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  • Claire Le Compagnon

CQ with Leaders, #1 Patrick Daniels Co-founder of Aerth

I have this idea of interviewing leaders from various backgrounds on their experience of Cultural Intelligence. My good friend Patrick Daniels has agreed to be #1 in that series.

Patrick Daniels co founder of Aerth

Patrick is the co-founder of Aerth ( and we had the opportunity to work together at Reebok. I was always impressed to see how fast , and natural it was for him to blend in the French culture on a daily basis at Reebok. But then switch to the great oral speaker he can be with the right tone, the opening joke on stage in front of a large audience. We were peers at that time, and what was a stress and a conscious effort for me, was just smooth and completely seamless for him.

Aerth Men's Collection 2021

I asked him a couple questions on his experience of cultural intelligence in the workplace.

Can you briefly tell us about you?

I have both French and American citizenships, studied business in France and then completed an MBA in the US. All my career has been in the sports and fashion industry with quite a few years at Levi Strauss, Reebok or Esprit. I’ve held positions in Product, Sales (Retail and Wholesale), and General Management with teams up to 700 people. I decided to create my own sports brand (Aerth) about 18 months ago and have been full time on the project for over a year. It’s an incredible adventure. But my preferred role in life in still by far being a father! I live close to Paris and love coming to the US for my holidays

What are your 3 main differences when it comes to leading a team in a French culture versus an American one?

- I put less emotion when dealing with an American team

- I get to the point a bit faster with Americans

- I’m a bit more conceptual when dealing with the French

- My approach to feed-back is different as well; with Americans I always start with what’s going well. It’s less the case in France

A practical advice for an American leader landing in France to lead a team or a company?

I recommend to do a bit of homework upfront of course and perhaps follow a course such as yours Claire. The time saved can be significant!

Practically, I would recommend to use a bit more the right brain and occasionally speak from the heart. Sometimes we Americans can come across as very rational, direct, and even perhaps formal. Behind the “easy-goingness” of Americans there is more often a “heavier” corporate approach to situations. Perhaps more standardized as well. The French have a bit more elasticity in their thinking process, they like to debate, can be conceptual, and a bit more informal (not always).

How has your personal background ( Dad US/Mom French) helped you navigate across both cultures in the workplace?

I guess the first and most obvious is that personal contacts and trust is favored by the ability to go back and forth in both languages without thinking. I sound (quite) American for Americans and French for the French. So relationships are more spontaneous. For the rest, being bi-cultural by birth perhaps allows me to “navigate” with no effort. It just a switch button on-off when addressing teams from both countries.

One epic failure on your side?

Clearly believing that my American culture was close to the German one. For some strange reason I assimilated the German way of doing things with the American way. It is not the case!

If you could pick the best of both cultures, what would it be?

It’s very personal and different people will have different answers. I like the conceptual approach of the French AND the bullet point culture of the Americans.

Do you think Aerth can represent both of your cultures associating both Elegance and Performance?

Yes certainly. Aerth’s Tailored Performance positioning is influenced by the traditional French refined taste in fashion, but also by the incredibly influential American sports brands.

Thank you Patrick Daniels for sharing your experience. If you'd like to see more of Aerth beautiful collection, click on the logo below to access their website. They deliver in the US and all across Europe

If you would like to share your own story and experience, please reach out to me directly at

If you want to learn more about how I can help you or your teams, you can browse the website or contact me directly

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