The Safran North America Mentorship Program: Sustaining Safran’s multi-generational collaboration in North America
February 1, 2019
Roland Mazet, Operations Manager at Safran Electronics & Defense
Chantal Smith, Procurement Analyst at Safran Helicopter Engines
The Safran North America Mentorship Program was launched in early 2017 to pair early career Safran employees with mid-to-late career professionals who provide guidance on career development and advancement in areas such as communication, leadership and technical skills.
Roland Mazet, Operations Manager at Safran Electronics & Defense, Avionics USA, is a mentor to Chantal Smith, Procurement Analyst at Safran Helicopter Engines Canada, as part of the Safran North America Mentorship Program.
Mazet, who currently works at the Safran facility in Grand Prairie, Texas, began his career at the company in 2005 with an internship in Massy, France for Safran Electronics & Defense. After two further internships – this time in Grand Prairie – he became a full-time employee in 2018 and has worked in various roles in engineering, operations, customer support and programs. 2018 was also the year he mentored Chantal Smith from Safran Helicopter Engines Canada.
Smith first started her path at Safran as a Work Balance Coordinator in Mirabel, Québec in 2004; three years later, she began working as a Procurement Analyst in the Tooling department. In this role, she is in regular contact with French, American and Canadian suppliers.
Mazet describes Smith as "very open, curious and ready to be exposed to different points of view from her mentor and her peers." He adds: "These traits allowed her to increase her confidence and self-awareness through the mentorship program and be more prepared to discuss her future career goals."
Growing from a mentee – and giving back
In the early stages of his career at Safran Electronics & Defense, Mazet himself was a mentee – he was learning from the former Vice President of Operations Richard Brulard. "Discussions with my mentor were always eye-opening and helped me make the right decisions," says Mazet. "Being mentored gave me a lot of confidence and helped me avoid rookie mistakes."
Volunteering as a mentor since 2017, Mazet sees his participation in the Safran North America Mentorship program as a way to give back and help others. "Mentoring someone is such a rewarding experience that benefits not only the mentee but the mentor as well," he adds. "It allows me to practice my mentoring skills, be a good listener and provide guidance and constructive feedback."
Creating a successful mentorship experience
Although Smith and Mazet work in different areas – both in terms of division and location – this separation was never an obstacle for their participation in the program. Smith was looking for feedback on her professional development and future career goals, and reflecting on her mentorship experience, she calls it the "highlight" of her year. "The program benefitted me on several levels: I am more confident with my ideas and can find the right arguments to advance them," Smith says. "I am also pushing my boundaries which generates a great deal of interest amongst my co-workers and managers."
Having experienced mentorship both as a mentee and as a mentor, Mazet believes there are a few elements that make it successful. "You need to want to do it," he explains. "You also should have clear expectations about what you are trying to achieve through the mentorship program. Last but not least, you have to be open and ready to be exposed to different points of view and opinions."