Education: Degree in industrial engineering, Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Paris; DESS degree in elastomers, IFOCA-ESICA, Paris
Family: Husband; daughter, Paola, 5
Production quality manager, responsible for quality developments and systems, at Geffica.
I had five direct employees, and was responsible for two sites, one in France and one in Tunisia. It was already a challenge to be a woman, leading a set of quality systems, in a country where women donít usually have leading management positions. But that was why I took the job.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I initiated a consumer-driven marketing approach, which was really a step forward for Valeo.
When re-evaluating the product portfolio, I saw that 60 percent of the portfolio was directly perceived by the end-user. I decided that we had to better understand what they wanted, by developing consumer clinics, by launching focus groups, by doing analysis on a continent-by-continent basis. We are now capable of saying what end-users expect in Japan, what is expected in the United States, what is expected in China.
This has brought about a real change in our product r&d collaboration and our marketing relations with the carmakers.
Also, I am extremely proud to have built a very diverse and dynamic marketing team. I am proud to have 30 percent women in my team.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
The birth of my daughter.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
When it comes to women in the industry, it is surprising that there is not a higher ratio of women working in the sector as 70 percent of the decisions when purchasing a new car are made by women. To better understand their customers, companies will need to employ more women.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
If a woman is competent, she can find her place. Even maternity leave is not an obstacle. I have lots of women in my team who have had children. The moment someone left on maternity leave, and we knew she would be out three months, we didnít make a big deal of it, we shared the work and we functioned normally. Itís not a drama.What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
I do not believe in establishing quotas that push people toward the automotive industry. I think we have more and more right to express ourselves, to speak out, as women, especially at the European level, where we are a voice that counts, so I think that we can find a place for ourselves in this sort of industry. With more and more women working and driving, there is a real potential for us to contribute in the evolution of the car.
Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
Valeo does a lot to educate and encourage women through participation in student fairs and womenís associations for engineers.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
From the moment that you have children, you need more flexibility. I donít think it is limited just to this industry, or even just to women.
Companies need to create ways of operating that allow women to balance their personal and professional lives. Companies also should judge performance based on results rather than the number of hours worked.
I donít think that working 60 hours a week at the office is the definition of performance. If we want to see more women at the highest levels, we have to move toward new organizational systems.
We are going to have to take into account private lives, be more dynamic, more creative, and more innovative. When we rethink that, there will be a lot more women in high positions. We donít have to make ourselves more masculine to become top executives. But today the system is still oriented toward the male career path, which can be linear.
What do you do to relax?
I like horseback riding, running, water skiing and painting with my daughter.