Stories of Women in Engineering – Jeanne Lemiere
Ready to fly
Certification and qualification engineer
“They call me the dolphin trainer,” says Jeanne, “because I work with the Airbus dolphin helicopter fleet. My role is to make sure that one helicopter or a fleet of helicopters is safe for flight, or airworthy.” Jeanne was born in Brittany, “a very rainy region in the northwest of France, but for me the best region.” After graduating from high school, she obtained a license in aeronautical maintenance and airworthiness; she also completed two internships at a small, private aircraft company. “I always wanted to make my career in aeronautics,” Jeanne says. She went on to do a three-year program at the National School of Civil Aviation in and an apprenticeship at Airbus, both in Toulouse.
What does your role entail?
I supervise all the work that needs to be done when a modification is proposed on a helicopter or a fleet of helicopters – for instance, when this is required by a customer or following an in-service incident for example. And I make sure that this modification is airworthy regarding European regulation.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most about my job is that there are many responsibilities. There are the technical aspects, because you need to know clearly what modifications will be integrated to the helicopter and to have discussions with the designers. There are also project management aspects. For example, we need to define if a flight or a ground test is necessary, and if so when to do the testing to meet our customers’ requirements in terms of delivery.
I’m a very multivalent person. That’s why I learned to do very technical things on the one hand, and more operational things on the other. In parallel, I learned to pilot aircraft. I’ve had my private pilot’s license for seven years. For me, it’s important to have aeronautics in my job and in my life – it’s really a passion.
What attracted you to ALTEN?
When I finished engineering school, I was a little bit lost. As I told you, I’m interested in a lot of things and aeronautics is a very wide field. You can do anything you want, but I didn’t know exactly where to begin because I didn’t want to do the same thing I had already done in my apprenticeship.
When ALTEN contacted me and offered me the job with Airbus helicopters, I was very interested because it was a change from the aircraft I had worked on until then. They also told me that I had many possibilities to evolve in my career. “You can pursue whatever type of role you want,” they said, “technical, administrative, commercial.” Another thing is that there are a lot of young people at ALTEN, freshly graduated, and it was important for me in my first job to have an atmosphere like the one at engineering school. So, I didn’t hesitate much before saying yes. And they told me that I was going to work in the south of France – I like life here.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day?
There are many things, but the first is the atmosphere. We are all still in the learning mind-frame, you know. When you go to work, it’s not work as many people would understand it. You don’t arrive, switch on your computer and go to meetings all day. You have sharing moments where you just have fun with your colleagues – we know when to be serious and when to relax. I also like the variety of projects – for me it’s important to face many different challenges.
What makes you want to be a better professional and person?
I think the encouragement from the customer and the people I work with make me do better each day. It’s very motivating for me to get encouragement from the people I work with. And even when you make a mistake, you learn from your mistakes. The thing is to not make the same mistake today that you made yesterday – to progress every day. Performing for the customer, doing a quality job is very important to me.
What are the values you share with your colleagues?
I think the first is respect. Because if you don’t respect each other, you’re not able to work together. We all share the same objectives. It’s very important to want to work together, as a team, to provide quality results for the customer.
Another thing I like at ALTEN is that they put young people up front. Young people are the future and ALTEN encourages us to gain more experience, more competencies, so that we’ll be able to contribute more tomorrow. They encourage us to make our careers evolve, to take on more and more responsibility.
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning to come to work?
I think it’s the fact that my colleagues are also my friends – they really care. My customers are also very kind with me. So, it’s never difficult to get out of bed to come to work. Another thing is that there are many challenges every day and I know how to handle them – or if I don’t know, I always feel that I will find a solution. And I know that I can share my knowledge with the newcomers.
What are the biggest challenges you face? Do you feel empowered to make decisions?
I think my biggest challenge when I arrived at ALTEN was that I was not really confident about my potential. The people at ALTEN made me see that I had potential, that I had a
l lot to bring to the team and to my customers. They helped me understand that my voice was important. Now I don’t hesitate to speak up. ALTEN encourages people to be courageous, to be autonomous, to be a force for self-advancement.
Do you think management provides a clear vision of ALTEN’s strategy?
Yes. Every two months we have big meeting to share information about ALTEN’s activities outside our own areas. ALTEN also shares with us how they are accompanying their customers in finding more sustainable ways of doing business, or encouraging them to move more into digitalization and new technologies.
What does the Building Tomorrow’s World Today mean to you?
For me, being an engineer means finding solutions to problems. This could be to technical solutions, but also solutions to improve our day-to-day processes. Everything we do today contributes to tomorrow’s world. We are all working together to make the future better. In my case, it’s about making helicopters and aircraft safer for all people.
How do you think our clients view us?
I think that for Airbus helicopters, we are a very essential part of the team – they view us as important resources. We work not so much as contractors, but as colleagues. In terms of certification, for example, we have many competencies thanks to our excellent training at ALTEN.
What sets ALTEN apart from its competitors?
I think an important thing that sets us apart is the variety of fields, of sectors we work in: aeronautics, other forms of transport, sustainable energies, banks, retail and so many others. At ALTEN you can evolve in any field you want and if you want to change, there is always the possibility. For me this is one of ALTEN’s strengths. Another strength is that you have the possibility to go abroad if this interests you. ALTEN is present in more than 30 countries.
What would you say to someone who is interested in working at ALTEN?
I would say don’t hesitate. When you arrive, it’s like you’ve already worked here for thousands of years, you are so easily integrated. The people at ALTEN want to help you to progress, to gain more competencies, to take on responsibilities very early in your career. You will gain expertise very easily if you’re motivated. That’s how it was for me. It’s a very good way to begin your career.
Women at the heart of technological transformation
ALTEN’s women and men are the driving force behind our business. Our Group’s ability to develop and promote the best talent available is fundamental in enabling us to meet our customers’ needs. Over past years, we have made concerted efforts to counter certain widely held stereotypes and misconceptions in order to encourage engineering vocations among young women. This collection of profiles, Stories of Women in Engineering, is aimed at just that.
“ALTEN is committed to motivating women to join the technical and scientific fields. We hope these Stories of Women in Engineering will contribute to a growing awareness of the vital role women play in science and technology, as innovators, as experts and as colleagues.” Simon Azoulay, Chair and CEO.
Come along their journeys building tomorrow’s world.
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