Salimatou Diallo
The Professional is a new platform on Le Bazhaar where I will be featuring young succesful women who are thriving in their field of expertise. Their professional but also personal journey is a true inspirition that I would like to share with you. For the first post, meet Salimatou Diallo lawyer and mother of three, who leads her own law firm in Guinea, West Africa.
Name: Salimatou Diallo
Current residence: Conakry
Day to day Uniform (what you usually wear for work): I like to mix African and Western clothes like a Wax skirt with a white T-shirt or a Wax top with a black trouser. What is really important for me is the quality of the cut.
1) Tell us about your background (studies and professional) and current position
I went to law school at the University of Paris I (la Sorbonne) in Paris and then spent one year at American University in Washington DC (USA) for a master degree in international law.
I am admitted to the New York, Paris and Conakry Bars.
I have worked as a lawyer in international law firms in Paris before setting up my own practice in Conakry in December 2013. I now run a law firm dedicated to foreign investments in Guinea, focussing on energy and infrastructure matters.
2) What are the greatest challenges you have been facing in your career?
The transition from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur and a manager was one of the most challenging period of my professional life.
3) Being a mother of three, how do you balance your personal and professional life?
Life in Western countries is definitely challenging for working mums and I had my first two children while working in Paris. I believe that the life in Africa greatly helps in terms of achieving a better private/professional life balance. I truly enjoy being able to pick up my children at school and to have lunch with them several times a week.
4) As a young successful lawyer with a promising career, you chose to leave France to settle down and start your own practice in Guinea, do you think that’s a recurrent phenomenon nowadays? What made you think it was the best decision for you and your family?
My husband and I felt like something was missing in our Parisian life although we had it all. We wanted more than the traditional daily routine of commuting and work (« métro, boulot, dodo »). After returning from holidays in Senegal, we realised that we really wanted to move back to Africa.
It is a recurrent phenomenon and I strongly believe that it will grow more and more. Many of our friends in France have either already made that decision or are seriously thinking of it.
I am convinced that it was the best decision for me and my family as we have “the best of both worlds”: living in Guinea on a day-to-day basis while at the same time being able to return to Europe or travel elsewhere as often as we want!
5) How do you manage the work environment in Africa?
I have to say that I’ve been extremely lucky as I have received great support from friends and family.
The most difficult thing to deal with is the logistic! There is always something that does not work: the internet, power supply, phone network, etc.
6) What are the 3 qualities to succeed in your business?
Perseverance, hard work and optimism!
7) 10 years from now, where do you see yourselves?
I hope to be able to establish with some of my colleagues from neighbouring countries a successful and independent pan African law firm.
8) Any advice for the readers who would like to follow a similar professional path?
It will never be the good time to jump ahead and you will never feel that you are ready: at some point you just have to take a chance.
For more information visit S.D Avocats website