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.
Why a career in tech?
I find the world of Tech fascinating because it is source of innovation in various fields and constantly evolving to meet future societal and environmental challenges. I particularly enjoy working in semiconductors because it means working at the forefront of science and technology and paving the way for high-growth technologies of the future.
Your professional experience?
After my Master degree in Materials Science and Engineering, I spent most of my professional career in the microelectronic / semiconductor industry. I had the opportunity to work in tech companies of different sizes, from start-up, medium companies to large international groups. I also had the chance to work in various functions starting as an R&D engineer and then progressing to project management, team management, technical direction and now in the management of innovation. I like to say of my professional career that it is an adventure, regularly facing new and exciting challenges.
Your first experience with technology?
My first professional experience started in a lab at the University of Ann Arbor in the Michigan. I was an R&D engineer and I made thin film transistors on plastic substrate. It was also the beginning of my career in the semiconductor industry.
What do you do today, and why?
Today I am in charge of innovation within the X-FAB group (an international company) which manufactures electronic chips. The activity of the department I lead includes funding of innovation, the development of R&D partnerships and the management of intellectual property. I am really passionate about my job, especially since innovation is at the heart of the company's activity. The products developed contain always more intelligence and are of extreme technical complexity. The activity therefore generates many projects.
Your strengths in this role?
I have good interpersonal skills and a collaborative spirit, two qualities necessary for this position. In fact, I have many interactions of multiple nature with different parties from the technical R&D teams, various departments (Marketing, HR, Finance, etc.) but also with industrial and academic partners and finally with national and European authorities. My multitasking skills that I gained from my previous experiences in start-up are also essential for this job. Finally, my determination and my sense of leadership help me in strategic activities.
Past challenges, failures and disappointments?
I have encountered quite a few challenges and barriers both personal and professional that have impacted my career, but ultimately these challenges made me stronger. Thus, my status as a woman in a very masculine environment has sometimes put me to a severe test, mainly with certain male managers who find it difficult to accept the accession of women to positions of responsibility. This implies that unfortunately still today, women are forced to challenge themselves to prove that they are capable of success.
Best moments, successes you’re proud of?
I have had a lot of good times in my professional life. If I had to name one, it would be in one of the start-ups. We, together with the R&D team, manufactured the first functional polychrome organic solar cell, a world record! The team had worked very hard and closely with several research labs to get there. We were all very pride of this achievement.
People who helped, influenced -or made your life difficult?
Many people influenced and helped me in my career. It is mainly leaders and entrepreneurs with strength of character who have shown me that anything is possible when you have the will and the means. I seek my inspiration in other women in tech whom I had the opportunity to meet in my career. Those are women who take actions to make things happen and achieve their ambitions. I'm thinking for example at Corinne Versini (GenesInk), Catherine Ramsdale (PragmatIC), Myriam Fournier Kacimi (Sungy) ...
Your hopes and future challenges?
I love challenges. I am lucky because I am in a growing industry where there is so much to do. I want to keep supporting X-FAB in its success. Then, maybe one day why not start my own business?
What do you do when you don’t work?
Apart from my busy job, I like simple things: mainly spending quality time with my husband and my two children, my friends, playing sports and traveling.
Your heroes -from History or fiction?
M in James Bond
A saying or proverb you like in particular?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
A book to take with you on a desert island?
Ravage from Barjavel. I really enjoyed this book that I already read a long time ago.
A message to young female professionals?
Dare to work in the Tech! I encourage you, it is exciting. Women of all ages have their place here. It's still a predominantly male world today, but things are moving. Let's act together to accelerate change!