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A man of many passions: from communications to chocolates, this multitasking entrepreneur embraces the big picture.

In this issue we hear from Charles Znaty, CEO and co-owner of Orion-system, a corporate communication agency, and co-owner and co-founder of Pierre Herme Paris, a high-end pastries and chocolates company, both based in Paris.

What historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Napoleon. I'm taller than he, but I love the fact that a complex is named after him. In the U.S., napoleon is the name of one of my favorite pastries, which was originally called a mille-feuille. When I launched the Pierre Herme pastry and chocolate business in 1997, The New York Times published a piece about it titled "The Pastry Emperor Who Marshals Napoleons."

Which word or phrase do you think is overused right now?

"I hear what you're saying." People just do not listen to each other. We too often follow our own ideas but ignore dialogue.

How would you explain your profession to a child?

Maybe something like "I tell stories that make people feel good and happy." Or "HI make your chocolate dreams come true," which in a way is the same job. Kids often have questions that are way too difficult. I'd probably tell them, "Listen, I love what I do so it doesn't matter. Let's go outside and you can show me what you can do with a skateboard!"

What did you have to learn the hard way?

That I may not have all the solutions all the time and the ones that I do have are not always the right ones. I have learned to take in the whole picture, not just my end of things. I have learned to work in a team and have felt what a true democratic vote can mean.

What do you sing or hum when you're alone?

"Catch Me If You Can" comes to mind first, but my favorite songs are "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and "I Wanna Rock with You" by Michael Jackson, and sometimes "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen. And, of course, a little Edith Piaf.

What talent would you most like to have?

To schmooze like the French actor, author and filmmaker Sacha Guitry. For instance, he said, "The little I know, I owe it to my ignorance."

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

I'd love to be a writer, a music producer or maybe also a lawyer. My profession would have something to do with conveying messages to the world.

What movie character would you like to portray and why?

Even though he's not a character, I'd like to be like Sylvester Stallone, because even when he's angry he's funny. Sacha Guitry in Faisons un reve, or Napoleon. I'd like to have a chance to build Paris differently. Can you imagine such power?

Is there a book that changed your perspective on life?

Far Voyager: The Story of James Cook by Jean Lee Latham, a biography of Captain Cook, which I received at the age of 10. This may explain my passion for traveling--and food. Then, later on I discovered La societe du spectacle by Guy Debord. This book has certainly had a big influence on my understanding of communication. Debord influenced protest movements like the May 1968 general strike in France, but has always run from media exposure. There are barely any pictures of him and certainly no interviews. I'm also never too far from Malt Whisky Companion by Michael Jackson, the greatest expert in that field, and the memoirs of Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, cardinal de Retz, a fascinating French political personage in the 17th century. He wrote only one book, but to me it is one of the greatest achievements in French writing. But if I had to, I could survive on a desert island with Victor Hugo poems.

What's the best reward for a job well done?

A smile from that special someone--like my business partner.

What is your personal motto?

"No music, no life."

what's your personality?

Download and complete our questionnaire at /cw/personality, and you could be featured in a future issue of CW.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Charles Znaty
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Previous Article:Composition: organizing pictures as communication: create visual order out of chaos by carefully structuring your images.
Next Article:The power is in your hands.

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