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Women and workplace equality: Safran employees tell their stories

Corporate

March is Women's History Month, highlighting the contributions of women in our contemporary society. It includes today’s celebration of International Women’s Day, which places the focus on a more gender-equal world.

Women's History Month

These initiatives are fully aligned with Safran’s ambition to elevate and advance gender parity in technology and to celebrate the women who are forging innovation. Throughout the month of March, women from Safran’s sites in the United States are telling their stories through a series of questions and answers.

 

Katherine Opie, SPHR
Manager, Talent Acquisition
Safran Cabin

  • What is your motto or personal mantra

“You can choose courage our you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” – Brene Brown

  • Who or what is your biggest inspiration and why?  

Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, researchers and Ted Talk givers of all time!  Her work on the power of vulnerability and owning your story have been a huge inspiration to me.

  • How do you empower your fellow female colleagues and other women in your world? 

Shared communities and stories empower women.  It’s important that we remember not just to share our stories of success but also of our struggle, which is often invisible once a goal has been achieved. 

 

Elena Bergrud
Program Manager
Safran Aerosystems Evacuation

  • What do you enjoy the most about working at Safran?

The relationships built with my co-workers over the years are definitely what I value the most about working at Safran. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot from many valuable people there since I started as an Industrial Engineering intern over 12 years ago, until today, in my current position as a Program Manager. What I’ve learned and experienced in my years as a Safran employee have molded a great deal of the person I am today in both professional and personal aspects of my life.

  • How do you tackle workplace challenges?

It is important to stay positive and to be able to adapt to the never ending changing environment we live in. Ideally, our workplace will always be evolving to improve and create more efficient processes for our business to keep up with customers’ expectations and with the competition, so if you continue learning, growing, evolving and acquiring more experience and skills, changes will be less challenging.

It is also very useful to pay attention to the relationships we can foster with other team members and also external partners (suppliers/customers) so little by little, you are able to build a strong network. There will be many challenges that you won’t be able to overcome alone, so recognizing how and when to reach out for help is key.

 

Elisabeth Palacio
Financial Director 
Safran Landing Systems

  • Have you been mentored by other women or have you mentored other women during your career?

I have mentored the women on my team here in the United States and my teams in France and Singapore as well. I believe I have inspired them through my hard work all these years at Safran to keep following their career goals and dreams. I have been tenacious, brave and pivotal in so many crucial decisions of the business as a whole and I try to show these women that they can be too. I continue to encourage them to adopt a mentality of a woman who does not compare herself to someone else, but instead lifts other women up. I believe that is what makes you a beautiful individual. In the workplace, lifting each other up is important and leads to a more harmonious work culture.

  • What would you say to younger women hoping to join Safran?  

I would advise them to always know their worth and to never jeopardize that for anyone or anything. This society tends to tell you that you cannot do something but you can , it just requires hard work, determination and strong will. I would advise them to keep pushing boundaries, not to be afraid to suggest something in the workplace when it comes to making a process more efficient or more ethical. These women are spearheading their careers and are a fresh pair of eyes in the company which can allow them to make solid suggestions to the business. To these women, I tell them to stand tall and be proud of who they are, cherish their differences and unique traits and abilities and use them to their advantage in both their professional and personal lives.

 

Kranti Shalia
Senior Systems Engineer
Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics

  • Who or what is your biggest inspiration and why?

My parents have been my biggest inspiration. Both are successful professionals who have taught me the value of hard work and tenacity. Through their example, I have learned that encouragement and support from a loving family can propel you to great heights.  Also, my mentor Ikeda Sensei inspires me to continually seek to improve and evolve through diligent efforts and a never-give-up attitude!

  • What would you say to younger women hoping to join Safran?

It’s a great bunch of people here! You will have amazing opportunities to contribute and learn from some of the best in the industry.

 

Kimberly Aquino
Sales & Marketing
Safran Power Units

  • What do you enjoy the most about working at Safran?

I love meeting the customers and hearing about their experience with the Safran product.  The customers I meet are experiencing a Safran business jet auxiliary power unit (APU) for the first time and are very excited to meet me as a representative of Safran Power Units, and to share how happy they are with the APU.  I also love learning from the customers to better understand how the business jet market works and bringing that information back home to our team.  

  • Have you been mentored by other women or have you mentored other women during your career?

I think because of the makeup of this industry, most of my mentors have been men, however I have worked with many women throughout my career and where it made sense, encouraged women to share their successes.  I once had a leader that said “Don’t wait for others to recognize you, brag about your successes and allow yourself to be excited about them.” That stuck with me and I’ve tried to pass that a long to other women. 

 

Shawni Girman
Customer Services Manager 
Safran Electrical & Power

  • How do you tackle workplace challenges?

Remain positive, be a good listener, work the problem using Continuous Improvement (CI) tools, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Remember to keep on smiling, for this too shall pass.

  • Have you been mentored by other women or have you mentored other women during your career?

Although not directly, I consider Tiffany Hassel, our previous Controller and Business Development Manager, as my mentor and role model. She provided challenges allowing me opportunities for personal growth and building my self-confidence. Tiffany led by example by being strong, confident and process-driven, which I admire and strive to emulate.

 

Kendra Frangos
Materials Manager
Safran Aerospace Composites

  • How do you tackle workplace challenges?

To be successful, clear communication is absolutely imperative.  The supply chain world has been crazy lately, with many out-of-the-ordinary challenges every day. I ask for help if necessary and listen to other’s perspectives/ideas. I feel this is very important, and can aid you to think and work outside of the “how we have always done it” mindset. I believe this will result in finding the best ultimate solution to any challenge.”

  • How do you empower your fellow female colleagues and other women in your world?

I try to encourage them to grow by offering opportunities when available, and sharing my experiences –both good and bad. I like to think that they can learn from what I have lived. I also find something positive in any situation. I hope this rubs off on my colleagues, it helps keep you in a good mindset even in hard situations.

 

Carolyn Cox
Engineer
Safran Aerosystems Services

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

I think we need to celebrate the vast improvements in the work environment.   Starting out as a female engineer in the early 1990s, my experiences were quite different than they are today.

  • Have you been mentored by other women, or have you mentored others during your career?

In my previous role, a co-worker supported me during a difficult time.  I had re-entered the workforce after staying home to raise my children. This gap had affected my confidence.  She and I worked closely together on multiple projects.  I conducted time studies and created tools to help her schedule the plant.  She was very excited with my work.  This positive feedback built my confidence and gave me the courage to do more.

 

Jamie Recaido
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Safran Cabin

  • What do you enjoy the most about working at Safran?

Quite simply, I enjoy the diversity of Safran and being part of a global community.

  • How do you tackle workplace challenges?

I tackle challenges by using the SBAR technique. SBAR is an acronym for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation. It is a concise, effective tool to tackle challenges because it will identify and communicate critical information and take action without delay, either on my own or with my team.  I learned the SBAR technique during my 10 years in the healthcare industry, where it is popularly used when communicating between and within care teams. It can be used during shift changes, handoff communications, and critical events that need immediate decisions. The SBAR is similar to an elevator speech – quick, informed, and organized.

 

Josette Morlas, ESQ.
Senior Vice President - Business Affairs and General Counsel
Safran Passenger Innovations

  • Who or what is your biggest inspiration and why?

My grandmother was my biggest inspiration.  She was smart, driven, and successful.  Despite being at the top of her class in school, she never had the opportunity to go on to college because her brothers’ education and career goals came first in her family.  She didn’t let this stop her though.  She went on to become the first female vice president of a bank in the state of Ohio at a time when women executives unheard of.

  • How do you empower your fellow female colleagues and other women in your world?

I do my best to assure women that their gender is not an obstacle to success in this company, and provide whatever advice and assistance I can.  I’m in a position where I can bring issues and concerns to our leadership team and will not hesitate to do so.  We are fortunate to work for a company that understands we all have families and lives, and which genuinely supports both our professional and personal interests.

 

Janelle Bronaugh
Health, Safety, Environment Director
Safran Electrical & Power

  • How do you empower your fellow female colleagues and other women in your world?

I am part of an outreach program with my church called IGNITE. It is a young women’s mentoring program that I have been involved with for years, where we teach underprivileged young women, ages 7 to 18, the fundamentals of life – ranging from education and tutoring, forgiveness and healing, savings and money management, etc. This is extremely important to me because in certain walks of life, many people are not exposed to this type of teaching and need the help of others. I also empower my co-workers through encouraging words and positive affirmations. I have experienced, and sometimes still experience, being the only woman – or one of the few women – in a male-dominated room.  It doesn’t intimidate me, but rather motivates me even more to succeed and to break barriers.

  • What would you say to younger women hoping to join Safran?

I would tell them to find their passion and pursue it without any regrets! Also, be confident and comfortable with having success. Join up with someone who is where you want to be, and learn from them. Take a chance and don’t let upsets bring you down. There were times in which I tried and failed, but it was getting back up, dusting off, and trying again that made me stronger. All of your goals are within arm’s reach, but you need a plan! “If you fail to plan, plan to fail!”

 

Edita Torres-Salcepuedes
Director of Engineering – Head of Design Authority
Safran Cabin Water & Waste Systems

  • What advice would you give to aspiring female engineers?

Stay focused, don’t hesitate to give ideas and solutions. Stay humble and don’t give up if you encounter naysayers along the way. Share your knowledge and you’ll realize you’ll gain more. Listen and learn from mistakes. If it seems too late, then at least learn from your own mistake rather than ignore the situation and never learn at all. Most of all, love your family, as they are your best cheerleaders to inspire you to go to work every day.

  • How do you tackle workplace challenges?

I set my mind that challenges can only make me better. I ask myself: What can I learn from them? Whether the challenges are on products or people, they strengthen my knowledge or my character. I handle them day to day, so they don’t overwhelm me.

 

Karen Bice
Director, Antenna Programs and Special Projects
Safran Data Systems, Inc

  • Have you been mentored by other women during your career?

Two women mentored me in my career – both were military leaders that came before me, and there are two things that I remember the most. First, I could watch them from afar to see how they handled themselves in difficult situations and learn from their actions. Second, they took time to talk to me and explain some of the unique challenges they faced, and it made me understand that we are not alone in what we experience.

  • What do you enjoy the most about working at Safran?

I love working in a fast paced, challenging environment with a smart, innovative, and motivated team.  I rarely know where the workday will lead me, but it’s never boring!

Katherine Opie
Katherine Opie
Katherine Opie
© Safran
Elena Bergrud
Elena Bergrud
Elena Bergrud
© Safran
Elisabeth Palacio
Elisabeth Palacio
Elisabeth Palacio
© Safran
Kranti Shalia
Kranti Shalia
Kranti Shalia
© Safran
Kimberly Aquino
Kimberly Aquino
Kimberly Aquino
© Safran
Shawni Girman
Shawni Girman
Shawni Girman
© Safran
Kendra Frangos
Kendra Frangos
Kendra Frangos
© Safran
Carolyn Cox
Carolyn Cox
Carolyn Cox
© Safran
Jamie Recaido
Jamie Recaido
Jamie Recaido
© Safran
Josette Morlas
Josette Morlas
Josette Morlas
© Safran
Janelle Bronaugh
Janelle Bronaugh
Janelle Bronaugh
© Safran
Edita Torres-Salcepuedes
Edita Torres-Salcepuedes
Edita Torres-Salcepuedes
© Safran
Karen Bice
Karen Bice
Karen Bice
© Safran
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