Samira Djouadi, the fairy godmother of diversity


The Managing Director of the Tf1 Foundation brings a smile back to faces gnawed by despair, in France where inequalities still persist in the job market.

Samira Djouadi really does have her heart in the right place. This brave lady “likes to help people to achieve their potential”, as she so aptly puts it. She puts her talent and drive to good use. The Managing Director of the TF1 Foundation holds the hands of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods as they strive to find a job. Offering them a springboard into the audiovisual professions is her fervent passion: “My aim is to provide something on a human level, in particular, to help them with employment issues. I’m convinced that by solving the employment problem, society will be better off”.

She talks about it with a captivating and intoxicating faith. Samira Djouadi herself knows the price of effort. All the more so as she has climbed the ladder by sheer force of will. What’s more, her long years of athletics and her life in Aubervilliers have given her the courage to break through.

From housing estates to advertising

As a sports teacher in La Courneuve for twelve years, she has in-depth knowledge of urban issues. In 2002, with her husband Rachid Djouadi, they set up “Sport’A vie”. They offer young people from the “Cités” a chance to build themselves up. The association works on their image. It restores their confidence. Through major sporting events, they strengthen their personal development and build real professional projects. Samira Djouadi’s protégés are working on their self-image. In 2002, the youngsters set off for the World Cup in Seoul. In 2010, they were in Brazil. Thanks to these trips, they feel capable of “something”. They are now driven to evolve and “change the world”. TF1 Television is partnering with the project.

“After three or four years, the channel offered me a job in its sales department,” recalls Samira Djouadi. She transferred her skills from the field to entrepreneurship. They told me: “If you can sell your project to Tf1, you’ll be able to sell something else too”. But she hesitated. “After careful consideration, I agreed”.

And so another adventure began for her in 2006. She helped launch Nouvelle Cour. This socially responsible agency is part of the BTS (advanced vocational diploma) in corporate communications at the Lycée Jacques Brel in La Courneuve. At the end of their training, the young graduates sign a moral agreement with the company and work there for two years. Nouvelle Cour enjoys the confidence of the department, the region and companies such as TF1, TBWA, BNP Paribas, Paprec and SNCF.

“A new creativity, a new freshness”

From the Nouvelle Cour, more than twenty candidates have left, bringing their skills to other agencies or advertisers. Especially since, as Samira Djouadi points out, “We train them and the agencies realise how good they are”. She has been involved in major campaigns for brands such as SFR, Bouygues, AXA, the Halde, and even worldwide campaigns for Coca-Cola. Each time, “a new creativity, a new freshness”, she says.

They told me: “If you can sell your project to Tf1, you’ll be able to sell something else too” Photo: Tf1

Alongside these activities, Samira Djouadi suggested to TF1 management that she “think about a real foundation project”. The people in charge approved her proposal and gave her a quarter of her time to do so. Claude Cohen, then Managing Director of TF1 Publicité, supported her at arm’s length. And the TF1 Corporate Foundation was born in 2008.

Always at the service of solidarity

The Foundation supports community or personal projects that are meaningful to the TF1 Group. In this case, “we recruit talented young people who don’t go to school”, notes its director. These are promising nuggets with a strong affinity for the TF1 Group’s businesses, and they promote the professional integration and training of these values, who come from inner-city areas. There are eleven of them in the eighth intake, aged between 18 and 30. In 24 months, they will be professionally moulded within the group. The chain’s civic responsibility is supported by the Ministry for Towns, Youth and Sport and the Val d’Oise Prefecture.

In addition, in 2015, the “Tous en stage” association became active to enable pupils in 3eme not to spend their holidays in “Kebabs”. With more than 150 partner organisations, nearly 5,000 pupils were able to benefit from a work placement. “It’s a week alternating between several companies for a group of 20 pupils. This work placement enables them to discover several companies and professions, as well as mobility”, she says.

At the same time, she has been a member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council since 2015, responsible for social and territorial cohesion and community life. In particular, she was co-rapporteur of the opinion on “Children and young people with disabilities: providing comprehensive support”. She is a member of the Communication, Education, Culture, Sport and Environment Section. She is continuing her second term of office within the institution, until 2026.

Despite her string of prestigious positions, Samira Djouadi remains sober. She collects numerous awards, from France to the United States. And it’s something that touches her sensibilities: “Even though I don’t chase recognition, the awards show me that my work has meaning for society”.

Trained as a sports educator, Samira Djouadi also has a BTS in management and a diploma from the “Management and Diversity Chair” at the prestigious Paris Dauphine University. This forty-something still has plenty of resources to spare… to give. She shares this generosity with her husband, this determination not to keep what she has received. Samira Djouadi remains convinced that “in life, you have to know how to pass on the baton”.

Alain Metodjo

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