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Women at Airbus: Europe, Middle East and Africa

Samantha Achard, Intelligence – Business Strategy Analyst, UK

To work and learn at the same time is the essence of the Early Career programmes at Airbus and starting my career on these programmes has provided me with a strong professional foundation. I joined Airbus Commercial Aircraft on an internship in 2014, before commencing the Airbus Defence and Space UK Graduate Programme in 2017. It’s an intricate industry for a Marketing professional, but every challenge is matched with mentoring, training and autonomy, plus the global support network of inspirational colleagues. From the go-to-market of the Zephyr project, to the 50th anniversary of Skynet campaign and outreach activities in British universities; every day I’ve had the opportunity to diversify my knowledge and skills. Now, I’ve started working in Business Strategy. It’s a new challenge, but as new technologies and data analytics change the role of Space in many markets we’re discovering how pioneering digital services will support the Earth’s future - it’s an exciting industry to work in!

At Airbus, it is working with my colleague’s strong expertise which continually pushes me to elevate my own!

Katherine Bennett, CBE, FRAeS, Senior Vice President, Airbus in the UK 

I have been working for Airbus for 15 years and I lead the company’s external engagement and strategy in the UK.  

I studied politics and history at Leicester University, have a post graduate business and marketing diploma, worked in a UK Communications agency, and then 8 years with General Motors.

I joined Airbus as Head of Government Relations for Airbus in the UK. In my time at Airbus, I have held roles in Communications and have spent nearly 3 years based in Toulouse running the global public affairs function for the commercial aircraft business.

My work within Airbus has given me opportunities outside the company too. I represent Airbus on the Board and am President Elect of the International Aviation Women’s Association. In July 2018, I founded and co-chair the UK’s Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter which is committed to building a fair and balanced industry for women in this sector.

I was awarded the Order of Commander of the British Empire in January 2019 for services to the aerospace and aviation sector and I have also served on a number of public / private enterprises focussed on economic development in UK regions and in November 2019 was appointed by the UK Government to be Chair of the Western Gateway. I am VP, Aerospace on the Council of ADS, a member of the Aerospace Growth Partnership board and the Made Smarter Commission. I am also on the Board of the French Chamber of Great Britain and Wales Government Science and Innovation Council.

In my spare time, my passion is music and singing – and I am a very proud member of the Airbus Filton Workplace Choir.

With Airbus, I engage with UK political and industry stakeholders on behalf of Airbus and ensure that our key home country (the UK), is aware of our business aims and ambitions and the contribution we and our people make to a strong economy.

 

Susan Breton, Business Value Developer, France

Had someone told me I would work for an aircraft manufacturer when I was growing up in Kenya, I would have laughed at them. Simply because this was not a domain I was exposed to nor familiar with. I studied political science majoring in international relations, and followed this with two masters degrees in business before joining Airbus early 2003.

I have had the opportunity to work in the Procurement Function both from an operational point of view as well as strategically. I was privileged to have led and managed three of the key accounts in our supply chain as well as initiating innovative global sourcing strategies with countries such as Turkey.

For the last couple of years my role has been as business value developer for Balance for Business, the Airbus Employee Resource Groups (or ERGs) with over 11,000 volunteers. This platform brings together ERGs which are self-empowered, organised volunteer networks advocating for inclusive environments and workplaces. They cover all forms of diversity.

The beauty of this job is that it allows me to work with and leverage creative and innovative  intrapreneurs or initiatives, aimed at making Airbus one of the best places to work from a diversity and inclusion perspective. What's more I am well positioned to see the real and tangible plus factor of inclusion in a company like Airbus.

At Airbus I know I can be creative, embrace new challenges and can always count on great team work to deliver! 

 

Maylis Bru, Investor Relations Manager, Airbus France

I will always remember the day I completed my first solo flight. I will always remember the feelings I had. I was working in the financial industry at the time, but flying airplanes was a dream, and this first solo flight made me realise it was time to do a step change in my career. What, other than Airbus, could it be?

I am happy and proud to be part of the Investor Relations & Financial Communication team today. At Investor Relations, we tell the story of Airbus, now and in the future.

Our story is unique and it all started with the wild dreams of aerospace pioneers. The Concorde was certainly the wildest one, yet it became a reality. This challenge was overcome thanks to the cooperation between two nations, France and the UK. It demonstrates that diversity has long been in our DNA. 

Today, we are facing global challenges such as climate change. I’m convinced that diversity will be again part of the response and that it will enable us to reinforce our leadership. As a leader, we must embrace our responsibilities and meet our commitments. Our investors, and all of our stakeholders, expect nothing less. 

At Airbus, I can have a positive impact on the society at large.

 

 

Jacqueline Castle, VP A380 UK Chief Engineer at Airbus

I am privileged to be the UK Chief Engineer for the world’s largest passenger aircraft – the Airbus A380! Our aircraft is the flagship of many airlines, able to carry more than 550 people and is a feat of modern engineering.

My team and I are accountable for the enormous wings which span more than 80 metres, the 5 huge landing gears which support the 560 tonne aircraft to take off and land, plus the innovative aircraft fuel system supplying 4 engines. 

On a daily basis we must ensure A380 modifications, maintenance or operational improvements are acceptable and the aircraft remains safe to fly. I enjoy deriving engineering and business solutions to the situations that occur and it is a very dynamic working environment. I interact with lots of different people across many parts of Airbus, the wider Industry & the Airlines, all around the world.

I have been at Airbus for 23 years and joined as a Mechanical Engineering Graduate. I have held a number of different roles on most Airbus aircraft types, including design of A320 and A400M, leading the Wing development of the new A330neo and certification for the new A350 Landing Gears. With Airbus I completed an MSc in Aerospace Design, Manufacture and Management and have received some fantastic leadership training which has stretched me and helped me grow as an individual as well as professionally.

I am also involved in wider industry forums representing Airbus including helping to steer a more sustainable future for aviation.

At Airbus, I can balance my family life alongside a great engineering career working on fantastic products and contributing to the future aviation industry.

 

Georgie Challis, Electronic Engineering Graduate in Connected Intelligence, UK

My name is Georgie and I joined Airbus Defence and Space as an Electronic Engineering graduate in September 2019. Since joining the Maritime Terminals team, I’ve been looking at the electrical and control systems of our SCOT products, which are satellite communications terminals used on Naval ships. Through this, I’ve learnt a lot about radio frequency communications, satellites and the maritime environment – I’ve even had the chance to do a bit of work on a Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier! 

As part of the graduate scheme, I have also been working within a team to build a Mars rover inspired robot to locate, collect and process ice into oxygen and hydrogen in a practice environment.

At Airbus, even if I have only been with the company a few months, I have been surprised by the range of additional opportunities that have presented themselves to me outside of my day job, allowing me to get to know the various different areas in the company and really step outside my comfort zone.

 

Sara Corchete, General Manager Industrial Center Albacete, Airbus Helicopters, Spain

I have been working for Airbus for almost 16 years and I have spent the last 10 in the Helicopters division.

I have worked in several areas ranging from Engineering, to Support and Services, to Operations. I have been leading the industrial team in Airbus Helicopters plant in Albacete, Spain since May 2019. My job consists in ensuring that my team has the means to produce and deliver assembled components to FAL: we are producing rear fuselages for light/medium/heavy models of helicopters, as well as front and center fuselages and pre-equipped structure for NH90 helicopters. We control our performance on a daily basis ensuring adherence to our commitments.

I love my job as it lets my team and I play an essential part in the manufacturing of our helicopters. We are proud to see that the components going out from our plant will be contributing to saving lives, protecting people, connecting cities and reaching everywhere. We live Airbus values by contributing to increasing Airbus Helicopters competitiveness - fulfilling our commitments in On-Time-Quality, On-Time-Delivery, Integrity, and Safety in a responsible manner.

Airbus is a key contributor to my life, letting me be a contributor to other people’s lives. 

Anne Ducarouge, Airbus Helicopters – H160 Maintenance Architect, France

I graduated from Polytechnic and SupAero and then went to the Empire Test Pilots’ school in the UK. I worked for the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) at the flight test centre in Istres for nine years on fixed wing aircraft, rotorcraft, and drones. I then moved to Cuers to manage the main design office of the French Air Force and reached the rank of Colonel. 

I joined Airbus Helicopters two years ago, integrating an entirely new function within the design office, as a Maintenance Architect. My role is to contribute to federating system engineers in order to take into account the operator maintenance needs during the design phase, such as easing access for removal and easing failure detection of a system, for the H160, which is the programme I’m working on. This is to ensure, in collaboration with the Support & Services engineering team, that the overall maintenance plan reduces costs for operators in the long run. 

Flying has always been a passion for me. I fly both airplanes and gliders as a pilot. On airplanes, I am professional with a multi-engine and instrument rated qualification. On gliders, I hold two world champion titles. I am the female French pilot who has the highest number of medals won during world championships. In the most recent world championships held in Australia at the beginning of year, I won the individual silver medal and we won first place as a team.

At Airbus, I can use my operational background to influence design changes on the next generation helicopter.

 

Silke Hirn, Program Manager NH90 NFH German Variant, Airbus Helicopters, Germany

I’ve been working for Airbus for more than 20 years now, most of it in the Helicopter division.

Coming from an Engineering background gained in different projects and divisions, and after several exciting years in Customer Support in different functions, areas, and countries, I’m currently the Program Manager for the German Navy Version of the NH90.

My job makes me happy as it allows me to engage with a lot of different people in all sorts of areas – within our company and our customer organizations – establishing a team that works towards common goals, mastering challenges, and sharing successes. This journey goes from contract negotiation to engineering and production, to customer support. It is simply amazing to experience how our helicopters are designed, manufactured, and tested to later allow our customer to operate them for search and rescue, maritime reconnaissance, and Special Forces missions …

With Airbus, I’m part of an amazing team which enables our customer to save lives.

 

Lucy Kiernan, Surface & Air Transport Project Management, Airbus UK Broughton 

I completed the Supply Chain Logistics apprenticeship where I was given the opportunity to obtain both a degree-equivalent qualification and vital work experience, allowing me to start my career in the best possible way. Working in both the Procurement and Logistics functions gave me a real insight into supplier-facing roles while never losing sight of Operations. 

My current role in Surface & Air Transport allows me to manage plant-based projects, such as investment in newer, more sustainable vehicles, as well as being the champion for the department's Route Map. Through the Route Map we are able to develop the departmental strategy looking at future investment, facility upgrades and replacement of ageing assets.  

Airbus has given me a number of opportunities outside of the company, such as representing Broughton for the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, allowing me to develop a wide network of connections that support my role within Airbus. Alongside this I was fortunate enough to complete an overseas placement at FAL Hamburg, which gave me a real awareness of one of Airbus Broughton’s customers and the experience of international working. 

At Airbus, I am empowered to make a difference, shape the future and achieve my true potential. 

 

Sabine Klauke, Head of Engineering for Airbus Defence and Space, Germany

I have been the Head of Engineering for Airbus Defence and Space since July 2018.

I first joined Airbus in 2002 where I had the chance to develop my professional career by holding numerous exciting management and executive positions. It’s been a unique chance and incredible journey to go through so many diverse opportunities, ranging from Manufacturing Engineering to Production and Product Development Programmes as well as Change and Innovation Projects. From 2015 to 2018, I served as Head of Programmes Customer Services and more specifically for the A330/A340.

I feel proud and thankful to now manage a highly motivated Engineering team of over 8000 employees in Airbus Defence and Space and, together with them, deliver high-end customer solutions for the challenges they face today and tomorrow. Our company was built 50 years ago by engineers who wanted to reach the sky, and beyond, and their passion has led us to where we stand today: a world leading aerospace company.

With Airbus, I continue to write the story that our predecessors had begun to pioneer.

Aurélie Lemahieu, Head of Operations Controlling, Airbus Commercial, France

I am 47 years old, I am happily married with three children and graduated EDHEC Business School in 1994. My career began in Ernst & Young where I performed statutory audits for industry and services. In 1998, I joined CS Communication & Systems, a group of information systems services. I was CFO of several entities and I conducted due diligence in Eastern Europe and helped in the redaction of the Ethics Code of the Group.

I joined Airbus in Saint Nazaire as controller. I was responsible for the Saint Nazaire financial data pack in the frame of Airbus industrial footprint reshape. I convinced potential investors of its robustness. In 2008, I joined Aerolia in Toulouse as Head of Business Controlling. I created the controlling function and associated processes. I received an award for these achievements from Aerolia CEO. After three years, I created the Internal Control function in charge of ERM, internal audits, Mergers & Acquisitions finance and business controlling of Aerolia subsidiaries. I came back to Airbus in Engineering Controlling first as Head of Airframe Engineering controlling then as Head of Engineering Controlling. I had a transnational team and huge challenges to face: rapid workload decrease, internal competitiveness… I also had the opportunity to exchange on best practices with our colleagues of the other divisions. Since 1st of January, I am Head of Operations Controlling.

I continuously work hard to balance high level professional career and personal and family happiness. I, at a point in my career, had the need to work part time to take care of my young children. Airbus accompanied me on that journey and for me, we need to recognise that women’s careers can be different than men’s careers and at the same time equal. I am today the “godmother” of the new generation of Finance Gender Diversity Programme with eight wonderful ladies from all divisions who show energy and confidence in their future.

At Airbus, I feel recognised and valued in all my decisions.

 

Fani Matesanz, HO Production Quality FALs & MRO Airbus Defence and Space, Spain 

I am passionate about the aeronautical sector and I’m very engaged with the progression of our industry. As a Msc. aeronautical engineer and with a PDD from IESE business school, I joined Airbus in 2010.

Before, I worked in airports, manufacturing runways, and in airline companies, working between Spain and Turkey as an airworthiness engineer and a technical representative.

I started in Airbus Helicopters in Spain as production and airworthiness engineer in Support & Services before evolving to both Head of Production Engineer department and Head of Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation at the same time. In 2015, I took over the Head of Quality & Safety position in Airbus Helicopters in Albacete, Spain. At the end of 2016, I joined Airbus Defence and Space as Head of Production Quality FALs & MRO where I was responsible for Quality at the sites in Manching, Getafe (MRTT and EFGET), San Pablo North and San Pablo South (Light Transport Aircraft).

On top of an enriching work life, I have been the president of the Official Association of Msc. Aeronautical Engineers of Spain since 2014. Reporting to the Minister of Transport, our mission is to give the Msc. Aeronautical Engineers visibility and to promote the Spanish aeronautic sector. I’m also the founder, secretary and head of membership of “Women Fly High” which is a Spanish association designed to give visibility to women in aerospace.

At Airbus, quality and safety always come first. For me, the "speak up" value is key to achieving it! 

 

Nelly Menigoz, Airbus Defence and Space, France

I have been in the company for 11 years. When I first joined Airbus, I was in charge of controlling the quality of the cartographic product elaborated from our satellite imagery. 

Then, I decided to apply for a position in the tasking department, where all the satellites are tasked and the images acquisitions are managed. I really enjoy being in this team which is essential to our business. We centralize and manage all the acquisition requests we receive, whether they come from external customers, internal projects or from our Direct Receiving Stations (DRS) network located on all 5 continents. In Toulouse, where I’m based, we operate the SPOT and Pléiades constellations which acquire images on a day-to-day basis of around 6.5 million km² of the Earth land mass.

The team is divided into 7 geographical regions to get a perfect knowledge of the specific local conditions, weather and relief, but also to closely manage the current order book.

I spent 7 years in the team in charge of the Middle East. I travelled a lot to meet and train our customers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, but also in Azerbaijan and Morocco.

I am very proud to have overcome all these challenges and this makes me feel very satisfied both professionally and personally. 

Today I’ve taken on new responsibilities, still in the tasking department, where I’m now concentrating on refining our processes in order to improve the services that we provide to our Direct Receiving Stations customers, especially in light of the arrival of the Pléiades Neo.

At Airbus, I love my job because it allows me to provide solutions and to get things done.

 

Roser Roca-Toha, UAS Product Marketing, Airbus Defence and Space, Germany

I have been part of the Airbus family for almost 14 years. I have worked across several Airbus divisions, and lived in 5 different countries: Spain, UK, France, USA and Germany.

Keeping my Telecommunications Engineering DNA at heart, I have evolved through different roles at Airbus – leveraging my strengths, learning every day.

I started my Airbus journey at Airbus Commercial as System Designer for the A380 Satellite Communications System, based in Toulouse, France. Exciting times for Airbus as we all marvelled at the Entry Into Service of this unique machine.

After some years, I took some additional responsibility as Task Leader of the Satellite Communications Systems, across all of our civil Aircraft Programs. 

Later on, during the infancy days of the A350 XWB, I took a role as Customer Definition Manager, in the A350 Customer Programme. This experience allowed me to work hands in hands with the first A350 Customers to help them define the aircraft options that would best suit their operations.

Having discovered my passion in working with customers, I decided to accept a role at Airbus Americas in 2015 – joining the Sales & Marketing organization for Commercial Aircraft. I was part of the customer facing commercial team that worked tooth and nails to sell our airplanes to the airlines in the Americas. From these years, I was honoured to share the team joy of winning crucial campaigns such as the A330neo, A350 and A321 to Delta Air Lines, A350 to United Airlines, A320 to Frontier Airlines … but also experienced the frustration, sadness and learnings that come with the loss of some others.

Just recently, I decided to take an unexpected opportunity in 2019: I left commercial airplanes in the rear mirror, and moved to Airbus Defence and Space in Germany to start a Product Marketing team for UAS … yes, drones!

At Airbus, it’s the customer driven innovation and product diversity that amazes me – where I am grateful of leading a driven, energetic and creative team – I learn every day from them, and with them. What else can I ask for?



Rachel Schroeder, Talent & Executive Management, Airbus, France

I am not an engineer and I didn’t have a passion for aviation as a child growing up in Valparaiso, Indiana. What I did eventually dream about was working in an international company and working abroad. And what better place to do that than in Airbus?

I joined the US office in NYC after university, and my real dream came true when I moved to France to work in the HQ in Toulouse in 1995. I’ve worked on marketing campaigns in the US, Ethiopia and Finland, coordinated A380 Communications for 7 years from first section transports, to flight testing campaigns and the unforgettable demos with our customers around the world. What a dream job! I ran the Employment Marketing team in Airbus Commercial and ultimately integrated the three Divisional teams into one across Airbus Group. I worked there with an amazing and diverse team with, on average, 12 different nationalities at any given time. Today, in Talent and Executive Management, I develop and support our current and future leaders, aiming to ensure they are not only leading with the right technical skills but, more importantly, with the values and behaviours we expect to take us forward.  

I still sometimes marvel at the opportunities I’ve had to learn and challenge myself – to push outside my zone of comfort in order to grow.  I’m thankful for the trust others have given me and the opportunities to create new and innovative initiatives from scratch, like Fly Your Ideas and the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award.  I never could have guessed that my first job would turn into such a life-changing experience.

With Airbus, I feel I can contribute to making the world a better, more egalitarian and sustainable place.

 

Elizabeth Seward, Senior Space Strategist, Airbus Defence and Space, UK

I have been working for Airbus for 18 years on Space related projects.

I studied physics with space science and technology and joined Airbus as a thermal engineer. In the thermal and later the future programmes team I worked on projects such as: where can a lander survive on Mercury; the initial designs for the ExoMars rover; a mission to return a sample from an asteroid. I moved into the marketing team for Earth Observation, Navigation and Science, eventually leading the team before taking on my current role as Senior Strategist for the Space Systems division of Airbus Defence and Space.

In my current role I work to deliver insights into the current status of the space industry and to map the current trends and future growth areas so that our space divisions can choose the areas for investment and find markets to expand into. I am based in the UK where we are working on proposals for an expanded National Space Programme.

My work with Airbus has given me opportunities outside the company too. I am on the executive board of Women in Aerospace Europe (WIA-E) and the chair of the WIA-E UK local group, which I helped to set up in 2016. I am also involved with the International Astronautical Federation, sitting on several committees and representing Airbus as the UK delegate. These activities have given me a wide network of connections that support my strategy role.

With Airbus, I analyse the future of the space industry and help to shape the future of our company.

Hania Tabet, HO Develop & Engage, Sustainability & Environment, United Arab Emirates

I’m currently preparing to move to Toulouse to head the Develop and Engage department of the Sustainability function looking after developing a sustainability culture across Airbus globally, as well as Airbus’ contribution to society. 

Sustainable development is one of my biggest passions in life. How lucky I am that I can bring my passion every day to work!! I have spent the last four years visiting our vast global operations promoting corporate responsibility and sustainability, generating support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and expanding our societal impact through the Airbus Foundation, and working with amazing and inspiring colleagues across the world from different backgrounds and cultures.   

At the Foundation, in particular, I had the opportunity to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs – robotics and digital – with the aim to inspire youth through the lens of aerospace. I have worked with Airbus volunteers and partners to implement these programs globally and contribute directly to at least three SDGs: Quality Education, Gender Equality and Partnerships for the Goals. 

Prior to focusing on sustainability and Airbus Foundation, I joined Airbus in 2011 to set up the communications departments in Africa and Middle East and for Airbus Corporate Jets globally. It is during this period I recognized a gap in the talent initiatives at a grass-roots level which led me to develop the successful Airbus Little Engineer (ALE) program that has grown globally reaching thousands of students. I had so much fun working with our commercial teams and closely with customers to tell great stories…. Yes, storytelling is another passion of mine thanks to some 13 years of earlier experience in journalism and running a public relations consultancy. 

I’m mostly proud of my beginnings in Lebanon where I had the opportunity to volunteer in the Lebanese Red Cross as a first aider during difficult war times. This has opened my mind to how enriching it is to volunteer and support our communities. 

At Airbus, I can believe in constantly pushing boundaries equipped with knowledge, collaboration and a genuine interest in different markets and cultures. This led me to pursue studies in global governance and sustainable development. 

 

Simone Weber, Technology Integration Manager, Airbus Helicopters UK

Simone Weber started her career in aerospace engineering at Airbus Helicopters nearly 12 years ago.

I started my career in aerospace engineering at Airbus Helicopters nearly 12 years ago.

After having worked in various technical disciplines ranging from mechanical design to modelling & simulation all the way to experimental testing, I recently led Airbus Helicopters’ first UK government-funded research project - BladeSense - together with a fantastic team of researchers and engineers.

What I most love about my job is the combination of engineering, creativity and teamwork to enable the development of novel concepts and creation of future pathways through cutting edge technologies. Working for Airbus not only allows me to pursue my passion as an aerospace engineer but also enables me to contribute to safety and the environment while providing innovative technical solutions to our customers.

Airbus gives me the opportunity to actively make a change and be part of shaping our future in aerospace.

Women at Airbus

Overview

Enkhjargal, Japan

Nicole, Australia

Miao Ling, Singapore

Anubha, India

Hazirah, Malaysia

Vibha, India

Gayathri, India

Melanie, Philippines

Shuang, China

Rong, China

Samantha, UK

Katherine, UK

Susan, France

Maylis, France

Jacqueline, UK

Georgie, UK

Sara, Spain

Anne, France

Silke, Germany

Lucy, UK

Sabine, Germany

Aurelie, France

Fani, Spain

Nelly, France

Roser, France

Rachel, France

Elizabeth, UK

Hania, UAE

Simone, UK

Aida, Chile

Krista, Canada

Esther, US

Sabrina, Brazil

Sofía, Argentina

Ana, Chile

Macarena, US

Helene, Canada

Florentina, Canada

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