Cécile Shaker, ALTEN Project Manager
While studying for a Master’s in International Project Management, which included work experience at Total and an events agency in the pharmaceutical industry, Cécile also worked for her university’s consulting firm. With a strong combination of marketing and consultancy skills, she joined ALTEN two years ago as a Project Manager for a parts manufacturer in the railway industry. “Being an Industrial Project Manager means acting as the link between the Project Managers, the engineers and the client”, she explains.
Cécile has many responsibilities as she coordinates the construction of trains that will make up an additional fleet to provide more frequent, faster and more comfortable journeys for passengers on the Birmingham-London route.
“I participated in the design of the trains, the definition of the stages of their journey, their construction and testing phase. It is important to be versatile and reactive”.
Targeting priorities, the key to agility in the Railway sector
Ensuring that engineers meet specifications, reporting to the Senior Manager about the project stages, organising the planning of tasks while also ensuring deadlines are met when changes occur regarding delivery of trains are the many things Cécile needs to manage in her everyday work.
Versatility and priority management are essential skills in the railway industry. This experience enables her to combine technical knowledge (life cycle of a train, construction stages, jargon) and global vision of project implementation in all its aspects, whether from a business, legal or marketing perpective.
The relational aspect also becomes very important when you work with internal and external stakeholders who have different expectations in the railway sector. “You need to be a driving force and have interpersonal skills that make others want to be involved in the project: being proactive, dynamic, trusting, communicating and listening, while also being capable of taking a step back when necessary,” Cécile explains.
A strategic role in the industrialisation of trains
As an ALTEN Project Manager for a railway manufacturer, Cécile did not expect to have such a strategic position.
She has found the experience to be very formative as it has given her an interest in technical aspects that she has learned to master. “Being part of the development of a train has been very satisfying,” Cécile concludes.
“Male or female, it makes no difference. Your skills, motivation and ability to work in a team are all that matter.”