How long have you been working at Safran?
It will be three years as of June 2021.
How would you describe your role?
I lead all marketing communications efforts for Safran Optics 1. This includes overseeing the design and development of print and digital marketing materials, internal and external communications, liaising with Safran Electronics & Defense, Safran USA and Safran Vectronix communications departments, managing tradeshows and events, our company website, photography and video assets, social media, distributor support…and a whole lot more!
What are you passionate about?
In my professional life, I am passionate about having a positive impact. Whether that means inspiration, motivation, or just brightening someone's stressful day with good conversation. I want to be appreciated for my performance and see that influence on our business. In my personal life, I am passionate about the outdoors, which is where you will usually find me on the weekends.
I also am an athlete: I played Division I soccer, have been a spin instructor, and now I dedicate my winters to snowboarding. I always have been committed to being skilled in the sports I love. Finally, I am passionate about environmental and animal welfare. Over the years, I have been involved with charity and volunteer initiatives that support local organizations.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges I've experienced is having emotion in certain situations. I take pride in my work so in the past if I received criticism or had a disagreement with someone, I would take it personally and get upset. As I've grown in my career, I realize more and more that conflict is a common occurrence, mistakes happen and that there will always be someone who may be impolite in their communication – intentional or not. As I learn to accept this and experience more personalities in the workplace, I am becoming better at believing in my abilities and accepting criticism.
Have you been inspired by any women in your life? Please name them and briefly describe how they have impacted you.
Alexandra Brax, Director of Marketing at Gentex Corporation, who was my manager for the first three and a half years of my career. She taught me how to handle uncomfortable situations, stand up for myself and the importance of achieving and protecting a work-life balance. She is a true marketing expert and helped me learn about the many hats us professionals wear. She was always supportive and helped me navigate my career path while caring about my well-being. I hope to have the same impact on a young professional someday.
What is your proudest professional moment?
I have a few proud career moments, but one that always sticks with me occurred within the first few months in my career out of college. I was tasked to organize and coordinate an Air Force Industry Week at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. My company was the sponsor, so we were in charge of the entire event. I was brand new to the industry at that time, so I was a bit intimidated by this multi-day event with 200 participants; however, I was confident in myself to consider every detail.
When the event started and opening remarks were announced, the Air Force Chief called me up on stage in front of everybody to thank me and surprised me with a handshake that included a challenge coin bearing his title. I was new to the importance and symbolism of receiving a challenge coin from someone of such high ranking in a military organization, but by the reactions of my colleagues, I quickly learned the significance.
Over the years, I think of this moment and believe that it catapulted me early on to feel confident in my abilities to take on a challenge, even when initially intimidated. It also taught me the importance to recognize someone when they work hard, as it had such a lasting positive impact on me. Whether for myself, a peer, a manager or mentor, people deserve to be recognized for achievements, big and small. It was a shining moment to say the least.
How do you promote equality (either personally and/or professionally)?
Promoting equality in the workplace needs to be a priority to every business. Although it is the responsibility of all employees, is it especially that of senior leadership, human resources, and marketing. Since I manage our brand and a lot of what we do externally, whenever our company has the opportunity to highlight individuals, I always consider people of all positional levels, women and those in varying minority groups. It is important to showcase that our company supports equality and diversity so that all our employees are comfortable and that our recruitment efforts are open to everyone.
What have you learned by working in the international environment that comes with the global scope of Safran?
I have learned that individuals think differently based on where they are from or live and what culture they belong to. It is important to respect and learn from them. Forming a positive, working relationship with an international colleague is very rewarding, as this is likely an individual who you have limited to no face-to-face interaction with.
What can your personal achievements/career progress at Safran teach us about women's leadership?
I believe my personal achievements and career progress at Safran shows that there are many up and coming female members of the business who are being prepared to lead and have success, and there is support for a women-empowered workplace. For example, Safran has a tuition-reimbursement program that I am fortunate to take advantage of and am currently pursuing an MBA. This opportunity from the company shows that they are willing to equip me with the skillsets for leadership.
In addition, I have been managing our Sales & Marketing internship program with three young professionals thus far, two of which have been women. Their internships were very successful, and their work was recognized across the business. It was rewarding to be placed in a position where I could help others achieve their goals.
Female leaders possess all the same skills as their male counterparts while still offering different perspective, awareness, social traits, and networks. I think I can show women at Safran and outside that there is room for female leadership in the U.S. and global business markets and that the education and support is there for the taking.