Emilie Donot: “I've been thriving professionally since I started working in managerial positions.”
An engineer specializing in electromagnetic compatibility, Emilie Donot's secret professional dream was to have a team to manage. This dream has now come true, as she is head of the Systems Department at the Marignane site, near Marseille. She tells us how it came to pass.
- What brought you to Safran Engineering Services?
After earning a master's degree in electronics (with a specialization in microwave technology) from the Pierre and Marie Curie University (Jussieu campus), I joined Safran Engineering Services directly. I was recruited as an EMC engineer – electromagnetic compatibility – on a project for Airbus Helicopters. My job was to integrate the suppliers' electronic equipment into the helicopters. I also checked that the critical equipment remained operational notwithstanding electromagnetic interference or lightning. I had already completed an internship during my studies in the same area of EMC activities and Safran Engineering Services approached me with this opportunity. I relocated and settled near Marseille, in the south of France.
- How has your career evolved within Safran Engineering Services?
I remained in my position until 2013. My expertise is very specific and technical and so I was the right person to carry out that particular assignment with the client. In the meantime, in 2007, I became responsible for the overall qualification and EMC project and up until 2012, I was responsible for coordinating a team of seven to eight people.
- Was taking on managerial responsibilities one of your career goals? A challenge you were interested in taking on?
I have always wanted to be involved in managing beyond just the technical side of things. I used my expertise as a springboard and at a certain point I indicated that I was interested in managing a team. As soon as the opportunity arose, I took it. In 2014, I became head of the Systems Department, overseeing a 35-person engineering team. We monitor the development of helicopter electronic systems: EMC qualification, dependability (RAMS), quality, software and modeling.
- What do you like about your managerial position?
I like getting to know all about the various activities. It gives me credibility. At 40 years old, this position as department head allows me to be fulfilled in my work. I am really interested in the people who make up my team and, although I have sometimes been criticized for it, it is important for me to be true to who I am. Listening often allows you to make the right decisions. We expect a high level of responsiveness, flexibility and results from our teams on a day-to-day basis. We work in high value-added sectors and expertise is not always easy to find and retain. We are implementing long-term measures to maintain our performance. I think you have to know how to get the best out of everyone because, in the end, this is always beneficial for a company.