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Mentorship Program Connects Employees From Different Safran Companies


September 6, 2019

Mentee/mentor spotlight:

Ying Huang-Isella
, Chief Engineer for Systems and Control at Safran Passenger Solutions

Karl Poulsen, General Manager at Safran Power Units

Since Safran North America Mentorship Program’s launched in 2017, the initiative has matched over 510 pairs of mentees and mentors.  The program expanded to include Safran Seats, Safran Cabin, Safran Aerosystems, and Safran Passenger Solutions following the acquisition of Zodiac Aerospace. Mentors and mentees are paired from different Safran companies. 

The objective of the mentorship program is to help participants grow professionally, exchange perspectives, ideas and approaches, and receive guidance.  Early-career employees are matched with mid-to-late-career employees. 

Karl Poulsen, General Manager at Safran Power Units in Grand Prairie, Texas, is a mentor to Ying Huang-Isella, Chief Engineer for Systems and Control at Safran Passenger Solutions in Carson, California. Poulsen works with turbine engines while Huang-Isella's business unit is water and waste management. 

While the two are in different fields, the mentorship program has created an opportunity for them to expand their knowledge beyond their specialties and learn more about other Safran companies. "Because Karl is outside of my business unit, our discussions gave me a wonderful window looking into another Safran division and made me think beyond engineering," said Huang-Isella.

After working at Safran for almost 17 years, Poulsen decided to become a mentor to help develop future leaders and employees within the Group.  "It is a method of paying forward to the upcoming generation of leaders and employees Safran will need to be successful," he explained.  While Poulsen is a senior executive with years of experience, he believes that working with a mentee in a different sector has taught him a lot.  "I learn about other aspects of Safran's diverse universe and feel a sense of satisfaction if I can impart some of the lessons I have learned over my long career," he said.    

Ying Huang-Isella joined Safran Passenger Solutions earlier this year.  She found the Mentorship Program to be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Group.  "As a new employee, I was eager to get up to speed on Safran processes.  Having a mentor would help me expedite my learning.  In addition, I hoped a mentor would provide me insights on career development within Safran," stated Huang-Isella.  

Since Poulsen lives in Texas and Huang-Isella works in California, the two hold their monthly meeting via on-line web conferencing, discussing topics such as leadership, organization skills, and emotional intelligence.  Additionally, the two exchange important lessons they've learned and challenges pertaining to their specific job responsibilities.  In August, the two met in person for the first time.  

When Huang-Isella was asked what advice she would give to new mentees, she emphasized the importance of being open minded and explained: "Have an open mind.  If the mentor is outside of your business unit, he/she may not help you directly on the job.  However, with an open mind, you will learn and benefit a lot from your mentor's experience and soft skills accumulated over years of experience."