Mong-Trang Sarrazin

Inspirational Woman: Mong-Trang Sarrazin | Chief Financial Officer, Unmind

Meet Mong-Trang Sarrazin, Chief Financial Officer at Unmind

Mong-Trang Sarrazin

Mong-Trang has over 18 years of experience in finance, with a strong focus on tech companies and scale-up of businesses, and a very much entrepreneurial mindset. She graduated from ESCP and holds the French CPA (DESCF). Mong-Trang started her career as an auditor at Deloitte in Paris and London. She was recently the Group CFO of Doctolib, a Saas booking platform for doctors and medical workers, where she helped grow the business through internal and external growth, towards a "Unicorn" size.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role

I began my career in finance – at Deloitte’s TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) sector – 18 years ago. I immediately fell in love with the tech environment, particularly its fast pace and the people I worked with. Having spent eight years working at Deloitte, in both Paris and London, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of a fintech company, Ullink, who was looking for his first CFO. During my four years at Ullink, I helped scale up the company from 200 to 700 people across 10 countries – quite an achievement given this was my first experience as a CFO in a tech company.

However, I then took a nine-month break to have my first child. I was working very hard and I needed to take time off to focus on my family and myself. After this, a new opportunity in tech quickly came my way, and I was appointed CFO at Doctolib – a healthcare tech company. When I joined, there were 100 people in the company and after five years we managed to scale the business to 1,500 people – incredible growth to see in such a short space of time. I quickly realised that I have a natural passion for helping mission-led businesses grow, which is what drew me to join Unmind. It’s a tech company with a strong mission and vision: to empower employees to proactively measure, understand and improve their mental wellbeing.

My appointment as Unmind’s first CFO comes right after an 18-month break I took to focus on my family again, and to have my third child. It’s the balance of working hard, taking a break, then working again that helps me stay motivated and passionate, especially at times when things become quite intense.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have never truly sat down to question myself or my career choices, so in that sense I have never mapped out my career path in advance. However, I have always been very ambitious and I care deeply about my career – forever contemplating what my next role could be. I have also been quite fortunate to have met the right people at the right time, who have inspired me to make the next right move.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way, and how did you overcome these?

Being a woman at the crossroads between tech and finance has been challenging for me. It’s not uncommon to be the only woman in a meeting with 20 other people. For some, this could present an obstacle, but for others it can inspire you to build self-confidence, which is an extremely important ingredient in the success of any woman.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I am very proud that I have contributed to the establishment of one of the first successful unicorn companies in France – a country with only 25 of them to date. Three years after its inception, Doctolib was already number six on the list, a major achievement and something I’m incredibly privileged to have played a role in.

What’s one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

It has definitely been a mixture of factors. Perseverance and hard work are fundamental, but so is the opportunity to work with talented people, side by side towards a common goal in a positive and effective way.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

I believe anyone who wants to succeed in the tech sector should be flexible to changes, as the environment is quite fast-paced. The ability to adapt quickly to the organisation, to challenges, and to strategy changes is key.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, and if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The tech world has fortunately evolved, as more and more women opt for careers in the sector. Yet, there are still obstacles that need to be overcome. Organisations such as Women in Tech – that promote successful women in the field – show others that it is possible to succeed in this industry. I’m also convinced that such initiatives should be led jointly with men who can illustrate their own experiences working effectively with women.

It is common for women to create their own barriers, and that is where building up self-confidence comes along. Sometimes women don’t dare to come out and overtly state ‘I want to be a board member’, for example. Therefore, we need to show women that it is possible to achieve more, to promote women who have already broken down these barriers – so that they could become leaders themselves – inspiring the next generation to come.

What do you think companies can do to support the progress of women working in technology?

First, companies should fully understand their employees and their ambitions. Without this, they can’t properly support them in reaching their goals. Since we all need role models in our careers, businesses should offer mentoring for women, as well as regular check-ins to ensure progress has been made.

As someone with experience both in finance and tech, I’d say the tech world has advanced a lot more. Finance is a bit more old-fashioned, but I’ve definitely seen some progress there as well.

There are currently only 21 percent of women working in tech. If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

As mentioned before, self-confidence is a key attribute for any woman who wants to excel in a career in tech. So, if I had a magic wand, I would give women the self-confidence needed to believe in themselves, their abilities and their ambition.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Well, I am French so I have many French resources in mind. I would highly recommend a book by Cordelia Flourens, called Affirmées, libérées – Le manifeste pratique de celles qui veulent croire en elles, which is not yet translated in English but the publisher is working on it, I believe. It tells the stories of different women and challenges the readers to break barriers, fight bias and gain confidence to achieve success. Ultimately, it’s about female empowerment.

I would also highly recommend going to many networking events. I, myself, am part of an organisation, femmeCAPITAL, that offers women networking opportunities and invites special guests to give talks at their events.

Overall, I am happy to see there’s been progress for women in tech in the last few years. I am also grateful to be part of this progress, and I hope I can inspire other women to achieve success.