Académie des technologies

Nathalie FONT

  • Director of the Toulouse site
  • Thales Alenia Space
  • 39 years old
  • Sponsored by Paul FRIEDEL in 2024

Why a career in tech?

During my high school years, I was aiming for law studies, but when it came time to choose, the influence of a Physics Science teacher, who herself was an engineer, was decisive. "If you're not going into science, who will in this class?" This question resonated with me, I was good at scientific subjects, I liked the school framework and I found it reassuring to go into a smaller structure than university through preparatory classes.

Your professional experience?

A science baccalaureate followed by two years in preparatory class at the Prytanée National Militaire (boarding school) before joining Telecom Bretagne (now IMT Atlantique). I chose this school for the course offered in the 3rd year to specialize in satellite telecommunication. The two technical fields that attracted me the most were defense and space.

Your first experience with technology?

My end-of-study internship on the dimensioning of a satellite telecommunications system for the Moon! This internship within a Research and Development team, in a team led by a woman, was my gateway into the space field.

What do you do today, and why?

Today I am the director of the Thales Alenia Space site in Toulouse, with 2800 employees, 92000m² of tertiary and industrial surfaces, 10000m² of clean rooms, it is the largest site of the Space division of the Thales Group. This position had been on my radar for a while, but I wasn't necessarily considering it for right away. Issues of site management, health, safety, security, environment, influence in the local and regional economy attract me because of their diversity and their impacts on the well-being of employees and on the company's business. I chose to apply for this position because I wanted to take action, especially in a post-Covid era, which has distanced us from the company, which has shaken up the codes of the relationship at work, in an era of societal transformation with engaged youth who are sensitive to environmental issues that we must address. It is the young people who will make the future and we need them to develop the technical solutions that will make the world more sustainable, and space is fully part of this.

Your strengths in this role?

Ideas and desires. The desire to have a positive impact, ideas for testing new approaches, innovating and helping to implement necessary changes.

Past challenges, failures and disappointments?

Each job change, some with a blank slate and everything to build, was a challenge but also a great source of energy! A failure, on my first position as a manager, was thinking that everyone on the team would have the same goal, the sense of team spirit, but this is something that is built and is not automatic. A moment of loneliness, when taking on a position of responsibility for the company's digital transformation, a colleague who tells me: "Good luck, it will never work.".

Best moments, successes you’re proud of?

On the technical level, the pride of seeing the upstream projects I used to contribute to continuing today on concrete realizations, to see that capitalization pays off and that the work done is useful for those who have arrived since. On a human level, the best moments are those as a manager where the actions we take or put in place allow teams and individuals to evolve and work in better conditions. The positive feedback received on these occasions are a great manager pride.

People who helped, influenced -or made your life difficult?

From a professional point of view, company managers and leaders, both men and women, have helped me to grow and gain confidence in myself. On a personal level, my mother always showed me that a woman can do anything, this was not even a subject. Some have also made my life difficult, whether it's colleagues or managers with working methods too far from mine and with whom we have not always found common ground.

Your hopes and future challenges?

To turn Thales Alenia Space Toulouse site into a model site in terms of innovation, industry and societal responsibility. Through the actions we take, I also wish to contribute to the creation of scientific vocations among young people and especially young girls, but also for all young people from sectors historically further away from science, priority neighborhoods, rural areas, etc.

What do you do when you don’t work?

When I still had a little time for myself, I enjoyed doing sports, running, Brazilian jujitsu, motorcycling and DIY. Since the arrival of my first child, leisure activities have adapted.

Vos héroïnes (héros) de fiction, ou dans l’histoire ?

None in particular.

Votre devise favorite ?

"They didn't know it was impossible so they did it!"

Un livre à emporter sur une île déserte ?

The Little Prince

Un message ou un conseil aux jeunes femmes ?

Diversity is a strength, this is true in all sectors and Tech is no exception. So dare because you are capable, defend your ideas, carry your proposals and be yourself because you are a wealth for companies.


The questionnaire answered by the Women of Tech is a variant of the Proust questionnaire, named not because Marcel Proust got lost in the Paris metro, but in memory of Emilie du Chatelet, a woman of letters, mathematician and physicist, renowned for her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica and the dissemination of Leibniz's physics work. She was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Bologna Institute. Emilie du Chatelet led a free and fulfilled life during the era of the Enlightenment and published a speech on happiness.

Emilie Du Chatelet

Woman of letters, mathematician and physicist

1706 - 1749