A woman in industry: a portrait of Coralie at Safran Transmission Systems
To mark International Women's Rights Day, our company pays tribute to the career of Coralie, who is currently an industrial designer at Aero Gearbox International, the joint venture between Safran Transmission Systems and Rolls-Royce. She shares with us her experience as a woman in this industry sector.
Having taken technical qualifications at school, Coralie studied for a BTS in Microtechnique, followed by a degree in mechanical systems design. Although at school Coralie found herself in an essentially male environment – "there were only four of us girls taking the technical qualification, and I was the only one for my BTS" – this fact was of little significance. It was her attraction to industrial 2D design – and later, to 3D design using software such as Catia – which prompted her to focus on a career as an industrial designer.
For eight years, Coralie earned her stripes by carrying out work assignments with a number of aeronautical companies, working as a mechanical draughtswoman. One such placement was at Safran Nacelles where, as an industrial designer, she worked on "plan modifications and specification changes for Embraer nacelles". Her work led her to the United States, where she worked for Dassault Aviation on the design of aircraft interiors.
Nearly ten years of industrial design experience at Safran
On the back of these experiences, Coralie joined Safran in 2012, initially with Safran Aircraft Engines at its Villaroche site, working for the Low-Pressure Turbine Integration Modules department, "I was responsible there for the low-pressure turbine section, the non-rotating part of the LEAP-1A". She then requested a transfer to Gennevilliers site, where she joined the Turbine Blades CIE (Centre of Industrial Excellence). There, Coralie designed impellers and turbine nozzles for the LEAP-1A, LEAP-1B and Silvercrest engines, "I was fully integrated into the R&D (Research & Development) team there, and that's where I filed the largest number of patents, with an average of two patents per year."
Although Coralie admits that "At the start of my career, I was certainly aware that as a woman, people often doubted my ability and I had to prove myself," she points out that "Attitudes in this area have definitely changed since I entered the job market more than fifteen years ago," with today's generation much more sensitive to issues of gender and sexism. And Coralie found that if her legitimacy in the eyes of her (mostly male) colleagues was questioned, it was more often because of her age than her gender. However, most of all, it was the birth of her two daughters in the space of two years that "definitely brought me my biggest challenge as a working woman. I needed to find some sort of stability as a young parent, and most importantly, I had to reconcile this new family life with my everyday professional duties."
Working at Aero Gearbox International to design the power transmissions of the future
In April 2019, Coralie joined Aero Gearbox International as an industrial designer for power transmissions, including for Rolls-Royce's Trent 7000 engine powering the Airbus A330neo, and also in the development of Rolls-Royce's Ultra Fan demonstrator. Coralie had been particularly enthusiastic about this latest move: "I found the same international atmosphere there that I had enjoyed so much during my work assignments, as well as the whole 'start-up' aspect: it has enabled me to be a real agent of change, and to demonstrate my creativity."
Coralie now feels that she is fully able to reconcile her day-to-day life as a mother with her professional life. And she certainly won't be lacking in career options in future: "So that I can continue to grow and seize new opportunities, I'd like to obtain a VAE (‘validation of acquired experience’) engineering degree equivalent, and become more deeply involved in passing on knowledge; for example, through tutoring or project management."
- © Safran