Nathalie Buhnemann

Nathalie Buhnemann

Group Finance Director, AKKA Technologies | Belgium

Willpower and what I know and what I would like to teach to my kids and especially my 15 years old daughter is what my mother repeated me everyday during my childhood : “Nanou (this was my nickname), you must be independent to deserve the life and job you aspire to. You must work hard to get the job you want, overcome any hurdles life may put in your way. In short, you being independent means to make your own choices - that’s how you become the person you want to become and choose the kind of life you want to live.”

This was even more important for me knowing that my mother dedicated her personal life to support my father’s career without any complain, nor frustration. I do remember that she repeated me this credo nearly every day.

So my mother’s influence shaped the motto I chose to live by: nothing is impossible if you want it hard enough! 

And I strongly do believe this to be true, meaning that if tomorrow I want to become a doctor or a lawyer, I can become a doctor or a lawyer. So this is how I will pass on my mother’s legacy to my children too.

It is much more than a career related statement, but a strong personal belief ingrained in everything I do. I strongly believe that the power of the mind drives our conviction that we can achieve what we have set ourselves to achieve: our every action you are powerful and strong as long as you believe you are. And like all women I have also experienced difficult periods in my life including health issues and coping with heightened sensitivity. 
This held true for my personal life but also my career. Today I am a member of the executive board of the AKKA group. AKKA is a company listed on the French stock exchange but also a family owned company, in which the founders still hold more than 60% of the voting rights. In the company’s 30-year history, there has never been a woman at the board level and even less so on of forty years. It was quite a challenge to change perceptions and the culture and make them understand, that only performance is what matters, not my gender.

We women need to find our own way in a man’s world. You cannot behave like a man because it is not what is expected from a woman and it is not about suppressing our gender identity merely to fit in. We have such fantastic and different skills we can use to succeed. Thanks to our differences and leadership model we add more color to the prevailing male leadership personalities.

I really genuinely thrive on this strong belief and I have a strong desire to play my part in revealing every woman’s belief and make their ambition a reality. I spend quite a lot of my time to help people free their energy to express themselves and find their ways. Diversity is what brings wealth, power and success.

Never be afraid of what is different, but combine those energies to make them powerful.

Career achievements

Enabling growth

• + 200 transactions from 10M€ up to >1b€ sales in France and overseas SPA negotiations
• Structured financing instruments
• Financing engineering
• PMI & legal restructuring

Transformation of the finance department

• Creation of a full finance department from scratch
• Digitalization processes implementation
• Financing and treasury in public and private market above several hundred million Euros and Dollars
• Chapter 11 recovery
• Expert in IFRS consolidated accounts and business plans
• International tax schemes and optimization
• Financial market communication

Developing talents and building high performance teams

• Management of more than 700 people in cross disciplinary functions such as controlling, IT, finance in more than 20 countries