Testimony of Cécile, Automotive Project Manager.
Within four years of graduating, Cécile was making her way in the automotive sector with no plans to leave such a good road! After studying thermal energy at Polytech Nantes and specialising in energy management, she joined ALTEN to begin her career as a Vehicle Performance/Consumption Testing Manager for Renault. This involved carrying out testing campaigns on workbenches and tracks. The experience propelled her into increasingly technical and challenging environments, among which ALTEN’s Projects Department. Focus on her career path.
Automotive, fertile ground for ecological and innovative projects
Since university Cécile was already very involved in the automotive sector, which was always a calling for her. “It’s an exciting domain because it involves a lot of future challenges. Vehicle of the future, green mobility… the field of possibilities is vast in the automotive sector! When I was a student, I had the chance to familiarise myself with these subjects by joining an association that made prototypes that worked with alternative energies: electricity and hydrogen. Our goal was to compete in races with these prototypes to show that they were viable and promising!
Three months after starting her first project, Cécile had the opportunity to become a Project Manager, still working on performance/consumption. Instead of carrying out the testing campaigns, she was now directly managing the projects that were being tested. “The objective was to run an entire vehicle project from its creation, through its development phase up to its manufacturing. Specifically, I was in charge of approving the vehicle in terms of performance/consumption before it was put on the market: consumption by the vehicle, by the engine, pollutant emissions, etc. All of these technical characteristics had to be optimised so the vehicle would consume as little as possible and reach the highest level of performance. It was a great experience which allowed me to take more responsibility,” recalls Cécile.
“I can see the fruit of my labour every day in the street, it is useful for millions of people and is developing quickly. What better way to give meaning to what I do?”
Fast evolution to satisfy constant curiosity
Cécile then returned to her primary speciality by becoming Project Manager in Energy Management for another automotive manufacturer: “This project allowed me to participate in the development of three types of autonomous vehicles: combustion, hybrid and electric”. This was once again a very formative experience, covering a broad spectrum of work on a very specific subject: optimisation of the vehicle architecture. This would both allow greener travel and guarantee maximum safety for passengers.
Cécile’s growing experience led to ALTEN offering her a job as Operational Project Manager for Renault. “A project which was no longer limited to my core business but also included more than a dozen technical areas covering all activities of a Project Manager and Business Manager: reliability, ergonomics, suspension, etc. A real intellectual and interpersonal challenge! Cécile thus worked as an Operational and Financial Project Manager on new projects and also had a second role as Optimisation and Performance Project Manager in ALTEN’s Projects Department, a job that gave her an even more versatile role. “I was the link between the teams and the client, helping to constantly make our activity more effective. Every day presented a different challenge where the issues and responses needed to be adapted… A dynamic that fitted well with my personality!” she says.
Speaking up for women in engineering professions
Cécile was committed to promoting the role of women in her sector and in scientific and technical careers in general. “Collaboration between men and women is absolutely necessary on engineering projects because their complementary approaches are a source of efficiency and agility”.
Cécile believes that women should be encouraged to become engineers so that this dual approach can be applied more systematically. This is why she joined the Elles Bougent association as a sponsor to raise awareness among young girls. “Me talking to them about my profession maked it tangible, real and attainable,” Cécile asserts. Her best engineering memory came in 2018 when she spoke at the Paris Motor Show as an ALTEN sponsor of Elles Bougent. “This was an important moment in my career where I was able to dismantle preconceptions among female pupils and students and show them that I was able to work in such a profession”.