100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry
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Francoise COLPRON

National Director, North America • Valeo • Age 40
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Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I arrived more by coincidence. In life it happens that way. As a lawyer, you're more interested in the quality of work than in the industry.

First automotive job: I started with Valeo in 1998 as legal director of the climate control branch.

Proudest professional achievement: For now in this role, it is putting together an outstanding team — my lawyers, human resources, sales, finance. With this team we have weathered the storm and ended up in a healthy position at the end. We have been through difficult times for our clients, particularly with customers who were in bankruptcy.

What is very important for me is that the relationship with me was strengthened. We managed not only to preserve the relationship, but today we have strengthened the relationship.

Current challenge at work: The current challenge is to fully capitalize on the growth opportunities. It's one thing to weather the storm, but we really need to take full advantage of the growth. Our teams are so lean that we need to be sure we have the right talent for the right assignments.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? It's a tough, cyclical industry, and there's also a little bit of a perception that it's a boys' club. But the perception is worse than what you actually see on the inside.

What you do to relax: I play with my 4-year-old girl, Clara, and I love to read French literature.

— Bradford Wernle

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