Catherine Testa is a part of the 100 barbarians, the young people in their thirties who found start-ups that are shaking up the conventional patterns.
Passionate about quantum physics and with a scientific background, Catherine has a master’s degree in sustainable development (environmental science and engineering), a field where she has worked for several years.
“This was back in 2007, at that time, everyone was telling me ‘poor Catherine, one cares about sustainable development!”.
Understanding that it was still early to make an impact at this level, Catherine Testa turned to the digital sector, which is still an emerging theme.
“I always knew that digital era would fundamentally change our society and that people didn’t understand that it was literally a revolution and that it was not only technological but societal”.
She dived into the heart of the digitalisation of companies and our society for several years, assessing the risks and opportunities. For her, digital and sustainable development are linked and everyone would have to think about society.
Living successively in New York, Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona, she became interested in the subject of positive psychology, she considers this to be a lever for action. From there, she made an observation: in France, we tend to see what is wrong. The French grumble and walk away in defeat.
She then began to explore the Optimism theme.
“We blame the society, but we are the society: when faced with the transitions to come, we need optimism to act.”
In 2016, convinced that it was time to give the French people the desire to act, she co-founded with Olivier Toussaint and Monika Jouan: loptimisme.com, the first French website highlighting positive initiatives. It was an immediate success.
Catherine has become the first influencer in France on the subject of Optimism. As a “self-made woman”, she is constantly training with psychologists, psychiatrists and researchers who surround her, and embodies benevolence and curiosity. She is thus supported by a wide audience: from artists to CEOs, from employer employees. For her, everyone is unique, regardless of their profession. Representing the new generation that wants to take action, she is popularly known, both on LinkedIn and on Instagram where she gains more followers on a daily basis.
In 2017, the business world was challenging her. Can we talk about optimism in business? Can we talk about happiness in companies? Can we talk about welfare at work? How can employees feel good in their companies? Rather than answering this question arbitrarily, Catherine and her team suggest that companies that are committed to the subject should discuss it together. They then founded a club of companies: loptimisme.pro.
LOptimisme.pro has become the first think-tank on the subject, bringing together about 250 companies. CEOs, HRDs, Digital Managers, Innovation Managers, CHOs and Managers share their practices and reflect on the future of work in a collaborative manner.
With a societal readership of several thousand, Catherine, who is close to the field, regularly takes the pulse of the society by interviewing her readership to define trends in welfare at work and the feelings of employees.
Every week, more than 1,000 people subscribe to the various newsletters (professional or general public) and several thousand people join the project on social networks.
Proof, if any were needed, that Optimism is a REAL subject, especially in 2021.
“The challenge is no longer to explain that a company will make more money by implementing welfare policies, the challenge is for everyone to understand that it is time to take care of people”.
Her first book, Osez l’Optimisme (Dare to be Optimistic) was published in April 2017. The book became a bestseller, a rare occurrence for a young author. Three years after its release, the book is still in the best-seller list. Since 2017, Catherine Testa has taken on the role of speaker and has already spoken in hundreds of companies with an incredible reception.
In January 2020, her second book, Oser être soi, même au travail (Dare to be yourself, even at work), was published and sold out the day it was released. The enthusiasm for the subject was immediate and she began to evoke the notion of singularity in the workplace.
Since the start of the 2018 academic year, Catherine has been a coach on the Europe 1 programme “La France bouge”, a programme that aims to highlight positive initiatives throughout the country. She regularly appears on the show to share her entrepreneurial perspective with the other coaches, who are the founders of Blablacar, Le Slip Français, 1083 and other committed entrepreneurs.
Today, she is involved throughout France and internationally with Companies, Associations, the Senate and Local authorities on the subject of happiness at work.
In September 2019, the team is launching its “Tour de France de l’Optimisme” to meet citizens. The team has already been invited by many local authorities: Trouville-sur-Mer, the Hauts-de-France Region, Tahiti and its islands, etc…
The rest is yet to be written…