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Human Resource Professional Day at Safran: spotlighting experts around the U.S.

Human resources

Human Resource Professional Day – observed annually on September 26 – recognizes those working in human resources (HR) departments around the world. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the role and responsibilities of this job, and to share information about what it means to be part of the HR community.

For Human Resource Professional Day 2021, a cross-section of U.S.-based Safran HR experts provide perspectives on their careers through a series of questions and answers: 

CARMEN RODRIGUEZ , HR DIRECTOR - Safran Aerosystems Services Americas

 

Why did you choose a career in HR?

You could say that HR chose me! I actually stumbled into this field – I have a finance  background, but was working on a project with the HR team at a previous company – who then requested that I help with another project….and before you know it, I was in HR full-time! I realized that HR is a fascinating field with exposure to so many different business areas – legal, safety, finance, and, most importantly, all ofthe awesome people you get to work with.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career? 

I have been with Safran for 16.5 years, and I’ve beenblessed with many wonderful mentors – Ibrahim Yousseff, Lou Perdoni, and Celine Sousa to name a few! Not to mention numerous colleagues throughout the organization, both domestically and internationally.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your job? 

Adapting to the ever-evolving field, workforce, and organization. It definitely keeps the job exciting!

JULIA HOIST, HR OPERATIONS DIRECTOR - Safran Cabin

 

Why did you choose a career in HR? 

I really care about people and making sure that they feel comfortable at work. I very much enjoy working closely with people at all levels of the organization.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of your job? 

The job can be very emotionally draining! Having empathy and compassion for all employees are key to being a successful HR professional, but it can be tough to not take some of those big emotions home with you at the end of the day. 
 
What advice can you share with others who are considering a career in HR? 

Pursue it! I think HR can be very rewarding to anyone who enjoys helping others. Many local and online universities offer introductory HR courses and certification programs. This enables someone to further explore a career in HR in a relatively short timeframe. 

RAVEN GLENN, HR GENERALIST - Safran Electronics & Defense, Avionics USA

 

What has been the most rewarding part of your career? 

Assisting candidates joining a new organization in a position that aligns with their career path; as well as helping internal candidates reach their potential with mobility within the organization.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your job? 

Supporting the effort of merging two HR ideologies, from two companies, into one. 

What advice can you share with others who are considering an HR career? 

To be successful in HR, you need to find a delicate balance of supporting the people and supporting the business. Every HR professional has a different way of doing this, so you just have to find the balance that is the most efficient for you.  

KAREN FRANKLIN, HR BUSINESS PARTNER - Safran Electronics & Defense, Avionics USA

 

Why did you choose a career in HR?

HR chose me! I had several opportunities outside of HR –but one day, an HR regional manager for a small recruiting firm offered me a job of a lifetime and I've loved it ever since. I've now been with Safran for seven years. 

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

I'm sure you hear this all of the time, but it is truly the PEOPLE. Our employees are the most rewarding part of the job. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of your job?

In a world where change is constant, HR has the responsibility of helping employees cope with structural and fundamental changes caused by external and internal change. This task never comes easy…or with instructions. It has always been a challenge to ensure that all of our employees are adapting to new policies and taking on new challenges –irrespective of how different it is from their comfort zone.

VALERIE LAMBERT, HR BUSINESS PARTNER - Safran Electronics & Defense, Avionics USA 

 

How long have you been with Safran?

I have been working with Safran for 12 years. I started in 2009 as an intern and I fell in love with the culture, values and technologies of Safran Electronics and Defense. I had the opportunity to meet inspiring managers who gave me the opportunity to take on new responsibilities and to grow in different HR positions – from HR Generalist and Division HR Business Partner to Talent Manager in France and now in the US. 

Why did you choose a career in HR? 

​I am people-oriented. After obtaining my Master’s in Social & Work Psychology, I found out that HR was the best path for me to combine people development and be part of an organization with common goals and challenges. A considerable part of our lifetime is dedicated to work, so I was considering that I could find a way to improve other people’s life experiences by working in HR.  

What has been the most rewarding part of your career? 

​Working in HR means becoming a change maker. You can have an impact on people’s lives and on business strategy, and this combination is the rewarding part. On the one hand, you develop strong connections and relationships with people who you will follow during months – and sometimes years. Promoting personal and professional growth is meaningful for me. On the other hand, your ability to identify talents, develop skills, maintain a good work environment and design efficient organization by finding the best place for each employee, could make you a strategic business partner. As a result, you are able to take a seat at the decision table and contribute to developing the company’s future. 

SHELBY WORKINGER, HR GENERALIST - Optics 1

Why did you choose a career in HR?

​I was pursuing my degree in psychology in hopes of becoming a counselor in a clinical setting. Towards the end of the program, I enrolled in an elective course called “Work and Organizational Psychology” to fulfill my credit requirements. To my surprise, I absolutely loved the class, and then the entire trajectory of my career changed. Up until that point, I had not realized the positive impact psychology could have on the workplace. I saw an ​     opportunity to accomplish my goal of helping people while working in a corporate setting. I proceeded to complete my senior capstone project with a focus on work and organizational psychology. After spending a few years in HR, I knew I had made the right decision. In an effort to further refine my education, I completed my certification with the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management).

What has been the most challenging aspect of your job?

​HR can be challenging when there is not a well-defined course of action to take. Oftentimes, situations arise for which there is no right or wrong answer. Although I sometimes prefer that things were more cut-and-dry, I am often able to fall back on my education and experience to arrive at decisions I feel confident about. When all else fails, I am fortunate to have a team that I can “bounce off” ideas. I also am a strong proponent for joining the local human resource association. It is a great opportunity to connect with other HR professionals who might offer a fresh perspective on a challenge you are facing.   

What advice can you share with others who are considering a career in HR?

Be flexible! No two days in HR are ever the same. Every day I have the opportunity to learn new things and solve complex problems. This is one of the many reasons HR is an exciting and fulfilling career.

JILL BUCKNER, SENIOR MANAGER - Talent Management

Why did you choose a career in HR? 

​Working with people is my passion. Helping employees to get the career, learning, working ​     relationships, and the employee experience they deserve regardless of their level within the company.  

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?  

​Putting talent together, introducing people that can help one another in ways they didn’t think of, becoming the “One Safran” [this refers to Safran’s action that brought all the Group’s companies under a single brand]. 

What advice can you share with others who are considering a career in HR?  

​Every day is a new day. People always have needs. Whether you can directly solve these needs or not is a place where thinking outside the box by the HR team can result in some very successful partnerships and ways of working together to get to a solution. HR can be the “glue” that holds everyone together. 

SUSAN MELTON, HR ANALYST II 

Why did you choose a career in HR?

​At first, I did not actually choose a career in HR because I was not sure I would be a good fit. After the first year in HR, I realized that I was able to relate to our employees and that I enjoyed the challenges and fast pace that each day brings.  And here I am…having been with Safran for seven years.    

​What has been the most challenging aspect of your job?

​The most challenging aspect is time management for daily activities and project management while retaining quality customer service. 

What advice can you share with others who are considering a career in HR?

Make a point to cultivate relationships with your teammates,considering you will spend eight or more hours a day with them. Treat your teammates as a family. It is okay to disagree; you should be willing to compromise, and you must always listen. For me, it also is important to be a reliable resource for your teammates…and to rely on them. Additionally, make sure you have a good support system outside of work along with an effective way to relieve stress.

MADELINE JUNG, TRAINING AND ORGANIZATIONAL SPECIALIST - Safran Electrical & Power

How long have you been with Safran?
I joined Safran in 2015, as HR Manager in Safran Electrical and Power in France. I am now based in Denton, Texas, where I am part of Safran Electrical & Power's Interconnection Systems Americas division.

Why did you choose a career in HR?
I chose HR because I enjoy cooperation and change management, and am convinced that people are essential for a business to succeed. 

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
I had several opportunities to help HR professionals and leaders understand what is expected from them in terms of responsibilities, within Safran, and to help them progress in their role. It is always very rewarding to see their development after spending time to train them, and watch their capacity to embark other people in our Group culture.

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