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Episode 3 with Karine Rouge | The Human Side of Global Change

How might growing up in rural France, being educated in urban Paris, and working in South Africa shape your thinking about the world?

This week, I kick off my conversation with Karine Rouge, the CEO of Veolia North America Municipal Water where she shares how her multicultural experiences shaped her leadership style and enhanced her commitment to caring about the humans she serves.

Tune in to the next episode to hear how Karine moves beyond KPIs to focus on protection of our water supply through water reuse.

Tune in next Tuesday!
(It’s on all the place you find podcasts –⁠)

#veolia #karinerouge #collaborativetransformation


Show Notes

About the Guest(s):

Karine Rouge is the Chief Executive Officer of Veolia North America’s municipal water services. She started her career as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs before joining Suez, a major player in the water industry. With a background in finance and operations, Karine brings a unique perspective to the water sector. Her global experiences in France, South Africa, and the United States have shaped her thinking around societal change and the importance of human connections.

Episode Summary:

In this episode, host Cecilia Edwards interviews Karine Rouge, the CEO of Veolia North America’s municipal water services. Karine shares her journey from investment banking to the water industry and discusses the transformative power of working in operations. She emphasizes the need for a broader vision and purpose in business, rather than solely focusing on financial performance. Karine also reflects on her global experiences and how they have shaped her thinking around societal change and the importance of empathy and understanding.

Key Takeaways:

  • Karine’s global experiences have taught her the importance of empathy and understanding different perspectives. She believes that by questioning our assumptions and being open to different viewpoints, we can foster more compassionate and authentic relationships.
  • Water is a complex industry with various challenges and opportunities. Karine emphasizes the need for a broader vision and purpose in the water sector, beyond just financial performance. She believes that by addressing social, environmental, and economic aspects, the industry can drive meaningful impact.
  • Karine highlights the importance of human connections in driving transformation. She shares her experiences of leading strategic transformations in the water sector and emphasizes the need for collaboration and transversality to achieve sustainable change.
  • Climate change is increasing the urgency of addressing water issues. Karine discusses the impact of climate change on water infrastructure and the need for investment and innovation to ensure safe and reliable water supply.
  • Karine encourages organizations to look beyond their immediate bottom line and consider their broader impact. By embracing a holistic approach and addressing social, environmental, and economic aspects, businesses can create long-term value and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Notable Quotes:

  • “When you completely move from one pond to another one, you can’t come in with your own set of assumptions, biases, or constructs of your identity. You quickly realize that the pond you interact with is different, and that requires empathy and understanding.” – Karine Rouge
  • “Water is not just a resource, it’s a thousand different things. The water industry requires a broad sense of purpose and a deep understanding of humanity and how we adapt to the places we live in.” – Karine Rouge
  • “If the people in an organization don’t feel safe, understood, and connected, all the focus on financial performance is just superficial. Building authentic relationships and connections is essential for sustainable transformation.” – Karine Rouge


To listen to the full episode and gain more insights from Karine Rouge, tune in to the podcast. Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations and impactful content from The Business of Impact.

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