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Michelle Scott, controller at Safran Test Cells

Human resources

Michelle Scott, controller at Safran Test Cells (New Brighton, Minnesota)

3D loom : carbon fiber

How long have you been working at Safran?

I worked for Safran for 10 years. Then I left for a few years, and now I have been back for three years.

How would you describe your role?

As the Controller at Safran Test Cells, I oversee daily accounting functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and financial reporting. I also support the strategic decision process with budgeting and analysis.

What are you passionate about?

I really look forward to the days when I am working on a project to find faster or simpler ways to accomplish a task. This might be a project to modify a process so it takes less time or is more accurate, or it could be finding a way to get better data to our internal customers so that they can make better decisions.    

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenges have always been things that are new to me and things outside of my comfort zone. I find that I just have to push past the doubt of the unknown, start with one thing and stay focused. Usually after I get past the first step, it turns out to be not as difficult as I thought. 

Why do you think it is important to celebrate Women's Day/Women's History Month?

The fact is that we still live in a world where there are gender inequities. I think that it is important to highlight that these gaps do exist and that we all can play a part to combat them. Women's Day/Women's History Month is a great opportunity to think critically about these issues and if our own bias or systemic bias in our organization and community could be contributing to the problem. 

Another thing that I appreciate about this month is all of the great stories that circulate showing strong and brilliant women. Especially women in leadership positions and in male-dominated industries. For me personally, I did not see many women in leadership roles growing up. Over the years though, I have had the opportunity to know several great female role models. I can attest to the confidence it has given me to see someone who looks like me in those positions.

Have you been inspired by any women in your life? Please name them and briefly describe how they have impacted you.

I have had the opportunity to work for several great female managers. Renee Griep is the one that I worked for the longest and had the most impact on me. A month after she started on our team, the CFO left, and she stepped up to fill the gap. She has demonstrated her leadership skills by sharing her thoughts, articulating a point of view, and not being afraid of a challenge. She showed that it is possible to work hard and do a good job while still allowing time for your personal life. Having a great role model like this has helped inspire me on my career goals.

Does working for a company such as Safran, which is a truly international organization, make your job more interesting?

Absolutely, it makes my job more interesting. For my role, it adds a level of complexity to understand accounting and tax rules in other countries, but this also challenges me to get out of my comfort zone and be more flexible. It also has given me the opportunity to work with and make connections with people in many countries. I appreciate the diversity of work and diversity of people I work with.