Episode #3 with Chris Kramme Head of EMEA Corporate Network at BNP Paribas

Episode three of With a Mentor is with a unique business person who provides us with 43 mins of unique insight that has already lead to innovation in my company. Chris Kramme is the Head of EMEA Corporate Network at BNP Paribas and the Vice President of the AmCham Executive Board.


In this episode, I open with a summary of the Global Pitch Competition hosted in February by NextGen in partnership with SelectUSA and sponsored by United Airlines and DLA Piper. Forbes Magazine covered the event so check out the article for a recap and you can visit the AmCham Facebook page for some beautiful pictures from the event.

Global Pitch - NextGen

Tatiana Jama CEO of Selectionnist presenting her company’s plans to expand globally in front of a panel of five judges (left to right; Olivier Attia – Spark Labs, Corinne Colloc’h – Airbus Group, Reginald Miller – U.S. Embassy, Emmanuel El Medioni – DLA Piper and Christopher Kramme – BNP Paribas.


In this episode:

  • We discuss how Chris found himself working as an American in Paris for BNP Paribas.
  • Chris talks about doing business in a global market and the “under the surface” values that drive local business.
  • I ask Chris about how he makes sure he is ready to do business across the globe, understanding the local culture and more.
  • We look at the challenges in the global banking sector and how BNP Paribas is innovating to keep up with the digital revolution.
  • We talk about investments; who better than with a banker but we don’t look at financial investments but personal investments in his growth and career advancement.
  • Chris does a very good job of outlining the value of taking business and personal risk to continually grow and expand your abilities.
  • Chris talks about why startups interest him and why “in a heart beat”, if the opportunity presented itself he would join a startup project.
  • It’s only a 2 minute part of the mentorship session but Chris talks about how a BNPP employee left to create a company and finally came back to the bank and how this business adventure made her more valuable in the company because of her experience.
  • We discuss Chris’ management style which I experienced first hand in the development of NextGen.
  • Chris breaks down his management style, “the inverted pyramid” making sure his team has what it needs to succeed not the other way around – “we don’t have any non-working managers”.
  • I ask Chris about talent acquisition and retention – he explains how this is compounded in his case because of the 50 nationalities on his team.
  • We discuss how Chris keeps talent on his team by not focusing on money but on helping and allowing his team to grow in their jobs or as he says “moving away from very formalized org charts and more towards a project mode.”
  • I ask Chris about how he stays productive traveling 4 days a week and he outlines the four things he focuses on to stay healthy, happy and focused.
  • “How do you develop mentors?” I ask Chris if he’ll be my mentor. Not really because he has already been a mentor of mine the last year and a half. We do discuss how a young person like me can develop relationships with mentors like him.
  • Chris has been the biggest booster of NextGen and Chris and I discuss the future of NextGen as it grows and why he wanted to start NextGen.
  • Chis outlines the genius of NextGen and how he, Clara Gaymard and the AmCham executive committee outlined their vision for NextGen.
  • We discuss NextGen in 3 years, it’s ambitious, exciting and in progress.
  • Chris gives us homework:
    • “Read often and read different things”
    • “Reach out to people and grow your network”
You can learn more about Chris at on the AmCham website and you can contact me – Jason McDonald – at @JMcDonaldIntl or via my company’s website at StringCan.fr. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you don’t miss a mentorship session.

Special thanks to Benoît Baillet my NextGen co-chair who helped set up this mentorship session, he let us use his office to record and has been an amazing partner though out the launch of NextGen! As I say in the podcast, Ben is the “intrapreneur” I am the entrepreneur and we really have an amazing working relationship we hope to replicate within NextGen over and over again.
Also, thank you to Giulia Buttini at AmCham for her organization of the interviews and support of NextGen.